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BizTrends 2018

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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

Cannes entries reveal a move towards design for change

As the South African representative on the Design judging panel at Cannes, this year's entries revealed a move towards design for change and that creativity is increasingly being used to make a difference in society rather than just to create campaigns with aesthetic appeal.
The move towards design that has social impact and drives change is significant. Even though this is not a new phenomenon, this approach to design is becoming stronger every year.

The jury was delighted by the fact that it was not only small organisations that were driving change, but also large corporates, such as Colgate and Coca-Cola. Social responsibility was not one of the judging criteria, which makes this trend even more relevant. I think it is a reflection of where the world is at right now. People want to see change and why not drive it with good design.

However, when there is a big idea behind a campaign, it can sometimes overshadow the work itself. The idea behind any creative project should always be powerful, but the creative execution should then live up to it and support that idea. Even though there is a shift towards more powerful conceptual ideas, the design has to be strong as well.

There were few entries from South Africa but those that did enter were all strong contenders. M&C Saatchi Abel won Gold for South Africa for 'Street Store'. We judged 2624 entries, with only about seven from South Africa. Considering that one of those was Gold, on a percentage level, the country did well.

The number of South African entries that were entered into the Design category is not a reflection of our quality or skills in design. If I think of the entries that we see in South Africa at the Loeries, we really should be entering more into the Cannes Lions. We are as creative and capable as leading talent from the rest of the world.

One of the main reasons why many agencies do not enter into the Cannes Lions is the cost. To enter into the Design Category is R7,500 (€500) per entry. As the South African design community, we need a support system from government to push design from a higher level. There is so much raw talent in this country, but we do not share it enough with the rest of the world.


• The Identity category was not particularly strong this year. The traditional way of doing identities is changing. Not only do logos need to be conceptual, simple, well crafted and stand out; they also need to be well translated into various environments, including the digital sphere. That said, a great identity is more than having a logo on a business card or a having a Facebook page. It is about capturing the right audience in the right location and doing it well at the same time. Marrying these different worlds is a challenge and difficult to express.

• Illustration was not that big this year. Illustration is a craft that takes a lot of time. It is an expensive exercise to do a well-executed illustration. A fast-paced industry and the time allocated to projects forces agencies to find simpler ways of executing. Many illustrations are done electronically to speed up the process. At the end of the day, this affects authenticity.

Design entries reflecting change

It was an exciting year at Cannes, with entrants reflecting the trend towards design for positive change.

• Y&R Malaysia's Colgate packaging box poster campaign - Dental care posters were printed on the inside of Colgate's shipping packaging, which could then be used in schools to educate children.

Colgate "Turning Packaging into Education" in Myanmar from Red Fuse on Vimeo.

• Cape Town's M&C Saatchi Abel's Street Store - A cardboard sidewalk "store" was created to distribute donated clothes to homeless people, with a sense of dignity.

• The Calgary Zoo Instagram annual report - A conservation-focused organisation decided to publish its annual report on Instagram to save paper while still getting its message across.

• Cleft to smile - :{ to :) is a logo for the cause of cleft treatment, the life-changing transformation we bring to a child's life every day. However, in the struggle for funding, it has been sadly neglected due to lack of awareness.

• Words can be weapons - Shockingly tragic acts of youth violence are on the rise in China. An even lesser known finding is that in China, childhood verbal abuse has a strong link to adolescent delinquency. The Center for Psychological Research, Shenyang and Ogilvy & Mather, Beijing have joined hands to launch a creative campaign that raises Chinese public awareness of the serious and detrimental effects of verbal abuse.