Instead of the stereotypical creative tantrums, Clarke has a down-to-earth grasp of how typography contributes to award-winning ads. "It's just not doing something too over the top that gets in the way of the idea," he says. "The typography should support and convey the creative idea."
Clarke was behind some of the most engaging and intelligent ads that picked up multiple awards during the year. Top of the list comes his work for The Guardian. In "Stella Rimmington poem" and "train crash", the expert typography was instrumental in breathing life into the idea.
"Those ads both had good creatives working on them before they landed on my desk," Clarke says. Yet his microscopic attention to detail stood him in good stead when it came to "train crash". "I was adamant that it should be the real article explaining a train accident," he says. "My theory was that if someone knew what that article was and how to reassemble those characters, they could reconstruct the accident as such. That was a bit controversial as we were up against time, but I wanted it to be genuine."
Clarke is keen to point out that there are other people at BMP who are unsung heroes when it comes to the agency's work. "I am only part of the team," he points out. "There's a good studio here, second to none, a production team and other designers and typographers." He also reveals why he has been at BMP so long. "It's unusual to have such length of service, but I think I'm privileged to work here. It's a really good agency and every day I come in and learn something new." He is also forthcoming in his praise for the agency's head of art, Mark Reddy. "He's a talented man and I lean on him as much as possible."
The feeling among the judges was that Clarke's awarded work for The Guardian, Lurpak, Volkswagen and Harvey Nichols met the criteria for the spirit of the Best of the Best Awards very well, in the sense that the judges were seeking to reward a body of work, not just one or two executions.
John Hegarty at Bartle Bogle Hegarty says: "The two things in typography you look for are legibility and readability. Clarke demonstrates that superbly. I was intrigued by his work and then able to take the message out of it."
Roger Kennedy from Saatchi & Saatchi receives an honourable mention in this category. He was behind the typography on the agency's Coco de Mer work, as well as its campaign for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, both of which won golds at Cannes.He also worked on the NSPCC ads.
Wieden & Kennedy's Richard Hooker was also highly praised by the judges for his contribution to Nike's strong track record of winning awards, as well as his work on Loot, which scooped best first use of posters at the Campaign Poster Awards.
Shortlist: Christian Cotterill/Steve Darsow (D'Arcy), Lorentz Gullachsen (AIS), Richard Hooker (Wieden & Kennedy), Ian Hutchings (Mother), Roger Kennedy (Saatchi & Saatchi), Ryan Shellard (RKCR/Y&R), Scott Silvey (Saatchi & Saatchi), James Townsend (Fallon), Robin Warrington/Brian McHale (AMV BBDO), Kevin Wood (Saatchi & Saatchi).
KEVIN CLARKE, Senior designer, BMP DDB
The Guardian "Stella Rimmington poem": Campaign Press (commendation);
Creative Circle (bronze); D&AD (3 silver nominations)
The Guardian "train crash": Campaign Press (silver)
Harvey Nichols "winter sale: neck/shin/stomach": One Show (silver); D&AD
Cannes (Gold Lion) VW Group "fun fur, snakes & ladders, Dan": Creative