Jacob at Cannes – a personal report

Cannes Lions

I spent the last week at Cannes as a member of the Design Jury. It was a pretty intense 12 hour a day task. When I was invited I felt privileged as I knew what Cannes meant, but also somewhat sceptical as I didn’t really know who I was going to meet (shallow and frivolous advertising guys?) or what sort of work was I going to be exposed to.

It’s been an amazing experience.

The Design Jury, presided by Bruce Duckworth of TurnerDuckworth, brought together 21 real world-class professionals from Japan, Australia, China, Singapore, India, South Africa, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, the UK, the US and Brazil.

Sharing, discussing and just simply talking to them all was inspiring.

It was great to see how Asia, Portugal or Brazil votes for things that Germany or Sweden don’t bother looking at, the admirable obsession to detail of the Germans or the profound conviction of the British about the fundamental need to have an idea.

France’s desire to be intellectual about anything (truly enjoyable discussions about the “raison” behind the new Badoit design) or Australia’s similarities with South Africa in many more areas that one might have thought were discoveries for many. Even the US accepted that in design and brand, there were still things they could learn from Europe and elsewhere.

I was surprised to see how active China is in design and enjoyed a number of Indian entries – I understood them better that anybody else, after Abhijit of course! Japan was an absolute delight to look at and Yoshihiro personified impeccably what we all know and don’t know about that amazing country.

With the exception of a few of entries from Sweden (Ikea) and Germany (Deutsche Bank, Audi or BMW) and a number of exquisite proposals from Japan, the rest of the work was not mind blowing. A typographical gem for IBM’s Think campaign or Google Display’s logo, both works of New York ad agencies, were perhaps the two other exceptions.

The Grand Prix went to the Annual Report of an Austrian Solar Company, designed by a German firm. The Report looks like a completely blank book full of empty pages. As you expose it to light, the Report wakes up and starts showing beautifully crafted typographic work.

Back to work today, inspired by the experience.