Nothing curious about it: D&AD-powered Kyoorius Awards tonight

29 Aug,2013


As the Kyoorius Digiyatra and Designyatra take off today in Goa, the highlight of the day (and we guess the event) is the 2013 Kyoorius Awards which are being held in partnership with D&AD and IAA India Chapter*.


But even as the awards are presented, as is in the case of most awards, it’s the culmination of many months of hectic activity. Last month, the judges went through each and every entry to pick the nominees and then the winners. The judges, under the supervision of D&AD’s operations manager Donal Keenan and Jury Foreman Sanky (Simon Sankarayya) went through the exercise with the rigour that a quality awards merits.


The judges Elsie Nanji, Gabor Schreier, Jeremy Leslie, Simon Sankarayya (Sanky) (Jury Foreman), Tania Singh Khosla and Ton Van Bragt came together in Delhi to decide who should win with the Black and Blue Elephant and the Red Elephant for students. The Indian judges Elsie Nanji and Tania Singh Khosla helped the others in understanding the context and local nuances of various entries.


MxMIndia engaged the jury members in a quick chat at the end of their meeting.




Scam ads are a problem everywhere: Donal Keenan, D&AD

Q&A with Donal Keenan, Senior Awards Operations Manager, D&AD who administered and supervised the 2013 Kyoorius Awards jury processAre you happy with the process that been followed..has it been easy?

Oh, of course I am! That is why I am here. We are very much implementing D&AD’s process and judging coordination.


Guess it was easy since some of the jury members have been on D&AD’s juries in the past?

Not all of them, but some like Sanky and Jeremy have done it. But the judges really appreciate the process and the voting is completely impartial.


We’ve had some issues with our own creative ad festival at Goafest. Issues of scams and plagiarism. How do you take care of these at D&AD?

Scam ads are a problem everywhere. We have that in D&AD as well so certainly through the entry process… there is a client sign off for that entry as well. Of course that is not always reliable so the jury here too questioned the eligibility and status of certain entries. We acted on the spot and called the entrants or the clients to verify whether the work genuinely ran or if it was a poster, has it been display commercially. So we settled any kind of questions there and then.


And how do you deal with plagiarism?

There was one entry today that one of the judges brought up and said I have seen this before and I know people who have done something exactly like this. It that kind of balance of whether that you can respect that those people possibly did not know about this work and have done it on their own original thoughts or whether you think that they have actually think that they copied someone else and we need to get rid of this entry.


Lastly, if the entries here were to be entered at D&AD internationally, do you think they would have stood a chance?

Certainly the winners that we will see today they wouldn’t be out of place amongst the winners at D&AD. Part of the pact of the partnership with Kyoorius is that the winner will get a free entry and we will see them attending in next year for D&AD awards…for 2014 awards


First off, how would you rate the standard of the entries that have been submitted at Design Yatra this year? Also, how does the jury process of this event compare vis-a-vis the other juries that you have been on elsewhere across the globe?

[] The standard of work this year has been slightly high in terms of the fact that I thought we were fairly sure that we were going to have a high level of finished product but not sure about how the conceptual thinking would be compared to the finished product. But we found ourselves some really great ideas which were really well-delivered and also had great content and then the next task comes through. A couple of pieces were fairly iconic and the strongest categories were for stuff that was slightly more sustainable. This kind of illustrates a little bit about what’s going on in the country. That it is a place of change where people are recognizing that such needs have to be addressed; and also the design communities and the credit communities where a lot of such stuff can be answered. That is a really good message where you don’t just have to work for big brands and you don’t have to just work for yourself but that you can do great work by working with good briefs for clients not just with huge budgets but with more substance where the service is really effective.


[] For those not familiar with the standard of judging in D&AD in London, it’s the one award worldwide which is of very high standard and the really keen creative people who are interested in very high standard of design work and advertising communication work, which is conceptual plus beautifully designed and executed work…it all sits in annals of D&AD. So that community of people in India, which is quite big, are very aware that D&AD is of very high standard and so they rate it as No 1. Everybody in India is almost scared to send in an entry to D&AD… apart from the fact that it is so expensive but so many people find it hard. Design companies are small compared to advertising companies who have big budgets to enter the awards while design companies are small and they don’t have the budget to find exactly what they think stands a chance to win an award in D&AD. Over here, the fees are so much less so maybe people don’t even know that even for that amount of money that you spend entering into Kyoorius, will give you the distinction that a D&AD can give you because this set of jury is almost dictated by choice from the D&AD and others. So that mix of jury who’s telling us and tempering the work, choosing with us… has maintained that standard of work.


