• Jessica Deseo

The Best Graphic Design of the Year: Announcing the Winners of the PRINT Awards

In 2020, after being independently acquired by a group of the industry’s best design minds, PRINT launched its first significant website redesign in a decade, and returned to the design scene to provide more inspiration, design thinking in action, thoughtful longreads, and eye candy galore than ever before.

We also took stock of our signature annual competition—the Regional Design Awards—and decided it was time to bring it into the present like never before.

When it launched in 1980, the competition had a singular goal: to show that great design was being created in cities all across the United States, and not just in the usual hubs like New York City. The democratization of the internet has only further brought that concept to powerful life, and so it was time to formally embrace the fact that no matter where a designer lives or works, the best design rises to the top.

Moreover, we were missing out on a lot of brilliant design by restricting the competition to the United States—so we did what often needs to be done in design. We completely overhauled the system, and created something new. Something modern, inclusive, and reflective of a scene that is truly global.

Meet the 2020 PRINT Awards, presented by Adobe—a collection of the world’s best design, broken down across 20 categories, and featuring not just six regional judges, but a broad international jury of 21 luminaries of contemporary design, all with deep subject matter expertise in their categories. Their criteria? Originality, Innovation, Permanence, and Execution.


We of course have a show-stopping Best of Show winner, but we also created four all-new designations: Agency of the Year (the highest-rated agency, studio or in-house brand in the entire competition, determined by the largest amount of total wins across various categories), Editor’s Choice (a piece selected by the internal PRINT team), the Citizen Design Award (a free-to-enter category focused on outstanding original design for a social cause) and the Adobe Dimension Design Award (a free-to-enter category from our presenting sponsor, celebrating work created using Creative Cloud software, and highlighting the use of Adobe Dimension and 3D).


All told, we received more than 1,300 entries from 57 countries—and the awesomeness of our judges’ selections have left us floored, and fully inspired as we roll into 2021.


As PRINT editorial director Debbie Millman said, “This year’s entries surprised us with their depth, breadth and overall excellent quality. It was a thrill to see the work.”


Here, we share the winners of the 2020 PRINT Awards—and hope you find that same thrill and inspiration.



Eyes Say More Than Words

By: Design Army

USA

Our world is louder than ever before, so we imagined a place where eyes say more than words. Set in the “Quietest Library on Earth” (a temple of hush), the film focuses on a tyrannical “Quiet Guard” who punishes patrons for the slightest sound, sneeze or gesture. But a plot to overthrow—hatched only through conversing eyes (and super stylish frames)—sparks The Silent Revolution against the overly sound-sensitive tyrant. We took visual cues from eccentric 1970s style, specifically high school yearbooks: employing quirky prints, big hair, bigger glasses. Speak Less. Say More.


Editor’s Note: We developed our Agency of the Year award to recognize the highest-rated agency, studio or in-house brand with the most wins across all categories in the entire competition. In the regular categories of the inaugural PRINT Awards, we had a tie: Design Army, with wins in the Brochures/Catalogs, Editorial, Handlettering & Type Design and Photography categories, and One Design Company with two wins in the Logos category and two wins in the Handlettering & Type Design category. We offer them both our congratulations!


Design Army

USA


One Design Company

USA


Louisville Magazine—No Justice, No Peace

By: Sarah Flood-Baumann Design

USA

In the throws of the Breonna Taylor protests, Louisville Magazine published an editorial package that highlighted a conversation with the city's Black leaders and also featured two protest-centric photo essays. My job as a designer was to bring the image words to the page with reverence and seriousness. Using Martin typeface from Vocal Type Co., and photographs from Andrew Censi and Mickie Winters, my work was thoughtful in its loudness, boldness and it was unapologetic in its frustration with the systemic racism of our world.


Hairy Situation

By: Anu Manohar

Our presenting sponsor Adobe invited designers to unleash their creativity and make a 3D impact by designing a unique piece of content using Adobe Dimension, and answering a crucial question: What does design mean to you? Winner Anu Manohar was inspired by the year of the pandemic.

