More on the Magazine Design Awards
I already posted the results of the eighth MDAs but didn't have time to comment on the results. So here goes.
The big winners this year were Grazia (again) and the New Statesman. Grazia won the first-ever Icon of the Year award, which depending on your reading of what that title meant was either a good thing or a bad thing. If Icon means magazine-of-the-moment then Grazia clearly deserves the title. But if, as some people thought, it's another way to say 'Lifetime Achievement' then Grazia seems an unlikely winner. I prefer the former definition so was pleased the magazine won this along with Best Designed Feature Pages.
The New Statesman won both editorial and design awards (the MDAs have been joined by the Magazine Journalism Awards, presented at the same dinner event). The magazine's redesign has been a commercial success, and winning the Best Designed Front Cover and Best Use of Typography categories accurately reflected the strengths of the redesign carried out by Simon Esterson and Stephen Coates earlier this year. Ironically one of the other names on the voting list for Icon of the Year was Esterson's; had the award been defined as a lifetime achievement surely he would have been awarded the title.
One final thing worth noting; customer publishing has always been well-acknowledged at these awards and it was good to see this sector winning awards outside it's own categories. 33 Thoughts (published by the company I work for, John Brown) won Best Designed Business to Business Magazine and ex-colleague Tan Parmar won the new Designer of the Year award for his work on Contact and Liv at Redwood.
The MDAs remain a relatively new and small event, sitting well behind the PPA and BSME awards in the UK, but until this year they were the only awards focusing on editorial design. But as I mentioned earlier they have been combined with a new set of categories, the MJAs. This has clear commercial benefits for the organisers – more paid entries, more tables booked at the awards dinner – but it does dilute what was a design event. It will be interesting to see if the balance remains tilted in design's favour next year or whether it becomes further diluted.