Announcing the Winners of the 2018 Adobe Government Creativity Awards

Announcing the Winners of the 2018 Adobe Government Creativity Awards
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Submissions more than doubled this year, breaking a record for the Adobe Government Creativity Awards (AGCA). AGCA aims to recognize the top creative work in government and the public sector and to celebrate the impact it makes on the world. Adobe has organized these awards (formerly known as Creativity in Public Sector Awards) since 2015.

“[AGCA] spotlights some impressive work in the public sector that might otherwise fly below the radar,” said Shawn Cetrone of Winthrop University, who won the Visual Communications Motion & Video category. “The competition has sparked new relationships in my industry and others, which is priceless.”

The wide variety of organizations and submissions made the task of judging very difficult. Creative work was submitted across eight countries — United States, Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Australia, India, and Japan — and nine submission categories. In total, we received nearly 500 innovative and inspiring entries.

A total of 52 projects were recognized, including:

  •       9 category winners.
  •       32 finalists and honorary mentions.
  •       11 special designations.

See the full list of 2018 winners.

“Winning the award has definitely boosted my confidence around pursuing nontraditional design solutions to promote our agency’s mission,” said Kelly Irvine of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Kelly’s art exhibition, which has been featured in two locations so far, was the category winner for Museums and Park Exhibits. The theme was “Big Images of Small Things from NIST Labs.” It featured 20 microscopic images enlarged many times over and printed on acrylic sheets.

Kelly was inspired to create this exhibition after 18 years of working as a graphic designer at the NIST Public Affairs office. She was struck by the beauty of the images and wanted to challenge the idea that science and art are mutually exclusive.

“The breadth of creative work happening in governments around the world is incredible,” said Sandy Mervak, government marketing manager at Adobe. “There’s just so much.”

Sandy said the outstanding entries had three things in common:

  •  A good story: it included a background, project goals, either visuals or a timeline walking through the creative process, and outcome metrics that matter to that agency.
  •  A standout brand: it had something unique — either excellent use of Adobe tools to push the boundaries of design, or an innovative brand design process that really listened to its users and made a larger impact.
  •  A user-centric design: it started with anticipating the user’s thoughts and needs as they interacted with the design or campaign. Designs often shifted during project iterations, and, in some cases, design teams conducted extensive user interviews before launching their projects.

One example of citizen-centric design came from the New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity). There, the Service Design Studio was tasked with improving the lives of low-income residents in the City of New York through design.

“[NYC Opportunity] created a toolkit that helped public servants adopt user-centric design principles, and then sent out that toolkit to different agencies in the city, so that those agencies could use it to talk with their stakeholders when they were examining their own programs,” Sandy said.

The Civic Service Design Studio + Toolkit was this year’s category winner for Citizen-Facing Campaign.

Ultimately, it’s all about showcasing critical information for the public in a clear, meaningful, memorable, and creative way. For creatives, often the hope is to do purposeful work that moves people.

The Marketing and Media Services team at the City and County of Denver, which oversees denvergov.org, did exactly that when they revamped their website in 2015.

“Today, there are 400-plus services that can be completed through the website, and it remains our number one marketing tool,” said Karen Pellegrin, Webmaster and UX Designer. “Denvergov.org’s service-based, mobile-friendly design drives clicks rather than calls to our 311 call center and makes it easier for residents to find the information they need quickly and effectively.”

The City of Denver website was this year’s category winner for Web Design.

Important work like this is done every day in governments around the world. From helping deliver traffic updates faster, to making public data more accessible, creative professionals are working to help make government communications and service delivery more engaging and efficient.

As we close AGCA this year, we’d like to celebrate all those creatives who continue pushing the envelope, and the judges who gave their time and expertise to help the contest run smoothly. And congratulations to all the winners.

Because this year’s submissions were so exceptional, we put together a video highlighting some of the video and motion-graphic content. Enjoy!

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