“Design is a world of endless possibilities—it’s an emotion, it’s an experience and it’s a lot of great things,” she details. “But design also has its ups and downs. The COVID situation made me experience design in a different way. From being a freelance designer to a full-time employee in the past few months, I realized that design can be a hairy situation. Dealing with creativity, projects, clients, deadlines, payments, etc., during the COVID period was a whole other ball game. It brought a ton of exciting, risky and unpredictable experiences. As a reflection of my experience during this period of time, I decided to make a poster with the phrase ‘it's a hairy situation.’ I wanted to bring a hint of humor to my message rather than a serious tone. So I used expressive typography and a colorful palette to make the message light yet meaningful.”


Editor’s Note: Throughout the course of 2020, we’ve seen so much powerful work dedicated to so many vital causes—so we created this free-to-enter category to honor such design from individuals, studios and companies. We received hundreds of outstanding entries, and had trouble selecting just one to feature—so here we present a top winner, and two honorable mentions.



First Place: Creatives for Kitchens

By: Christine Clayton Design

USA

Creatives for Kitchens is a charitable initiative that has worked to assemble teams of volunteer creative professionals and match them with restaurants affected by the COVID-19 lockdown. The focus and result of our efforts have been pro-bono support for light touch updates to items such as menus, copy, signage and websites. For example, many of our teams (typically a copywriter, designer, social strategist/content marketer and photographer) have collaborated to create powerful and essential social media updates to communicate the changes in service, menu and operations that restaurant patrons need to know. This is an ongoing project with no immediate plans to sunset. Direct relief for restaurants was slated on the newest stimulus bill, and with that on ice for the foreseeable future, restaurants need us more than ever.



Honorable Mention: Guide to Parking (for Those Living in Vehicles)

By: Various (see below)

USA More than 2,700 people in Seattle/King County live in their cars due to homelessness. This brochure provides critical information on parking regulations and support services for car dwellers. In Seattle, as in many cities, a vehicle can be ticketed for being parked in the same spot for more than 72 hours. Vehicles can also be towed and impounded for having expired registration or multiple unpaid tickets. Fines and towing fees can be crippling costs that lead to seizure and loss of the car (by auction from the towing company). Besides explaining specific parking regulations, the guide explains how car dwellers can receive help from the court system and from the Seattle Scofflaw Mitigation Team, a group of volunteers who work with vehicle residents. Scofflaw Team members can accompany car dwellers to court and help them develop a plan to legally address their unpaid tickets. This brochure was designed by a group of students and faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle for ITFH, the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness. The printing of the brochure was funded by the Sappi Paper Company through their “Ideas That Matter” program.



Honorable Mention: Amidad

By: Esther Velasco

USA

In the current social and political climate, it is crucial to create a space for undocumented immigrants to feel safe, and like they are a part of something. The word Amidad is the combination of the word "Amity" with the Spanish suffix "dad," which means "characteristic of." As such, the term Amidad encourages a sense of community. The app gives immigrants tools and resources at their fingertips. The core of Amidad is our small device that can be hooked to your keychain. The device can alert family, friends and lawyers in case of an emergency involving law enforcement, as well as begin recording an interaction on your phone. Amidad is made up of two components: a resource app with easy access to immigrant-related tools and information, and an alert device to be used in emergencies. The critical app features that tie into the alert device have steps to handle cases involving ICE, such as raids or warrantless violations at a person's home. Once activated, the alert device sends a text message to designated lawyers, family, friends and local volunteers to come to observe and record the interaction. This was created using Adobe InDesign, Adobe Dimension, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.


First Place: Hot Hounds

By: Rethink

Canada

Every year hundreds of dogs die in hot vehicles. To help bring awareness to this issue, we teamed up with Earth Paws and created Hot Hounds—the first and only car-baked dog treat. After being baked inside a 70°C vehicle on a hot summer day, the treats were packaged and sold in-store and online. All proceeds from their sale were donated to the SPCA.



