After somewhat thoughtful deliberation on a sunny Manhattan morning in a mid-town high-rise building (it being New York’s offices), a winner was unanimously declared for the High Priority contest by the five judges (them being Luke Hayman, Chris Dixon and John Sheppard of New York and us two). You may skip to the bottom of this entry and see the winner or you may read in calm order as the post builds up to the winner.
Luke Hayman looking over the entries during the first round
With nearly 200 entries and not a big enough table we went through the entries in bundles of twenty or so and simply made piles of “keep” and “don’t keep”. This was perhaps the most fun part as we combed through all the great entries. In this initial round we went by first impressions, if the entry displayed good execution plus interesting concepts it would get selected. Most of the entries not kept at this stage was because of lack of execution in typography, imagery and layout.
After an arduous first round, more than one hundred entries were cut
All the entries that survived the first round
After the initial cut of close to 120 entries, we laid everything on the table to get a full sense of the breadth of entries and started to compare similar ideas against each other: Meat against meat; Christmas against Christmas; deli tickets against deli tickets; etc. We also started taking a closer and more scrutinous look at execution and concept, pulling out clichéd solutions, or ideas that were similar to previously published High Priorities… We were all looking for something with enough of an idea behind it and developed with cleverness, originality and typographic gusto. This second round brought out the litigious in all of us as we argued in favor or against any specific entry. Nonetheless, it was interesting to see that we were all on the same page (pun intended) of what we were looking for.
Top ten entries fighting hard in the third round
With ten entries left in the running, the New York team had some tough decisions as ultimately, the choice would reflect on the creative team and we are sure just like there is buyer’s remorse, there has to be judge’s remorse in wondering if the final choice is the right choice. The last ten entries showed a great range of ideas and possibilities and the ones we kept pointing to were linked by a sense of humor rendered with visual wit.
The top three entries, only one going home as the winner
With the final three choices on the table, thoughts of printing all three spread throughout future issues proved to be too tempting but perhaps an easy solution. We had to choose one winner. We all gravitated to Abby Clawson Low’s entry because it was graphically interesting and the idea of highlighting the bible — passages 11:03 to 11:10 — was unexpected and well-received; the one thing we struggled with was the text, where at some points it flowed well and into the five choices and on others it didn’t. Monica Fraile’s entry was perfectly executed and delivered in an elegant, dead-pan way that captured the attention of all of us who have stood long lines fighting hungry New Yorkers for our turn at ordering that sky-high stacked pastrami sandwich; we wondered if deli tickets were a strong enough concept; finally, Spencer Fruhling’s entry had us all doing double-takes and snickering at the clever design/typographic jokes jacked up in those signs; the execution may not have been perfect but we all kept coming back to it for its concept of appropriation of junk food visuals in the name of culture. The choice was hard.
Winning entry by Spencer Fruhling of Richmond, British Columbia
[Click on image for larger view in pop-up window]
We extend our most cheerful congratulations to Spencer Fruhling, whose typographic mangling of Arby’s, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Burger King, Jack in the Box and Subway’s logos captivated us from the start. We all liked that it was funny for the general population but it packed an extra laugh for designers who know how hard it is to manipulate existing logos into new things. Well done Mr. Fruhling.
Abby and Monica’s entries were tough to turn down, but we were all definitely impressed.
And, last but not least, we wanted to highlight three other entries that stood strong throughout the competition and gave the winner a run for its money.
A warm, big, juicy thank you to all those that participated. Your contributions exceeded our expectations and we couldn’t have asked for a better response. (Heated debate about contests and spec included!). And we were specially thrilled to see numerous entries from outside of New York City, making the gallery of entries enjoyably diverse and distinct.