[] At Goafest and other festivals, everybody’s work is in that lot so everybody goes out of the room and sort of say to the others that these are my friends so I will give him one and the other one more etc…so it’s kind of incestuous. Over here, it’s really fair because nobody knows anybody. So fairness and that distinction that D&AD has has been transferred very well and you know partnered with Kyoorius has been the focal point.


[] I also think that this will give Indian designers more confidence to actually apply to D&AD. I don’t know how many actually do we have from India that apply but because we have a selection from here, the winners get a free entry into D&AD which is a big thing. It is a really big thing because it is an expensive award to enter so you are going to have more entries from here going there and I think it will encourage them further. Also, the standards will go up which I think is great.


What is your view on the works that have come in from India?

[] I have always noticed that there are beautiful pockets of work but this time it’s coming from the design agencies. In the past I have seen it coming most of the times from advertising agencies. It has been my regret actually as to why is it that only advertising people enter Design Awards? It has been that way at Spikes, at Cannes, in D&AD and Goafest…all four places. I often ask people that how many of these entries come from advertising agencies and they say about 80%. So if you are going to judge that kind of work where so much of it is not real, so much of it is created for the awards – and we all know that…we never see it in print so we know that it has been created for the awards. All of that work is eliminated in this lot. This is all real work done by design companies.


[] If there is some kind of issue or doubt in the works then we try and dig out some information about it and don’t take it lightly at all. We got a no-tolerance policy on scam work. We have been as rigorous as we possibly can to make sure that none of that gets through because it’s the easiest thing to do.


[] It only works if it’s in reality; I mean its applied design so it stays in the field of conceptual ideas and I am very impressed with the work what we have seen and it’s very impressive. The difference that I found between most of the good and the really good work – the stretch is quite big. So we managed to really narrow it down and focus on really super good quality work.


[] Not quite yet to what we expected but it could have gone either way. I am very pleased to see the works that have come through; there has been an impressive range of work from different spheres and it’s a really good mix of stuff.


[] I think it’s very interesting for me as a foreigner to see how the local sensibilities, the design sensibilities are applied, visualized and executed.


[] Yes, I found it encouraging to see variety in terms of not just creative but variety in terms of what is Indian, what is of more international etc. Also, the execution – the printing quality versus the not-so-good one. The learning from it is that there is still lot of difference that may have to do with the lack of education or that this is the pending work that needs to be done…education for people who want to get into that business and more than that education of clients. Clients need to understand what is the difference between advertising and branding. For example, where does packaging start, where does identity start, what is difference of an identity to provide a business cart and a holistic 360-degree project and we have seen a bit of everything sometimes in the same category it’s very difficult to judge…so how do you compare this with that but I have to say my expectations were sort of less but when I came here they exceeded and I am happy.


If you were to decide the Indian entries vis-à-vis International ones that you have seen, how many of these would really match them in terms of quality?


[] I would say definitely the top tier of work or the top 5 percent of work which we have seen is equal to anything we have seen be it D&AD, ADC or Cannes… or any other design that we have seen around the world. I have been to ADC and others and I saw a lot of stuff there and this could fit right with that without any problem. Actually to be fair this is from India, which you wouldn’t expect. It is very rare that you come across work from India compared to any other international works like the US etc. I mean you can compare the works from here to the other countries and when people will find that it is from India they will be pleasantly surprised. This means that people should know that it’s a work of caliber and could end up being more internationally recognized than the others.


[] What is also interesting is the range of work that has finally made it through. I mean it’s not all big budget, it’s not all from the non-profit sector, it’s really all varied and it’s much big budget work. I think that is encouraging for the design community as well.


Thoughts on how we could raise the quality next year?

I think this year’s Annual will give everyone an awakening. I think all design companies should have this annual… it will really open one’s mind.


There’s a wealth of talent across the country…

[] In Delhi especially there are so many designers who are just lost by themselves in the small corners of the big city.


[] But this would at least give people a single point of reference you know someone from South of India can talk to someone from elsewhere…we can have multiple conversations around design.


[] Also, the Indian language, craft is so much celebrated…a person in Kerala can sit and say wow, this is a good design and there is a book that says that.


[] Design makes for a very good conversation. I hope the outcome of this is that the levels designing will go up. Till now, there’s been absolutely no benchmark in the Indian context and the fact that you got D&AD coming in, we all know that they are by far the toughest awards. So when you get that kind of stamp with this then there will be a prestige attached with it…


*MxMIndia is a Trade Partner of the 2013 Kyoorius Designyatra and Digiyatra


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