updated 02:53 am EDT, Fri September 21, 2012
Named 'best brand' and 'best studio' of last 50 years
In an extremely unusual move, Apple on Thursday flew its entire design team -- 15 men and two women, including SVP of Design Sir Jonathan Ive -- from San Francisco to London to accept an award from Design and Art Direction, a British trade group and advertising and design award ceremony which celebrated its 50th anniversary in part by naming Apple the "Best Brand" and Ive's team the "Best Design Studio" of the past 50 years. The team has never previously attended an award ceremony, and are rarely mentioned or seen apart from Ive.
Many of the world's top advertising and design firm executives and creative professionals were present at the ceremony, which came on the eve of the team's latest creation, the iPhone 5, debuting in shops in nine countries this week. Ive accepted the award, but brought the entire team on stage to collect the prize. D&AD head Tim Lindsay said that the people, companies and brands celebrated at the awards "are the true visionaries of the past 50 years of commercial creativity -- their work has changed the way we live our lives, the way we communicate and the way we perceive businesses and each other," reported the London Evening Standard.
D&AD gives out annual awards in the form of "yellow pencils," signifying work that is outstanding "rather than merely excellent." A black pencil award is given to truly groundbreaking or revolutionary advances in the art of commercial design and advertising. An advertising agency associated with memorable ad campaigns of the 1970s won the award for best advertising agency of the last 50 years. Apple has won black pencils from the group before, including in 2008 for the iMac and iPhone. Apple has a total of six black pencils, the most successful track record ever amassed by a single company, and all awarded to Ive's team since 1999. Black pencils are not always awarded in the annual ceremonies, if no entries are judged to be truly outstanding.
Apple's studio and legacy was singled out several times during the evening, with one of Ive's former co-workers at the London design shop Tangerine saying that Apple's designs were "inherent in every part of the brand," and Robert Senior of Saatchi & Saatchi calling out the Conservative UK government for arts cuts, saying "if anyone wondered whether design and art direction mattered, the world's most valuable company has flown its entire design team over," and asking if the government "was listening" to the importance of creative industries. [via London Evening Standard]