Solar-Powered Annual Report Takes Design Grand Prix

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Solar energy provider Austria Solar took home the 2012 Design Grand Prix for its unusual annual report, created out of Serviceplan Munich, a piece of design that, basically, made the jurors feel like kids again.


The award-winning effort was a piece of collateral like no other—it featured nothing on its pages, until you placed it in the sun. The report is imprinted with photocromatic colors that only became visible when exposed to sunlight. The content disappears in the absence of UV rays, making it "the first annual report powered by the sun" and a true demonstration of what the client is about.


Not only was the work a brave move for the client, it also was a refreshing and unique twist to a typically dull category. "I think the client deserves an award, as much as anybody else," said Jury President Bruce Duckworth. "When you pick it up it looks like nothing's printed on it at all, you open it up in the sunlight, and the typography magically appears. We talk about a world of digital interaction and this is interaction in a really physical, traditional expression. It's so appropriate for the company, it's done brilliantly and it doesn't feel like a gimmick at all. It really did represent everything we were looking for."

Also, the jury wasn't just convinced by the typical case study sell. "The bit that twisted our arm, more than anything else, was that one person went out into the sunshine, looked at the annual report, cback in and said,' You've got to see this, it's amazing!'--and then to watch the reaction of all the other jurors as they came back. It actually makes the hairs on the backs of your arms and necks stand up. It made us feel like children again."

THE JURY: 20 judges from 16 different countries, led by jury president Bruce Duckworth of brand design agency Turner Duckworth, which was behind Cocal-Cola's Identiy redesign, the first Design Grand Prix winner from 2008.

CONTROVERSY OR CLEAR WINNER? It was almost a unanimous win. Most jurors voted for it, and then the remaining one or two were easily, and quickly persuaded.

Number of Lions Awarded: 20 Gold Lions; 15 Silver; 41 Bronze

OTHER NOTABLE WINNERS: One impressive piece was simple, barebones package design for Ikea's tinned herring, Skarpskill, created out of Stockholm Design Lab. According to Canadian juror Barbara Jacque, Creative Director at Cossette. "A lot of designs you see are created for designers only, but we were amazed to see that's something you could find in any Ikea," she said.

Juror Christophe Pradere, Founder/Global Creative Director at BETC Design also noted how the jury was impressed by two logos that lived in the digital space, for Google Display and More4, both of which illustrated the need for versatility in terms of copyright design. "More4 was very poetic, very pure and very human centric, while digital. In the case of Google, it was super right to the point, very functional, pure and basic but extremely meaningful in terms of what they were communicating. "

IMPORTANT TREND: The jury noted how many of the winners put "new meaning" into the work with the power of design. All the work awarded involved "some interaction that gives a new side to things, that make you go deeper. The Grand Prix is the pinnacle of this interaction," said Heinrich Paravincini, Co-Founder/CCO of Mutabor Design, Germany.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: The jurors noted that there could be a greater level of participation from the larger design community. Juror from Australia Andrew Henderson, General Manager/Creative Director at David Jones at M&C Saatchi saiid, "I know there's a whole body of work from my region, for example, that isn't represented here, so I encourage my colleagues to participate in the future." Jury president Mr. Duckworth said that they noticed a lot of the submissions tended to be "overspill" from advertising and that work submitted tended to be campaigns that had design attached to them. "Having said that, what we ended up with, is work that we're all very proud of," he said.

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