Why The “Best of …” Theme in the RDA

As you flip through the pages of Print’s Regional Design Annual (available here), you’ll notice a theme as you review headlines, such as “The Best Book Covers of 2013,” “The Best Typefaces of 2013″ and “The Best Album Cover Art of 2013.” It’s no coincidence that we choose to include these superior groupings in the RDA. You see, the issue as a whole represents the very best, including the 345 winners chosen by esteemed judges as winners in their respective regions.

In his Observer column, Rick Poynor emphasizes the important role that annuals, like the RDA, play in making design a critical field.

Print’s Regional Design Annual, first published in 1981, is a geographically organized, national survey of design based on a competition. If all the examples of graphic design that the annual has ever shown were to be gathered by region in chronological order, it would present the most detailed picture of the development of graphic design in America over the past three decades,” says Poynor.

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The regional aspect of Print’s RDA certainly is a distinguishing factor from other design competitions. And it doesn’t go unnoticed by Poynor, readers or winners alike. Jerome Daksiewicz, past winner and founder of Chicago-based NOMO, likes the regional distinctions that this competition offers. “In a hyper-connected world it’s nice to draw boundaries and look inward. This not only localizes and strengthens your sense place but connects designers to their family of cities,” says Daksiewicz.

The RDA isn’t just about “winning.” In addition to serving as a source of inspiration, it presents a bird’s eye view of regional talent to potential employers, creative partners and clients. “For studios [and clients alike] looking for exceptional designers in a particular area, this is one way to find them,” says Poynor.

Kyra Chambliss works for PP+K, a Florida-based, full-service advertising agency. The agency has been entering work for several years. One of its past RDA wins centered around work that the agency did for The Pediatric Cancer Foundation (see images below). “We’ve been very honored and proud to see our work showcased. … It was equally gratifying to see our client’s joy in being part of your annual,” says Chambliss.

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Enter now to potentially have your work showcased among “the best” in the next Regional Design Annual. 

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