We've proven that even a small Southland design and marketing studio has what it takes to play with the big boys.
On 7 August 2019, we got some huge news; we were chosen as finalists for the Best Design Awards from the Designers Institute of New Zealand! To say that we're extremely excited is an understatement; as the only Southland company who are finalists in the national award, we've shown that Southlanders have what it takes to compete with huge companies from Auckland and Wellington. We entered our designs from Mīharo that we created earlier this year into the Ngā Aho category, an award that reflects New Zealand’s indigenous culture, heritage, and sense of place with an emphasis on cross-culture collaboration between designers and the clients.
We're up against 21 other design companies in the category, and while it's an honour just to be nominated, we're hoping to be a winner!
Are the best awards a big deal then?
Yes; people know them. Since the mid-70's, the Designers Institute of New Zealand has been showcasing great designs from around the country. For the last 20 years, the Best Design Awards changed to an annual awards programme and receives hundreds if not thousands of entries each year across 9 disciplines and 50 categories. Big names like Designworks, Te Papa, Weta Workshop, and top students from universities across the country enter the awards, and now Back9 is in the fray. The best of the best move on in their respective categories and fly up to Auckland for the awards dinner. Good thing direct flights will be available from Invercargill by then!
What's the finalist project?
Our project that earned the finalist spot is a collaborative effort between Mīharo and our entire team here at Back9. We started off by rebranding. Originally, Mīharo was called the Murihiku Māori and Pasifika Cultural Trust, which was a mouthful for every phone call. After thoroughly exhausting all ideas, we agreed on Mīharo; a word meaning “to wonder at, and to admire”. This name immediately inspired positivity for the team and acknowledges the wonder and awe they feel towards the young people in their community.
After some back and forth, we decided on replicating indigenous carvings, landscapes, and materials within a modern design. When the Mīharo team expressed interest in the hand-drawn concepts we presented to them, we knew that would be the direction to head towards. Our developed concepts sparked many interpretations from the women and the board and there were many different meanings extracted from the graphic, from a waka moving forwards to the Murihiku landscape While the interpretations varied, they agreed that the logo embraced the sense of place and culture that Mīharo represents. With everyone satisfied, the logo was refined, finalised, and ready to be shared with the public. Check it out on the black background!
But the logo was only one part of the rebranding of Miharo. Take a look at our awards entry for more information about our finalist project.
Going for the Gold Purple
Normally, gold is the best. It's what sports teams and Olympians have been aiming for since... Forever. But design is a bit difference. Designers understand the history and importance of gold, but also know that for thousands of years, purple has been the colour of prestige and royalty due to its rarity and uniqueness. In Colour Theory, purple conveys feelings of creativity, dignity, and wisdom, traits designers strive to exhibit.
In each category in the Best Awards, designs are awarded pins (instead of trophies) of different levels. Bronze, silver, and gold pins are given to multiple finalists in each category depending on a number of factors that the judges look at. But only one entrant per category is awarded the coveted Purple Pin.
We're aiming beyond gold and Pulling for the Purple!