Mark Girvan – The 23rd FAB Awards Design Jury Chair Speaks Exclusively With FAB News on F&B Trends, Awards Schemes and Judging Experience.

FAB News caught up with Mark Girvan who chaired the Design Jury at The 23rd FAB Awards

Speaking exclusively with FAB News – Mark Girvan, Creative Partner at Buddy Creative who chaired The 23rd FAB Awards‘ Design Jury.

Mark Girvan

Q. This is the 2nd Consecutive Year that you have Chaired The FAB Awards Design Jury Panel.  How did that happen? ( How did you get invited to Chair twice? )

After judging the 21st FAB awards in 2019 I was invited back to chair the 22nd. As the pandemic hit the decision was ‘rightly’ made by the FAB team to move to an online judging process. Despite doing a great job of shifting to the virtual platform, the FAB team were disappointed not to be able to host the jury in person. They took the decision to invite us all back in 2021 (for the 23rd FAB Awards) when it was hoped we would all be able to get together in person. Sadly we had to stick with an online judging process again this year (but fingers crossed for a return to normality in 2022).

Q. Based on your previous experience Chairing the Panel – were you looking for more specific Design Solutions, the second time round?

Nothing has really changed in terms of the Jury’s approach to judging the work. As Designers and Creative Directors we were looking for great ideas and great execution. The Jury were fantastic – separately assessing work online for the first stage of judging, then collectively debating shortlisted projects to decide which were deserving of a FAB award (Silver, Gold and FABulous). Interestingly by assessing each entry individually online for the first stage of the judging meant as a judge you are 100% focussed on assessing each entry presented in front of you and you can judge this work at your own pace. I know from other awards schemes I have judged on that there can be a time pressure to get through these initial stages.

Q. Judging on Zoom V Judging in-person?

Judging in person in 2019 hosted by Neeraj and his team was a wonderful day. We were naturally disappointed to not to be together for the 2020 and 2021 awards, but the organisation and structure of the judging process felt very similar, despite shifting to a different way of doing things. “Hats off” to the FAB team, as I’m sure this was not easy. 

Q. Without giving away the results – are there any stand out trends in the F&B Sector?  Ie: The Hard Seltzer market is getting crowded now and is that noticeable in the awards submissions.

The food and drinks sectors are ever-changing and there are always new product developments and trends that are reflected in the entries for any given year. Sustainability, Vegan, Plant Based, Low / No Alcohol, Changing Health attitudes etc are all themes that have been emerging and continue to develop in the last few years. There was a handful of hard seltzer branding and packaging projects that we looked at and as a relatively new RTD category (especially in the UK) it is interesting to see the different design directions that are shaping this sector. 

Q. What about Packaging for VEGAN and Plant-Based products?  They are the norm in the aisles now. Any trends here?

 We’ve seen the Vegan and Plant Based worlds growing significantly to become larger sectors in their own right following the shifting desires and demands of today’s consumer. Many brands are hanging their communications hat on pushing these traits but as these sectors grow and become the norm, brands will need to focus more on how to differentiate themselves in these rapidly growing areas.

Q. Anything you could share on the overall standard of The FAB Awards entries this year? Has various lockdowns hampered the Design Jobs?

There did appear to be slightly fewer entrants than in previous years, but overall the quality felt consistent with previous years. It should be commended that despite the tough year many of us have had, great work is still being done.

Q Are Awards important?

A big question! If i’m really honest I sometimes feel that awards can be a distraction, where creatives are more focused on winning the next award, rather than solving a clients’ problem. Some award schemes can also be very expensive to enter. But great schemes like the FAB Awards enable us to come together to celebrate, share and recognise standout work. They are an invaluable PR and new-business tool and can inspire and motivate designers to do better work. The kudos of working for an “award winning agency” can also help with recruiting new talent. 

Q. What constitutes great Design Jobs for Mark Girvan?

 Great design solves a clients’ problem with a memorable idea. This can be thought-provoking, or just emotionally arresting; either way if it is good it stays with you.

Mark Girvan

Q. How did you start in The Design Business Mark?

I enjoyed art and creativity from a young age, but it was during my Foundation in Art at Falmouth College I realised that I wanted to create things with a purpose. Jack Gardener from Somerset College of Arts gave a talk at Falmouth about their design course. His talk struck a massive chord with me; design wasn’t just about creating something beautiful; it was about communicating a key message through strong ideas. The course was also very vocationally proactive, encouraging us to obtain work placements and experience in the real world of design. This grounding lead on to a 10-year career working for some top design agencies in London, before setting up Buddy with a great friend and fellow Somerset designer David Jones 12 years ago. 

Mark Girvan is Co-Founder and Creative Partner at Buddy Creative. Mark chaired the Design Jury at The FAB Awards and spoke exclusively with FAB News who are sponsors of The Design Categories at The 23rd FAB Awards.

The Design Jury for 2021 includes Jane Louise Catchpole from AfterHours, Emily Fox from Lewis Moberly, Ian Ritch from BrandOpus, Chris Murdoch from Butterfly Cannon and Jennie Potts from B&B Studio.

Judging for various other categories of The 23rd FAB Awards are still in session. Finalist Lists will be released by the end of May and The Awards Presentation returns on YouTube in late June with a hope for a “Physical Awards Presentation” for The 24th Edition in 2022.

The FAB Awards

The FAB Awards are still the only Global Awards program focussed entirely on work done for Food and Beverage Brands. The Award Scheme attracts entries from 60 Countries across Design, Packaging, Branding, Advertising, Innovation, Retail Interiors, Digital, Mobile and Sustainable. The redesigned FAB Awards trophy is made exclusively from recycled packaging material.

FAB News’ Sponsored Design Agency of The Year for 2020 were Pearlfisher and YouTube Sponsored Brand / Marketer of The Year were Burger King. Finalists for 2021 will be released by the end of May….

Source: FAB News

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