Second Place: Heinz Ketchup Puzzle

By: Rethink

Canada

Our objective was to re-ignite an emotional connection with Heinz in a culturally relevant way to bolster consumer loyalty and reignite love. We sought to stay top of mind by instigating significant chatter across social channels and to reinforce our iconic status as Canada’s No. 1 Ketchup.



Third Place: Sunlight-Activated Florida Adventure Map

By: SPARK

USA

Utilizing UV-sensitive photochromic inks, SPARK designed a unique, interactive map that, when exposed to sunlight, reveals unexpected Florida adventures. From prehistoric caverns to rare coral reefs, bioluminescent kayaking to America’s first underwater art museum, the map highlights outdoor adventures that take visitors beyond Florida’s famous beaches and theme parks. This enabled people to see beyond the familiar destinations of Miami and Orlando and discover the wealth of diverse experiences that exist across the state, in regions they never knew existed.


First Place: Ysleta del Sur Pueblo 2019 Year-End Report

By: Anne M. Giangiulio Design

USA

I designed this Ysleta del Sur Pueblo 2019 Year-End Report for the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, a Puebloan Native American tribal entity located in the Ysleta section of El Paso, Texas. With a focus on the traditional foods of the tribe, the report features photos and text that document the creation of time-honored recipes created by various tribal members, and the stories that accompany them. To achieve this, we worked with a Tiguan photographer, whom I art directed during the cooking or baking process.



Second Place: UDEM Annual Report 2019

By: Reset Co

Mexico

[In] 2019, Universidad of Monterrey changed their communication objectives to highlight the characteristics that have differentiated them from other universities throughout their 50 years: “soft skills.” These refer to those skills focused on emotional intelligence and how you interact with other people. These skills are learned in college along with the “hard skills” (technical knowledge of careers), with the promise that through these, the university inspires the best version of its community. For the development of this graphic proposal, we applied elements of the new university campaign to be consistent in communication. In this case, in addition to the personalized alphabet made for the campaign, numbers were also created based on the "Work Sans" typography to create shapes that reinforce the UDEM pillars [while functioning] as windows into the university to visualize its achievements in 2019.



Third Place: KCAI Presidents Report

By: DMH

USA

The Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) publishes The President’s Report annually to show donors the school’s ongoing advancements and accomplishments, including student success stories and data visualization. The 2018–2019 report is the first document to debut the new KCAI identity, created from its brand essence: Imagine what the world has yet to see. Its cover introduces the dynamic system in its gridmark form and its complementary “revealed blocks”—the missing components from the gridmark—through die-cut, to spark curiosity. The remainder of the piece is formatted in a gridded layout, purposefully representing the matrix foundation of the mark.


First Place: Impertinentes—14 livros de Gustavo Piqueira

By: Casa Rex

Brazil

The book compiles 14 books created by Gustavo Piqueira, produced between 2012 and 2018, that, with different degrees of intensity, sought to blur many of the existing limits between the established categories of the printed book through the exploration of the most varied articulations between text and image, visual and material, industrial and handmade, past and present, fiction and nonfiction. The cover therefore reflects two of the main dimensions of Gustavo's work: the deconstruction of “traditional” arrangements, when it appears as a book cover in which everything seems out of place and, by offering the reader the possibility of assembling/disassembling it, the playful look on the book as an object.



Second Place: Process: How to Create Community Buildings with Impact

By: HCMA Architecture + Design

Canada

The 208-page book functions as a manual to guide key decisions civic leaders need to make throughout each stage of a public building project. Projects of this nature span years and require fanatical dedication. As such, Process is housed within a sturdy canvas cover—screenprinted black with reversed-out letters intended to wear with age. The heavy-duty, tactile feel of the book harkens back to the nostalgia of "glovebox" machinery manuals that bore battle scars from use. Beneath the cover exists a black-on-white inversion of the bold typographic design, bound by an exposed spine, which metaphorically represents the design process—revealing how the book is made.



Third Place: Suspect Communities

By: Monograph

USA

We adapted an old COINTELPRO document to show the idea of surveillance and infiltration of communities. From the publisher: Suspect Communities is a powerful reassessment of the U.S. government’s “countering violent extremism” (CVE) program that has arisen in major cities across the United States since 2011. By undertaking this analysis, Nicole Nguyen offers a vital window into the inner workings of the U.S. security state and the devastating impact of the CVE program on local communities.


