Trendspots red dot award: communication design 2009

Digital Games
The design of “Digital Games” has become decidedly more professional. The games market is growing strongly; and this year’s entries in the “Digital Games” category clearly show that the branch is in constant change due to the rapid progress made in technology. Continuously evolving new business models are recording strong growth rates. The games market is highly dynamic and displays great innovative potential. It requires high flexibility of the gamers as its target audience. By means of an exceptionally high design quality the games designers succeed in maintaining their market position and matching the high expectations of the target group. Technical progress opens up new ways to present interactive content. The productions deliver quality on the highest level regarding design, content and technology. Innovative visions are realised ambitiously and with interdisciplinary professionalism; they are giving impetus to a future concept of culture.

Online Communication
In the area of “Online Communication”, designers try to innovatively use the available data and expose the essentials by focussing on relevant content in view of the enormous information depths of the Internet. Today it seems to be vital to tap the full potential of the Internet as a medium. Navigation and graphics are in the foreground; precisely arranged web pages are of superior importance. A clear structure will help to find one’s way in view of the innumerable options and bundle content values. In the future, factors like speed, mobility and cross media will become more and more relevant as well.

Online Advertising
In the field of “Online Advertising”, technical progress enables designers to equip elaborately designed online specials with interactive videos. Targeted online advertising, for example in the form of Interest Based Ads, replaces traditional banner ads and is custom-tailored to particular user needs. Trends of the future are already clearly discernible today; the “Social Web” and “Social Networks” receive a new priority. Placing personalised ads is increasingly coming to the fore. By emphasising individual aspects, designers create structure in the jungle of the World Wide Web.

E-Commerce Design
The “E-Commerce Design” sector delivers online shops with clear layouts, comprehensible processes and precisely designed configuration modules. Created with much love of detail, websites display an appealing design. There are a great number of multi-faceted possibilities to stage a product. Future promises a high potential of innovation. In “E-Commerce Design”, it is not only imperative that information is quickly grasped but also interlinked worldwide. Above all, it is crucial to lure consumers by offers that match their specific surfing behaviour.

Online News
The most current content, high frequency and high information value at any time – news sites have become one of the most important information channels in modern society. The greatest challenge of online news lies in the balancing act of a high-quality news coverage that is nevertheless free of charge. Its content is created and updated within seconds thus determining the speed of journalism. Online news have to be clearly and reliably arranged; the placement of ad displays should be skilfully integrated in the overall picture so that the focus is always on the real content. These are high requirements for portal design. Designers in the category of “Online News” meet these requirements with love of detail as regards the balance of typography, content containers and interaction elements.

Online Community Design
Online Community Design becomes more and more important in our times. In this sector, however, designers are only at the beginning. No profitable business models could be established so far, since access to Online Communities is usually free. Social Communities serve as role model in networking though. In this sector, design is thus a trendsetter for enhancing a dynamic website architecture.

Online Service Design
Online Service Design is characterised by high relevance for the most varied fields. Online Service Design presents areas of specialisation in a coherent way, for instance a scientific sector with comprehensive content. Here design succeeds in providing complex issues with a clearly arranged and easy to use interface. Online Service Design offers a platform to make content understandable by means of a consistent design.

Online Education and Knowledge
Up to now, the “Online Education and Knowledge” category sticks to conceptual ideas which however are characterised by a conclusive, intelligent design. Compilation and editorial processing of issues are the greatest challenge designers have to cope with in the “Online Education and Knowledge” sector. The more mature the design concept is the higher the didactic value will be for users.

Image Films
Ranging from factual to playful, from minimalism to superficial effects – the “Image Films” category covers all. The variety of possibilities and the numerous creative realisations are considered to be a mirror of our times. Individuality is asked for; anything goes. There are no trends that require clear definition. The trend goes to no-trend; and originality and authentic narrative structures are ruling design. Less abstract but rather intelligible and “honest” stories are told to guarantee a direct and emotional approach to the target group.

Graphical User Interfaces
3D, colour gradients and animation are on the rise in the “Graphical User Interfaces” category. However, the use of these features is mostly restricted to design details and effects that are of no ergonomic advantage but rather have the opposite effect. When designing the interface of touch screens manufacturers attach importance to using the latest technological potentials. The development of clear navigation concepts still falls behind experimental design. Meanwhile, multi-touch concepts are established that are all on a very high level with regard to design and usability.

Virtual World
The big hype about virtual realities seems to be over. With regard to design and concept, the works of the “Virtual World” category are nevertheless of continuously high quality. An anticipated trend towards the concept of “User Generated Content” such as Facebook doesn’t appear to have reached the industry so far. This year’s entries clearly show that the “Virtual World” sector will only fully develop in the years to come.

Sound Design
Sound Design goes from ring tones to full-length movies. Requirements may differ strongly. It is a matter of capturing moods and consistently translating them into sound. In sound design, it is crucial to arrange sounds always in analogy to the visual layout. For sound designers the psychological aspects of how sound is perceived and the significance of these aspects become an indispensable resource for purposefully designing the respective sounds.

TV & Cinema
Design in the “TV & Cinema” sector attests to high cinematic and production-related quality. It does not follow any specific trend, it is however capable of capturing moods and general social phenomena in a skilful way. Current techniques and possibilities are optimally exploited. This results in trend-setting and brand consistent productions.

