Indigo Design Award 2020 winners all push the creative envelope

Foreign/Familiar by Noni Devora won the Indigo Award 2020 for Discovery of the Year

The Indigo Design Award promotes creativity from around the world, highlighting projects that are unique in graphic design, digital, mobile and game design.

With an international judging panel of 48 leading creatives – including Pip Jamieson, Founder of The Dots, logo and identity specialist Jeroen van Eerden, and entrepreneur and software engineer Tracy Chou – the contest honours those who aren't afraid to push the envelope or make their voices heard. Submissions are evaluated for quality, originality, function, and relevance to each topic.

Indigo has just announced the winners of its third Indigo Design Award 2020, from contenders drawn from over 50 countries. Recipients of this prestigious award will now have their works showcased on a global platform to help them boost recognition and attract new clientele.

Winners this year were grouped under five categories: graphic design, digital design: UX and UI, mobile design, games design and design for social change. Each was further divided into a number of sub-categories; for instance, the graphic design category included awards for logos, newspaper and magazine design, illustration, character design, digital art, typography, and more. There were winners at Gold, Silver and Bronze levels, as well as others that received an Honorable Mention.

Here we look at six of our favourite winners of the year, while you can find full details of all the Indigo Design Award 2020 winners here.

Graphic Design winner: Das hündische Herz (Heart of a Dog)

German publisher Büchergilde Gutenberg turned to Berlin design director Christian Gralingen to commission the illustrations for Mikail Bulgakov's novel Das Hündische Herz (Heart of a Dog), and they chose well. The novel combines Faustian themes with Frankenstein, and parodies the idea of the 'new human being', satirising this belief in progress. Christian brilliantly evoked these themes in his beautiful and colourful illustrations, which are inspired by the imagery of scientific publications, construction plans, technical drawings and the Russian avant-garde between 1920-1930.

The illustrations for Das Hündische Herz (Heart of a Dog) by Christian Gralingen won the Indigo Award 2020 for Graphic Design

The illustrations for Das Hündische Herz (Heart of a Dog) by Christian Gralingen won the Indigo Award 2020 for Graphic Design

Digital Design winner: HAN Kjøbenhavn website

Founded in Copenhagen in 2008, Han Kjøbenhavn is a hip eyewear, menswear and womenswear brand with strong roots in Danish design culture. HelloGreatWorks, a strategic design company based in the same city, worked with them to design a website that felt as unconventional as the brand itself. While ecommerce websites are often bland and uninspiring, the designers reinvented the format in the style of an Excel spreadsheet, with loud neon stylings and scrolling text effects that recall the 1990s web. It's a unique approach to navigation that helps position HAN Kjøbenhavn as a fun and approachable brand, while the actual buying experience remains as user-friendly and professional as the audience expects.

The HAN Kjøbenhavn website by HelloGreatWorks won the Indigo Award 2020 for Digital Design

The HAN Kjøbenhavn website by HelloGreatWorks won the Indigo Award 2020 for Digital Design

Mobile Design winner: Headed South: Bringing Motion Sense to Life Through Play

London design studio ustwo teamed up with Google to create an app that introduces Pixel 4 users to some groundbreaking new tech. Google's Motion Sense allows you to control your mobile phone without touching the screen via simple hand gestures. People can be nervous of new tech, especially when it brings them away from deep-set habits, so ustwo's app goes the extra mile to make the transition natural. In the app, you play the role of a bird called Soli, learning tricks and new gestures as you fly with different flocks. ustwo harnessed a combination of visual, sound, and haptic feedback, and ensured the experience offered a sense of control without being overwhelming.

Headed South: Bringing Motion Sense to Life Through Play by ustwo won the Indigo Award 2020 for Mobile Design

Headed South: Bringing Motion Sense to Life Through Play by ustwo won the Indigo Award 2020 for Mobile Design

Game design winner: Medulla Game

Created by Lemondo Games, based in Tiblisi, Georgia, Medulla is a puzzle-platforming adventure which looks nothing like what you might expect a "normal" video game to look like… in a good way. Among dream-like scenery, your character travels around post-apocalyptic sceneries, dark blue woods, nebulous spaces, and melting landscapes, where various strange obstacles and seemingly illogical puzzles appear. The visual language of the game revolves around the painting styles of contemporary artists in a way that creates an amazing sense of magical realism.

Medulla Game by Lemonodo Games won the Indigo Award 2020 for Game Design

Medulla Game by Lemonodo Games won the Indigo Award 2020 for Game Design

Design for Social Change: Create.Refresh

Create.Refresh is an EU-based campaign to improve the public's understanding surrounding the implications to the proposed amendments to digital copyright laws. Campaigns like this never work if they're top-down only, so American consulting company Purpose created the network, identity, and platform, to allow a range of content creators across Europe to add their voices to the copyright debate. With support from major DJs, social media celebrities, actors, and even French President Emmanuel Macron's camp, Create.Refresh successfully translated the issue of copyright law into a passionate and effective fight for freedom of expression.

Create.Refresh by Purpose won the Indigo Award 2020 for Design for Social Change

Create.Refresh by Purpose won the Indigo Award 2020 for Design for Social Change

Discovery of the Year: Foreign/Familiar

With many incidents of Asians being targeted with hate crimes in the West during the pandemic, it's more important than ever to humanise those considered "foreign", and this artwork provides a refreshing blast of empathy. Crafted by Filipino graphic designer and art director Noni Devora, Foreign/Familiar is an exhibit with animated videos as the centrepiece, with posters, and a zine that expand on the videos. By letting foreigners tell their stories, it highlights the myriad of ways the United States and its inhabitants are foreign to them.

Foreign/Familiar by Noni Devora won the Indigo Award 2020 for Discovery of the Year

Foreign/Familiar by Noni Devora won the Indigo Award 2020 for Discovery of the Year

The ceremony

Usually, Indigo Award winners come from around the world to be honoured at a prestigious ceremony. Unfortunately, due to the worldwide pandemic, the Indigo Design Award Winners' ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand this year had to be cancelled.

However, the organisation hopes to return to hosting a global ceremony for the 2021 Indigo Award next year. Previous Indigo Award ceremonies were held in Tokyo (in 2018) and in Malaga, Spain (in 2019) at the iconic Museo Picasso, at an evening featuring winner announcements, a cocktail reception, and a grand celebration of design.

Enter the Indigo Design Award 2021

The Indigo Design Award is now accepting submissions for next year's competition, and there's a big change for 2021. Alongside the existing five categories, there'll be a new category of Branding, which previously only appeared as a subcategory. This will allow creatives to enter their branding projects in a total of 37 subcategories, including Automotive, Banking & Finances, Beverages, Education, Electronics, Home & Garden, Hotels & Resorts, Medicine, Sports, Travel, Technology and more.

The contest is open to agencies, freelancers and students. You can find a full list of categories, and details of how to enter, here.