Best Awards 2005
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Graphic Judges

Aaron McKirdy Aaron McKirdy

Aaron’s tempestuous relationship with graphic design began early but only really took off after he lost his virginity to a dirty little agency called Eyework. Their love affair escalated through a shared passion for arts-based clients that produced award-winning projects like City Gallery’s Parihaka.

It was only a matter of time before his identity work for the likes of New Jazz Transplant and Fat drew Designworks to him like a bitch on heat. They moved in together, gave birth to a bonny brand called Luv’ya, and spawned a brand new look for Formway. It was his roving type though, that allowed him access to the inner sanctum at Hodder Children’s Books in the UK.

Aaron’s apparent serial monogamy has held him in good stead for the past 10 years. Meanwhile his alter ego has continued to spread its seed far and wide, fathering handsome offspring such as the Remember Me publication and exhibition graphics for Alzheimer’s NZ, the branding for Good Luck bar, and album cover artwork for Fur Patrol’s Collider. Currently Aaron is married to Commarts Wellington as their Design Director where the fruit of his loins continue to flourish.

Alan Sanders Alan Sanders

Alan is a principal in the Auckland-based design consultancy he founded over 20 years ago. With his close-knit team of designers he has, literally, helped build and maintain some of New Zealand’s most successful and enduring brands.

Sanders Design is a boutique consultancy in size and approach and Alan believes their very ‘hands-on’ style and day-to-day involvement with clients is a vital part of the Sanders ‘staying power’.

He is passionate about the contribution that relevant, creative graphic design brings to successful business communication. He believes that really successful business communication (and graphic design) always starts with enthusiasm, honesty and strategy. He says, ‘there is design that just answers briefs and then there is design that you can actually feel moving to the very heart of the problem.’

Brian Eagle Brian Eagle

Brian Eagle is Creative Director and Partner of Unreal London, where he specialises in developing Brand Personalities.

Unreals work ranges from rebranding global Publishers (Time Warner Book Group) to repositioning local Breweries (Everards, Leicestershire).

Brian completed a Bachelor of Design in 1998 at Victoria University and was awarded the ‘BeST’ student that year.

He worked for Massey University, Cato Partners and DNA Design during his 3 years in the NZ design industry.

His international recognition includes D&AD, Art Directors Club Europe, Creative Review, Marketing and DesignWeek.

He will be bringing his experience from judging this years D&AD awards to ‘BeST’ in 2005

Dan Mercer Dan Mercer

First thing's first – I love wrestling. But when my knee popped back in '91 and the cheques stopped coming I realised I couldn't live on broken dreams. What was I going to do? I had a knack for drawing so I received a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design from the University of Northumbria. There was also an on-campus ligament specialist who said I my crucia wasn't that badly damaged. I underwent mild surgery and tucked away a Typographic Circle Award, some Vogue Fashion Photography prizes and a D&AD thingy. Lars Von Sneckle, my personal recovery technician, helped me through three hard years (I must thank those who sponsored me over this period: British Telecom, Coke, Cello, Hong Kong Telecom, Virgin and HP).

Breaking back into the scene was a lot harder than I had anticipated. An old friend suggested I try Tag Teaming and I partnered in the UK for 18 months at Myriad Creative. Individual competition then drew me to the Southern Hemisphere.

Designworks provided me with a good platform for a couple of BeST Awards and an American Annual Report Award. My potential wasn't fully realised until I joined Seven where I honed the various aspects of my profession: grappling to locks, aerial work to clothes-line variants. It also provided me with the opportunity to share the skills I learned while in and out of the ring.

Jules McWhirter Jules McWhirter

Jules is UK born and design bred and has over a decade of design experience working in top agencies here and overseas. She currently works at Dow Design where she has held the position of Creative Director. Her role is multi-dimensional: planning, design thinking, writing, creative and she believes brand design should excite and make sense. Her accolades include: scooping best of show at the Scottish design awards + a few shiny silvers: a Clio, One Show Award + Art Directors Club, New York.

Karen Mason Karen Mason

Karen Mason currently heads the CPIT School of Art & Design in Christchurch. Having been based in Wellington and Auckland for many years, she’s recently returned to the polytechnic where she once worked as a part-time tutor after graduating from the Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury.

Karen has a unique blend of experience in web communications, art and design education and account direction gained through managing the production of websites, interactive exhibits and multimedia applications.

Her former positions include; exhibition concept developer at Te Papa Tongarewa. Here she led teams of exhibition interpreters, designers and technical developers to construct four thematic Discovery Centres and Tai Awatea | Knowledge Net, Te Papa’s online, multimedia database.

In 2000 Karen joined Shift, one of New Zealand’s leading web communications companies where she played a key role in defining Shift’s development methodologies. Her client accounts included; Tourism New Zealand, Carter Holt Harvey, Sky City Entertainment Group, Tourism Holdings and the New Zealand Film Archive.

Kate Alexander Kate Alexander

Kate has been actively involved in the New Zealand design industry from a young age, graduating from AUT in 1996. She has won several BeST Design Awards and was the youngest elected professional member of the DINZ council. More recently she has been a judge of the Design Ambassador Awards.

She spent her grounding years with two established Auckland design studios, then in 1999 founded a new business with her father Grant Alexander. Studio Alexander, now about to turn five, is a design company with a unique combination of youth and experience.

As a director of Studio Alexander, Kate relishes being involved in all levels of the business process, from research and strategy through creative and execution across various mediums – print, online and environmental. She enjoys seeing clients businesses benefit from a rigorous design process.

She also enjoys working with, learning from and teaching the other talented members of the Studio Alexander team.