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Transform magazine | October 23, 2014

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Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Norwegian rebrand

The rebranding of the Bergen International Arts Festival is the Grand Prix winner in the design category in this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativty.

The winner of the Cannes Lions Grand Prix in the design section, presented at the advertising and communications awards event held annually on the French Riviera, saw off stiff competition from twelve other gold winners including Japan’s Dentsu, Hong Kong’s Red Fuse Communications and New York’s Interbrand. Overall the jury judged a total of 2624 entries and shortlisted 248.

The Bergen International Arts Festival rebrand took musical constructs as its central theme. The visual identity was defined from a musical mathematical framework, starting with a perfect square to create a rhythmic pattern. The pattern – created by applying the rule of four to the logo – provided a central beat that the festival was able to apply in a variety of situations. It was this that particularly impressed the judges. According to Claire Parker from Design Bridge in Amsterdam, “This was a beautifully simple idea, executed wonderfully across multiple touch points.”

Adrian Burton from Lambie Nairn commented that “the project created one simple mark, but the possibilities seemed endless.”

Although there were a number of categories that could encompass brand development and rebranding, brand agencies were noticeable by their absence from the shortlist. This had been a point of discussion amongst the judges. Chairman of the judges, Wolff Olin’s global CEO Ije Nwokorie, felt a primary reason was because the brand agencies hadn’t figured out where to put their work. “You can tell this isn’t their world, and even when they have submitted they just haven’t given us the materials that we would need.”

“There were things that that we looked at and thought that if we have two days to study that piece, if we phoned the agency up and and invited them for a pitch, then we would find the idea behind it. But the brand agencies just didn’t educate us as to what their ideas were” added Nwokorie.

Nwokorie also felt focus was important “The Bergen piece could have been entered in 18 different categories: it could have been entered in illustration, photography, typography, and more. But they entered in just one category, and it was that good it stood out.”

The jury also singled out another gold winner for special attention, and this one was from a brand agency.

Interbrand’s ‘Paper Prison’ for the Mandela Poster Project saw the judges on their hands and knees, unfolding a 2.5 metre square piece of yellow card, imagining themselves in a paper prison the size of the late South African president Nelson Mandela’s prison cell.

According to Alisa Wolfson, a Lions judge and design director from Leo Burnett in the US, “This was an excellent strategic idea applied through design that is so simple it’s genius.”

This year the Cannes Lions design awards saw 2600 submissions. The judges felt this year’s shortlist was very strong. According to judge Adrian Burton from Lambie Nairn in the UK, “the results recognise where design has a role to play” adding that “every winner stood out as coming from agency that had identified a problem and solved it.”