Three judges at Best Awards.

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Each year, the Designers institute of NZ hold the BEST Design Awards. Record entries were received this year and three senior DNA team members were tapped to participate in judging – Donna Maxwell as a judge for the Graphic category, Steve Maskell for Interactive and Noel Brown to be not only be a judge for Nga Aho but also to be convenor of judges for the Best Effect award category.

With three days spent in a small conference room with only filter coffee to keep them going – the rigour and discipline demanded of the process can be quite challenging – but appropriate considering the significance of the Awards and the quality of the work being evaluated. Being a Gold or Silver winner or even a finalist means a lot to designers, and their clients. The Best Awards are a critical benchmark for the value of design in public and private sector in New Zealand.

There was a very high standard of work in all categories this year – spread across a wide range of sectors.

In the Graphic category, Donna was impressed with the range of work saying that "It has made me appreciate more than ever the breadth of where the work comes from – not just design companies and traditional agencies, but from tertiary institutes, in house design teams, collaborations and commissions”.  

Sometimes maligned as a beauty pageant in the past, the judges all noted that the industry, the work and the BEST judging process are a reflection of the increasingly sophisticated ways that organisations are working with designers to apply design to solving business problems.

In Interactive, Steve was especially impressed by the level of sophistication in the category, "The high quality of design and technical capability set the bar fairly high – and it was exciting to witness the truly great work that our industry is producing".

The relatively new categories of Best Effect and Nga Aho have seen a large increase in the number of entries received. Noel said “This years entries are a great testament to the integrity of each award and how the importance of both effect and cultural empathy are being embraced by designers and clients across New Zealand“.

All images are courtesy of Designers Institute of New Zealand.