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Assessing the place for awards ceremonies in the creative community
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Awards ceremonies still play an important role, says SampsonMay’s Executive Creative Director – and IDI judge – Matthew Shannon

The design community is thriving in Ireland. Some of the best creative talent all over the world originates from there. So, when my former colleague Charlotte Baker – now CEO of the Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI) – called and asked if I would join the panel of judges on the IDI Awards, it was a real privilege.

Some might argue that with instant access to designers’ work via social media, peer-to-peer recognition in real-time, it’s hard to see where traditional industry awards fit in anymore. But the IDI is doing a great job of nurturing the talent of the future and setting creative benchmarks for the industry, still very worthwhile ambitions.

In Ireland, there’s an appreciation of the value of design at the highest level. A press release from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on the website sets it out clearly.  

“Design is an important driver of economic growth, integral to both industry and society. It adds strategic value, creative thinking and innovation from the earliest stages of development through to the final delivery of products and services. The meaning of design has evolved greatly over the past century, and, with the fourth industrial revolution, it is evolving again.”

And it’s not just talk. Ireland is relaxing its visa requirements to encourage creative talent in other parts of the world to relocate. And it has become a Brexit benefactor, picking up where the UK left off.

If you believe that our industry benefits from support, and that designers are empowered by having their work recognised beyond social channels, then ceremonies like the IDI Awards still make complete sense.

There’s already a lot of press about the various category winners, so no need to go into that here. The IDI Awards 2021 were about Irish design and supporting the platform from which it presents itself to the rest of the world.

We sell design solutions. We solve problems via creativity. Social media serve a purpose, but self-reflection and rigour still have important roles to play in supporting our industry and securing its future. The IDI Awards celebrate creativity in Ireland, and its deserved place on the global stage.

Mathew Shannon is Executive Creative Director at SampsonMay and was a judge in the 2021 IDI awards
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