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Astrid Stavro


We caught up with 2016 International Design Judge, Astrid Stavro, Founding Partner and Creative Director, Atlas.

What was the standard like overall?

I found the level to be good overall, there were a few projects, however, that stood out from the very beginning. Some projects were technically proficient, beautifully crafted and well executed, but lacked the extra ‘umpf’, the thing that makes you think “I wish I’d done that”.

What are your takeaways from the judging?

Judging other people’s work is always both a challenging and insightful task. Overall, some categories were weaker than others but I was gladly surprised by the exceptional quality of some of the submitted work.

What surprised and inspired you?

I found some of the projects in the print category to be particularly strong and inspirational. There were some exquisite books and other printed matter.

What, to you, makes a great project stand out?

There were a few projects that stood out from the very beginning. After the first round I made mental notes of the works that, for one reason or another, had a staying power and rose above the rest. At times you can be pulled in by a beautifully executed piece. Others it may be an extraordinary concept. I often find, when judging, that most of the times there is consensus among the judges on the projects that immediately stand out. They are projects that grab your eye and/or your imagination. These are the ones that make it into the debates that follow.

What were you looking for in award winning entry?

A good or exceptional idea with impeccable craft and execution. Relevance and context and also key.

Did the range of submissions give you a good sense of what is happening in Ireland at the moment?

The range of submissions gave us a good vision of contemporary Irish graphic design. It is always an insightful and inspiring experience to see work developed in other countries.

Did you spot any trends?

I am a terrible trend spotter. I don’t really have time to check blogs, websites or see what other designers are doing. One of the few moments in which I see what other designers are doing is precisely when judging. I do think that the advent of the internet has homonegised work at a global scale which makes it very hard to tell if something was done in Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom or France. One of the trends that I do notice is that, rather sadly, a lot of work and attention goes into craft and execution — that is, how a project looks like rather than what it is for or what it says.

What was most memorable about being on the 2016 ICAD Awards Jury?

May I return next year? 😉