Regional Design Annual 2014: South

The Regional Design Annual is America’s preeminent design competition. View the winners of the 2014 RDA from the South below.

Alexander Isley, founder of Alexander Isley Inc. and 2014 recipient of the AIGA medal for exceptional achievement in design, was all smiles reviewing this year’s entries from the South. “I love judging design shows; it really gives you a snapshot of what’s currently going on in the world. If I see something that’s unexpected and truly wonderful, it inspires me and makes me happy. And if something’s really terrible, that makes me happy too. So you can’t lose.”

Isley’s judging process is a prudent one, for he makes a distinction between design that acquires admirers and design that earns a place of esteem. “I try to determine (as best I can) how demanding the challenges faced by the designer were. I tend to be drawn to simple, effective and memorable work that addresses complex communication issues over formally beautiful solutions for clients where the bar might not be so high. In other words, while I can admire a beautifully printed wedding announcement, I really respect a book, poster or website where the message is complex and nuanced, and the designer presents information in an engaging way that makes me want to
learn more.”

Isley notes that fortunately, there were many standout entries in the region, including consistently exceptional work from Wake Forest University’s communication department as well as Fuzzco’s imaginative multimedia campaign for MailChimp. “It really conveyed a personality as well as information,” Isley says. “I also admired the ReMaking America book design. Simple and bold is tough to pull off, and this was an unexpected and effective way of interpreting the subject matter.”

If you have your heart set on impressing next year’s judges, take note from Isley: “Explain what the challenge was that you faced. A surprising number of entries didn’t fill in the forms, leaving the judges to try to figure out the problem being solved. Without that information, design becomes solely a beauty contest. And that’s not what it’s about.”

View more 2014 RDA winner galleries.