First Place: The X-Files: The Official Archives

By: Headcase Design

USA

The X-Files: The Official Archives is a hardcover collection of 50 FBI case files from the desks of Agents Mulder and Scully. Packed with lab results, autopsy reports, clippings, mug shots, crime-scene photos, and security camera printouts, the book allows readers to scour the evidence, immersing themselves in the story as a firsthand participant. We combined actual props used in the show with faux documents we created to meticulously build each case file. Era-appropriate FBI letterheads track the passing of time, while handwritten notes from the archiving Agent Harrison guide readers through the narrative. The goal of the book was to feel as realistic as possible, with aged and damaged artifacts that are placed in evidence bags, stapled, and clipped in the book—all meticulously rendered in Photoshop.



Second Place: Moholy-Nagy and the New Typography / Moholy-Nagy und die Neue Typografie

By: Institute Designlab Gutenberg; Isabel Naegele & Julia Neller

Germany

The extensive publication documents a three-year research project on the National Bauhaus Year. It brings together the exhibition panels by the Bauhaus master László Moholy-Nagy, recently rediscovered in the Berlin Art Library, which are illuminated with characteristic keywords by renowned authors by means of an "Abcdarium"—from A for Akzidentien to Z for Zeitungsdesign. Through associative cross-reading, the typographic cosmos of ideas of the avant-garde of the 1920s can be experienced again.



Third Place: Morla : Design

By: Letterform Archive

USA

Morla : Design is a dynamic monograph spanning Jennifer Morla’s 40-year career. Recipient of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and an AIGA Medalist, Morla illustrates her creative process and design philosophy in the book, and shares the inspiration behind more than 150 projects. With an introduction by Paula Scher and a prologue by Erik Spiekermann, Morla : Design vividly demonstrates why design matters.


First Place: 2020 Arphic Font Library

By: Hong Da Design Studio

Taiwan

In Taiwan, font libraries have been primarily used for searching and editing, in the form of printed materials (flyers), come in various different forms resulting in difficulties when putting to use in packaging or publicity. As the numbers of font libraries increase the number of printed materials it increases, resulting in unnecessary consumption of paper and ink, which is a burden to the environment. To improve such situation, the designer focuses on three main points “conveniently assemble”, “visual diversity” and “environmentally friendly ”as the major themes for the ARPHIC Font Library, including the entire font library (from ARPHIC Technology Co., Ltd) encompassing thousands of fonts from the last 30 years that has been categorized into four collections.



Second Place: Where Ideas Lead

By: Design Army

USA

A promotional brochure to introduce the new branding tagline “Where Ideas Lead,” positioning Neenah as a partner in the creative process that provides the products and services—the solutions—to help bring brand visions to life and transform ideas into results.



Third Place: Arturo Alvarez Catalog

By: teiga, studio.

Spain

Arturo Alvarez entrusted us with the conception of a publication that visually summarized the brand's values. This publication should summarize its emotional light philosophy, handmade, crafts, design and product finishes. An art direction in photography and a design focused on showing the products through textures and representing the emotional light (lights and shadows projected in space) with a cover printed with luminescent ink that absorbs the light.


First Place: Emme

By: Deerfield

USA

EMME is rooted in the word “strength”; we wanted to create a brand that empowered women to be able to do whatever they set out to do. The name is a palindrome, and mirror quality of the logotype literally closes the loop on women’s health. Our mark is a modern-day Athena (the goddess of wisdom and the hunt) riding a tigress, and she's always a perfect shot. Our mottos are Woman on a Mission and Knowledge isPowerful and Power to the Pill. During a time when access to birth control and choice is at risk, we were honored to lead the branding with EMME as exceptional partners; led by women for women. A passion project, EMME is an example of the power of branding to do good in this world.



