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John Dowling


As we gear up for our 2016 Judging Weekend we catch up with John Dowling of Mucho, our 2015 International Design Juror, to gain a little insight into last year’s awards…


What was the standard like overall?

The standard I thought was very high, with the emphasis on great ideas, well crafted and beautifully executed throughout.

What are the takeaways from the judging?

Tremendous spirit and appreciation the Irish design community have of each other, their work and their industry.

What surprised and inspired you?

The volume of great work and the diverse range of skills and disciplines on offer. And work I had never seen before.

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

An appropriate, intelligent idea/solution, courageously executed and extremely well detailed throughout, across many different platforms.

What are you looking for in an award winning entry?

Something that makes me think ‘I wish I had done that’. A project with an emotional connection that’s not only engaging but touches me in a way that is inspiring.

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

For me as an outsider, yes it did. The judging process introduced me to new work, new studios and new ways of approaching projects through the use of different communication channels.

What was the most memorable thing about being on the design Jury during the 2015 ICAD Awards?

As with most judging juries there is always a debate about what is considered great work, or award winning work. I think the respect the jury had for each other and everyone having a voice helped the process immensely. Of course there is work I think should have received a silver when they only received a bronze, and work which received a bronze which should have only been commended, but this is part and parcel of the judging process. How boring would it be to have a jury who all thought and behaved in the same way. I do think it worked well having an international designer in the jury. Maybe moving forward I think it would add tremendous value to the awards scheme and judging process if more people from outside of the Irish design community were invited to take part. This would of course offer a new/different perspective to the work, encourage even more people to enter and help establish even further links with different design communities around the world.