• Transform magazine
  • July 18, 2024

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Cannes Lions 2024: Design winners announced

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Powerful wayfinding work wins the Design category Grand Prix at Cannes Lions, amid a lack of brand design recognition on the winners' rostrum.

The winners of the Design categories at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity were announced at the Palais de Congress, Cannes on the second day of the world's largest annual gathering of creatives, marketers and marketing services professionals. 

Taking the coveted Grand Prix was a wayfinding and signage project, an innovation developed by Peruvian cement company Cemento Sol and advertising agency Grey Circus.

Sightwalks was a unique extension of the existing wayfinding system used by blind and visually impaired pedestrians. The design of tiles embedded into pavements and sidewalks was expanded to help identify the locations of restaurants, banks, grocery stores and other retail outlets.

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According to jury president, and chief creative officer for design agency Huge, Fura Johannesdottir, the design was created as open source to encourage the free global take up of the wayfinding system. In announcing the Grand Prix win, Johannesdottir commented “Design is shaping the world we live in, everything around us. And the more carefully we consider what we put into the world, the more we're going to enjoy it. And [for the Grand Prix winner] I think that shone through.”

If the brand design world was hoping to do better at Cannes Lions this year, they were in for disappointment, with brand agencies more represented on the jury panel than on the winner’s list. According to Johannesdottir, the absence of work was discussed in the jury rooms.

Directly addressing the brand agencies, Johannesdottir pleaded, “We were like, where is the work? Where is it? I would encourage the brand agencies to submit their work, because we want to see it. We want to elevate their work, because I think its the most important work we do in communications. It’s the most difficult form of design and we would love to have more of it and celebrate the work more."

Of the 926 entries in the Design section, those that did win in the brand sub-categories included US ad agency MullenLowe for its own rebrand - work already awarded Silver in the Industry Craft category for its organic octopus-inspired typeface, Octo Bold TTF. Silver was won by Brazilian marketing services agency Artplan, while Reykjavik based ad agency Brandenburg took the bronze trophy for its work with Icelandic brewer Olgerdin on the energy drink Orka.