On Sept. 9, the Art Directors Club unveiled the exhibition of ADC Young Guns 4, a collection of works by 35 fertile creative minds in the visual communication fields. Representing advertising, graphic design, environmental design, film, photography, illustration packaging and new media, Young Guns showcases trendsetters 30 and younger every two years, with this exhibition's judging held this spring. Led by co-chairs Mike Joyce of MTV Networks (also a former Young Gun) and Bill Oberlander of Ogilvy & Mather, the judges were joined by former Young Guns winners, including photographers Ellen Stagg and Eva Mueller and illustrator Juliette Borda. The judges considered entries from more than 21 countries for the first time this year, and those named to the list came from such locales as Japan, Amsterdam, Canada and Switzerland, in addition to the US.
Among those featured in the exhibition, on show until October 22, are 180 Amsterdam art director Caprice Yu, whose work includes irreverent cartoons interspersed with fashion photography, such as in her work for Dr Pepper Europe, and a Japanese-inspired comic book print ad for adidas. William Zimmer and Luke Choi, who have created IDs for MTV's beach house, Headbanger's Ball, Spring Break and 2003 VMAs, keep the tradition of hip broadcast design at the network alive. Photographer Geoff Green caught the judges' attention as well with black and white split-frame work inside the subway, where he proves that people are more alike than they think they are.
"I was really blown away by Crystal English and Quentin Shuldiner's work on Napster," says judge Sasha Kurtz, creative director at Dotglu. "I think they did such an outstanding job and it's one of the most creative solutions to a hard problem I've seen in a long time. They did a brilliant job of not only talking to a jaded audience, but giving them a wink and a nod. The final work was so on-strategy and exciting that Napster launched its television creative based on the web vignettes-a coup that interactive creative teams usually only dream of."
Oberlander says that a larger proportion of entries this year were web-based. "The thing that really impressed me was the new media presence and webisodes, interactive film. I don't remember that being so popular-it seems to be a bigger trend, definitely dwarfing the photographic presence. It shows that the new generation is technologically savvy and willing to think outside of traditional methods."
"The most exciting trend I saw this year was a sense of humor," says Kurtz "I think designers are steering away from super-serious graphic design to design that includes whimsy and playfulness as characteristic traits, and is designed to not only be beautiful, but also make the viewer smile. I seldom have an opportunity to see much work from upcoming designers, outside of a single piece here and there, so it was very exciting to be able to really celebrate not only a single achievement, but each artists' personal style, talent and passion through viewing a large body of work."