And two projects with Hat-trick Design are also in-book:
Victoria hoardings for Land Securities (in Typography as well as Graphic Design);
and Mapping London office graphics for Land Securities (mainly a design project, to which I contributed some words) – in the Branding category.
Incidentally, the Graphic Design jury continued the noble tradition of almost comical stinginess, with a total of 6 nominations, including just 3 from the UK. To put that in perspective, the Design Council's latest research suggests there are 232,000 practising designers in the UK. Sometimes makes me glad I'm a writer.
There are two other Writing for Design nominations. One is by Christopher Doyle, whose Identity Guidelines featured in 2009. His latest piece is a collaboration with Elliot Scott, titled This year I will try not to. It's an expertly and entertainingly observed roll call of design clichés (like the one pictured above) and a rallying cry to do better in future.
The story of the US project is worth hearing in full, but essentially involved setting up a network of learning and literacy centres in major cities, starting with 826 Valencia in San Francisco. Planning regulations meant the premises they wanted had to be used for retail or catering purposes, so the organisers (led by Dave Eggers) found a cunning way round it: set up a fictional store to act as a front for the learning centre inside – one that embodies the values of story-telling and imagination that the project itself promotes. So the Pirate Supply Store was born. Extensions in other cities include the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, the Museum of Unnatural History in Washington, and the Robot Supply & Repair store in Michigan.
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is the UK version of the same project, led by Nick Hornby among others. The monster theme is brilliantly chosen and the products and packaging are carried out with real style by We Made This. (It would be easy to go over the top or get the tone slightly wrong, but it feels exactly right.)
It's great to see it getting recognition in D&AD and, for me, it's the stand-out writing project this year. That said, I can’t help thinking that, if the original 826 National project had been entered in its entirety when it first launched, it would have been the first Black Pencil winner in Writing for Design (the highest accolade at D&AD and only given out rarely). It has everything – an important social purpose, a genuinely original idea that cleverly transformed a problem into an opportunity, and brilliant graphics and writing that have been central to the project's success. It would have walked it.
But then, maybe some people have better things to do than entering D&AD. Like running life-changing literacy programmes.
(By the way, the projects mentioned at the start of the post are me working in my freelance capacity. Asbury & Asbury didn't enter anything this year, although we enjoyed doing this poster for the World Cup, and working with Mr Blog on the finest blog post witnessed in generations.)