Corporate Design
In the “Corporate Design” category, designers are impressing with fresh and original design approaches. Honest and intelligent design is deliberately adopted where it may realise the biggest benefit. Business philosophy is showcased. Clear and concise concepts define the picture. By creating individual design solutions, the designers show the way and set benchmarks for a serious and at the same time impressing branding that is inevitable for positioning in the global market.

This year the “Advertising” sector is characterised by distinct design with a strong corporate identity. The design language in this category has to be clear and precise; it must be convincing on first sight. Only then can design provide orientation and will consumers be able to cope with innumerable products. When the market is oversaturated, design gets a completely different meaning. Differentiation is possible only by means of design quality. Not until an innovative idea is graphically adapted in an adequate way, ads become good ads. The internationality of the entries demonstrates that the market as well as brand consciousness have become a global issue long since.

Information Design/Public Space
Design in the field of “Information Design/Public Space” has been clearly influenced by technical progress and its corresponding manifold possibilities. Brands can be experienced in practice; interactive concepts combine graphic skills with the most mature technologies. Designing trade fair presence is getting more and more complex. Designers try to stage brands in the third dimension. Space is getting a holistic experience. The concepts appear to be fresh and lively. Even low-budget projects are artistically realised in a skilful and impressive way.

Stamps and Banknotes
The “Stamps and Banknotes” category has been introduced this year to acknowledge the innovative potential of this industrial sector. It is necessary to stress the significance of design for all aspects of everyday life to strengthen the general awareness of design. The designers of the “Stamps and Banknotes” category provide high design quality that gradually enhances our everyday life with a growing aesthetic value. When creating stamps and banknotes, designers are subjected to numerous provisions; this requires high sensitivity when creative potential is put into practice.

In the era of innovative technologies and communication options particular value is attached to the “Editorial” sector. Even today, craft itself is still a prerequisite for good design. The new chances designers can use with the help of modern technologies are intelligently employed; interesting design approaches are implemented in a graphically skilful way and by using sophisticated material technologies. Look and feel is of particular importance here. Products provide direct access to design. In the digital age, the increased value of a printed book is huge. Designers use this means of communication to stage central issues on an adequate, high-grade level.

Annual Reports
Annual reports have increasingly become a critical means to provide corporate identity and are designed accordingly. Boring statistics and official reports are history – annual reports of the new generation are steadily becoming a platform to stage the company’s philosophy in an innovative and extraordinary way without appearing unreliable. By the targeted use of good design, the value enhancement of annual reports is tremendous for the success of a company. Large-sized companies in particular do not spare any efforts to offer this additional benefit. Generally, annual reports stand out by an extraordinarily high design quality showing accomplished typography and elaborate details.

Effective finishing procedures are increasingly employed in poster design, be it in the form of press cuts, foil embossing or other modern techniques. Especially in Asia this trend seems to be popular, which is possibly due to the respective culture or technical facilities. A conceptual design idea should always form the basis of an elaborate manufacturing method. Still the following is essential: A poster must be striking, it has to illustrate a statement, and it has to appeal to viewers immediately and at first sight. If a designer succeeds in uniting these factors by means of design, a poster may take up the position of one of the most important means of communication.

The entries in the “Games” sector reveal that reality and fiction as well as analogue and digital manifestations will increasingly mingle in future. Designers are questioning how an innovative game approach can be used to intensify communication and make it more attractive. Design solutions surprise with original ideas that are courageously and creatively realised. The possibility of identification is a crucial design aspect in the “Games” sector.

Magazines & Daily Press
The interplay of editorial content and advertisement forms the most important basis for design in the “Magazines & Daily Press” category. A coherent fundamental concept is used for better positioning a magazine as a consistent product. Here, design plays a vital role. This year’s entries demonstrate that the recipe for success is bearing fruit: If advertising concepts are individually adapted to the conceptual objectives of the magazine and if a newspaper or magazine comes forward in a self-assured and thoroughly composed way it will be more successful in the market.

Typography is still considered to be one of the most universal, most traditional, and most important categories in the field of communication design. Even in the age of infinite possibilities, typography has to be employed in a graphically perfect way to assure high-class work. Dealing with typography should therefore always conform to the productions. With a clear and fresh concept, designers in the “Typography” category are trying to set new highlights and provide superior quality in their creative work.

Packaging Design

Especially in times of crisis, packaging design is as important as never before. The high corporate identity of a brand is an essential determining factor for a successful positioning in the global market. Design in the “Packaging Design” category aims at high functionality on the one hand, which means that packaging has to optimally protect the product; it must be easy to open and stack. Packaging has to be convincing at first glance; it has to address emotions and to stand out in the many packaging solutions the consumer is confronted with in a supermarket. On the other hand, packaging has to stage a product as nicely and deliciously as possible, which is a vital aspect in the food sector. Content visibility gives consumers confidence. Designers of food packaging often use transparent, hygienic materials to increase the content value. In doing so, the efforts of finding green packaging solutions are in the centre of their interest. Durability and reusability are important factors regarding packaging design. Distinct, minimalist design solutions increase the product value and emphasise its content.


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