European Design Week 2008

European Design is growing. After a three-day graphic design extravaganza in Athens in 2007, where the ED-Awards and ED-Conference were complemented by poster and exhibition openings, this year Stockholm was the host of the first European Design Week.

As the banner uniting all the graphic design events which took place in Stockholm between May 15 and 19, the ED-Week included other events apart from its trademark three-day conference and awards ceremony: several exhibitions, talks and seminars, a book launch, two design walks and a formal reception at the Stockholm City Hall. All the events were organised by different companies and institutions, who during these five packed days joined efforts to enable guests from all over Europe (and beyond!) to see the best of Stockholm’s graphic design scene.

A true smörgåsbord (buffet) of graphic design events took place from dawn till Swedish dusk, which comes rather late in May, and which proved, despite the unpredictable weather, to energise and captivate hundreds of people around European graphic design and visual communication.

Next year, Zurich will host an even larger celebration: ED-Week will become the ED-Festival. So expect a much larger and exciting series of design events, and join us in 2009.

ED-Awards 2008
The European Design (ED) Awards ceremony, the high-point of the  European Design Week, gathered 380 professionals and students who came to Stockholm to be part of this premier event for communication design in Europe. The ceremony, which took place at the Södra Teatern in Stockholm on May 18, was a long, full night of celebration for European visual communication, hosted by the irreplaceable Agneta Wallin: as in 2007, the ED-Awards again distinguished the best in graphic design, illustration and multimedia design in Europe.

Close to 900 submissions were sent from 32 countries across the whole continent, and judged earlier this year by a jury comprised of editors from eleven prestigious communication design magazines in Europe – 2+3D (Poland), CAP & Design (Sweden), +design (Greece), étapes (France), Eye (UK), IDPURE (Switzerland), Graphic (The Netherlands), progretto grafico (Italy), [kAk] (Russia), TYPO (Czech Republic) and Visual (Spain), headed by Bettina Schulz, editor-in-chief of German design magazine novum. A total of 83 Merits, 24 Awards and one Jury Prize were awarded in 2008.

Under the awards’ six groups of 28 categories, ranging from ‘brand logo’ to ‘alcoholic drinks packaging’, from ‘original typeface’ to ‘digital self-promotion’, the breadth of work entered in the ED-Awards highlights the degree to which graphic design and visual communication permeates our contemporary society. A limited edition mulled wine bottle from Sweden, a wine museum in Catalonia, a fashion students exhibition in the UK, campaign videos for a political party in Greece, theatre posters in Madrid, office signage in Ludwigsburg, an architecture triennale in Oslo and a website on ‘War on Radio’ from Berlin are just a few examples of work awarded this year.

The Agency of the Year award went to BeetRoot Design Group in Thessaloniki, with a total of two awards (Digital self-promotion, corporate illustration) and three merits (corporate illustration, cards and flyers, printed self-promotion).

The ED-Awards Jury Prize went to Angie Rattray and Ulrich Einweg from Austria, for their ‘Planet Earth – directions for use’ project. This series of four A2-sized lightweight paper leaflets resembles common pharmaceutical packaging and uses illustration and infographics to guide and provide information on several topics concerning the health and – more importantly – possible treatment of our planet. It was thus a worthy receiver of the Jury Prize, which aims to go beyond some of the limitations of main award criteria and reward a piece of work with social, environmental or cultural ambitions.

The third and final main distinction of the evening, the European Design Awards Hall of Fame 2008 award (as voted by all the participants of the competition) went to Javier Mariscal. The Spanish graphic designer earned the title for his extraordinarily prolific career and significance in the context of European design and visual communication. Mariscal is expected to deliver the final presentation at next year’s European Design Conference, which will be part of the first European Design Festival in Zurich.

The European Design Week events were sponsored by Corbis and Sappi.

27.5.2008