Last year, among the things that caused me most consternation were
those monstrosities protruding from Harvey Nichols’ windows.
Every day, I’d pass them on my way to work and think,’What are they
meant to be? Are they supposed to symbolise autumn or are they
confirmation that arty window designers have lost the plot?’. I always
assumed that my confusion was merely the product of a disaffected youth
not spent surrounded by the artistic genius of Warhol and
My negative and self-deprecating thoughts were confirmed when I noticed
that the aforementioned display scooped a gold at the D&AD Awards last
A gold. The same prize bestowed upon BMP DDB’s Doritos idents last
An accolade that for years has been considered the Holy Grail by
advertising creatives and designers alike.
Don’t get me wrong, I like window displays. I think it’s good that
stores such as Harvey Nics try to inject a little bit of humanity into
what is essentially a box showcasing someone else’s designs. Call me
conservative but what’s wrong with the approach of scattering a few
leaves for autumn - or how about some nice snowflakes, a Christmas tree
and some presents for winter?
And, while I’m ranting, what was that title sequence for Gattaca on
Yes, OK, it was nice and soothing - but worthy of a gold? What did the
imagery say to you? Several people I spoke to claimed to have
interpreted it as a city about to be destroyed by a nuclear bomb, but
then they were reading Time Out at the same time. Now, did any of those
classic James Bond title sequences ever scoop a gold? No, you can bet
your life they didn’t, but they were inspired openers. Close your eyes
and you can visualise Bond in silhouette, striding across the screen,
the gunshot, the blood and the booming Shirley Bassey track.
If D&AD continues to insist on acclaiming ’design and art direction’
such as these two examples, it risks demeaning what were once considered
well-respected and worthy awards. When you have a masterpiece like
Leagas Delaney’s ’Perfect Day’ waiting in the wings, how can you
conceivably hand out golds to such over-indulgence?