Second Place: James Weldon Johnson Park Branding

By: Brunet-Garcia Advertising

USA

Amidst impassioned calls for social justice and racial equality across the country, the City of Jacksonville made the bold decision to remove the Confederate monument from Hemming Park, the city’s first and oldest park. Named for the Confederate veteran who purchased and installed the monument, the city recognized the opportunity to forge a new, more harmonious path forward by renaming the park after James Weldon Johnson, a Black writer, early civil rights activist, and native son of Jacksonville. We were entrusted to create a new brand identity for this historic project that would transform the park into a modern, urban space, engage diverse communities, and restore vitality to the city’s most prominent public square.



Third Place: Fisher-Price

By: Pentagram

USA

Fisher-Price is one of the world’s leading toy companies, defining the category in infant and preschool toys and playing an important role in childhood for almost a century, creating everything from “bump to bus.” Pentagram has collaborated with Fisher-Price on a refresh of its brand identity that highlights a return to a playful sense of fun. The system draws on the brand’s extraordinary heritage to build a complete visual language, and includes a custom typeface, messaging, art direction and merchandising.


First Place: IMAPI

By: Café.art.br and Odd.Studio

Brazil

The first thousand days of a child are the most important ones to guarantee a healthy development. IMAPI is a Nurturing Care Municipality Index that combines over 100 metrics that are strongly related to environmental development in these first days of a child’s life. The project is an 18-month effort from a diverse group of professionals to put together databases from 2015 and 2016 from all of Brazil's 5,570 municipalities, to create a sound, peer-reviewed methodology, and to make the results publicly available.



Second Place: A Walk in the Dark

By: James Round Design

U.K.

The data visualization, exploring the incredible legacy of spacewalking in its entirety, is presented in a similar structure to a constellation chart, and plots every person who has ever embarked on a spacewalk or moonwalk. I wanted the design to be in a vintage style, conjuring the timeless majesty of space, and conveying a sense of the ambition and enthusiasm around space travel that existed during the time of the moon landing and Apollo missions. The astronauts and cosmonauts are plotted chronologically according to the date of their first extravehicular activity. Different icons featuring stars, planets and other interstellar objects depict the various missions, while the scale of each icon represents the number of EVAs undertaken. Finally, EVA’s undertaken by the same person across different decades are linked to create constellations, presenting a complete picture that celebrates scientific achievement and our collective aspiration as a species to sit amongst the stars.



Third Place: Emotion Archive

By: McKinsey & Company

USA

It all started with a simple question: "How have people around the world coped with the COVID-19 crisis?" The Emotion Archive is an interactive data visualization, featured on McKinsey's COVID Response Center, that explores the reflections of 122 people in 22 cities and eight countries around the world. It offers a deeper look into how the pandemic has changed people’s lives and livelihoods while serving as an archive of the unprecedented changes and emotional responses triggered by the crisis.


First Place: Arrested Development

By: South China Morning Post

Hong Kong

The South China Morning Post graphics team chose to mark the one year anniversary of the ongoing anti-government demonstrations by visualizing the fate of those arrested on protest-related charges. Lead artist, Adolfo Arranz drew 8,981 unique silhouettes to show the number of people acquitted, discharged, bound over and convicted. The design makes clever use of the broadsheet format to show how many face prosecution, are under investigation or have been released. Readers can see at a glance that more than a quarter were female, the youngest was 11 years old, the oldest 84.



Second Place: Mohawk Maker Quarterly 16: Community

By: Hybrid Design

USA

Community as an aspiration has captured the attention of a broad cross section of the design world. As mediators of a cultural environment where we are constantly presented with everything, remarkably, we feel we are missing something. As curators of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly, and designers ourselves, we were struck by the possibility that the elusiveness of community stems from a hazy definition. Maybe we are drawn to something we haven’t fully de ned, dooming our desire to be forever unrequited. In this issue we investigate varied expressions of community with stories in three volumes: Place, Voice, Time, each representing a different point of view on community through a different point of view on design.



Third Place: MICA Commotion Vol. 08

By: Design Army

USA

The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore is one of the oldest and most prestigious art schools in the country. When approached to help find an exciting and “interactive” way to unite their 20 graduate programs, we developed and designed a semiannual magazine to connect students, alumni, faculty and prospective students. The new magazine was titled Commotion. The name comes from the belief that artists and designers create through exploration and investigation, taking inspiration from vast and varied sources; the process can be chaotic, noisy and confusing, but always rewarding. The magazine had to be visually dynamic and exciting to represent this process. We created visually exciting and compelling layouts, with bright pops of color, dynamic typography and custom illustration. The publication increased engagement and graduate enrollment and seamlessly connected the disparate groups to create a strong MICA experience that extends well beyond the college years.


First Place: Resilience Mural Project

By: Creative Theory Agency

USA

Resilience is the ability to persist and thrive in spite of challenging and unprecedented circumstances. This mural located in Washington, DC is designed to inspire our community through art and storytelling while offering resources to those affected by COVID-19. From physical to digital, this multi-layered project, in partnership with Capital One, was created to encourage perseverance through artistic expression and storytelling while providing pandemic relief resources to minority-owned businesses.



Second Place: Knit Con Event Branding

By: Hybrid Design

USA

Knit Con, [Pinterest's] annual employee conference, is designed to celebrate creativity, hands-on learning and the exploration of new skills and experiences. By focusing on the elements that tie Pinterest’s values and employees together, Hybrid Design created a fresh new take on the idea of the Pinterest Thread. Typographic expressions, illustration, art direction and photography work together to literally tie ideas together and take over the beautiful physical space that the Pinners call home. Installations throughout the Pinterest offices created the feeling of anticipation and excitement for the event to come to life and the well-deserved days of enrichment and learning for the Pinterest employees.



Third Place: Sniffing Out the Differences

By: Sniffing Out the Differences, ValueLabs

India

Sniffing out the Differences is a series of multisensory installations consisting of novel interfaces that use the unusual medium of smell along with sensor technology to narrate socially relevant stories for today. The narratives primarily deal with the modern conception of identity, and with differences which often lead to xenophobia. It consists of five installations titled Jallianwala Bagh, Identity stories, Mir Abdul Attarwala, Xeno 500, and Diversity in us. Each of these installations tackles a key social or cultural issue relevant to current society by allowing the user to experience multisensory inputs guiding them through varied narratives.


First Place: AIGA Chicago Mentorship Program 2020 Identity

By: One Design Company

USA

The AIGA Chicago Mentorship Program—one of the chapter's most successful and inclusive platforms—gives creatives from across disciplines a place to gather and share insights, experiences and resources. With programming that supports all levels of experience, the organization has collaborative mentor groups that develop a curriculum based on community interest and need. The One Design team was proud to support the program with a bold, flexible, custom typographic identity for the 2020 season—taking conceptual cues from the rich diversity of mentorship program participants.





Second Place: PRINT Award Certificates

By: Design Army

USA

Custom lettering for the 2019 Print Awards—each poster was custom for each region using various kinetic graphic elements. The certificates are oversized poster format, and were printed with white foils and inks. The goal was to create something epic and memorable for each winner, as these certificates also marked the end of the printed regional publication, and the start of a new online format. Long live PRINT!



Third Place: Confluence Chicago

By: One Design Company

USA

Collaborating with Chicago’s famed Merchandise Mart and BIFMA (the trade association for business and institutional furniture manufacturers), One Design developed a positioning strategy and brand system for Confluence Chicago, a new programming track for NeoCon 2020 (now slated to 2021) focused on bringing together creative practitioners from across multiple modes of design.


First Place: Muito Esquisito

By: Casa Rex

Brazil

Graphic design and illustrations for a children's book that creates fantastic animals—some described verbally, others visually. The illustrations move from mixing collages to simple, multicolored geometric shapes. … By combining distinct and easily identifiable body parts of animals into a single being, [they] evoke not only the fantasy of small readers but also broaden their visual representation—something that could easily be proved in the numerous school encounters in which students created their own "weird animals."



Second Place: Voices of the Harlem Renaissance

By: Journey Group

USA