Inside Story: Great creative ideas of the year

Entrants in the Creative Review's awards for young talent came from collectives, production companies, ad agencies and private studios around the world. More than just the recognition of their peers, such awards can be a fast track to stardom
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Advertising: Ali Alvarez. Born in Mexico, raised in LA, Ali now works at Fallon, London, where she has created award-winning campaigns for the likes of United Airlines. She co-wrote the BBC's Glastonbury trailers this year, featuring locals talking about the effect of the festival on their lives.

Graphic Design: Zak Kyes recently graduated from CalArts in LA. He has now set up his own studio in London . "By far the most interesting graphic designer I've seen for a while. Very original thinking, brilliantly executed," said judge Nat Hunter.

Special Effects/Post-Production: Framestore CFC visual effects supervisor Ben Cronin started in the industry as a runner. He now oversees jobs such as Audi Illusions, Renault Espace Hector's Life and the Chemical Brothers "Believe" promo.

Type/Typography: Penguin's David Pearson made hisname as the designer of covers for the publisher's Great Ideas series. "Pearson is as accomplished as a great novelist," says Jon Forss of Non-Format.

Photography: Esther Teichmann lives in London, where she co-founded the photographers' collective, PhotoDebut.

Illustration: Fernanda Cohen splits her time between New York and her home town of Buenos Aires. Her witty, lively, hand-rendered illustrations have won her many awards. "We looked at the work of a lot of illustrators but Cohen's were the only images I knew would be dancing around in my head long afterwards," said Jon Forss.

Animation: Parisian Oury Atlan won a Soho Shorts award with Over Time, which imagines the Muppet creations of Jim Henson vainly trying to bring their creator back to life. He is signed to Partizan, where he directs with Thomas Bernos.

Commercials Direction: Jared Hess made his breakthrough last year with Napoleon Dynamite, but is establishing himself as a director with an eye for offbeat comedy, as spots for McDonald's, Nike and ESPN demonstrate. Hess is based in Salt Lake City and signed to Moxie Pictures.

Interactive/Digital Media: Stuart Wood's Pixel Roller, a kind of hand-held printer that works like a paint roller, was a big hit at his RCA degree show this year. Wood has since set up rAndom international with his co-creator on the project, Flo Ortkrass, and Hannes Koch.

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The PixelRoller is described by Wood as a "rapid-response tool designed to print digital information with real ink on to a range of surfaces". Here it is in use at Wood's degree show and an image made using it at Tate Modern.

The LightRoller: "As with the PixelRoller, we can take any digital image from a digital camera, or from a camera phone, or any text, and print it out instantly and spontaneously on to a phosphorescent surface. After printing, sit back and watch as it fades away." You can even draw on top of the image with, yes, a Lightpen. Both were created in collaboration with Florian Ortkrass.


At Penguin Books since 2002, last year Pearson designed 13 of the Great Ideas series, art directed by Jim Stoddart and exclusively revealed in CR September 04. Shown here are Pearson's designs for three of the series, plus his back cover, which is the same for all the books. A new series of 20 more Great Ideas has just been published (see this month's CR), with Pearson designing the majority of them.


Kyes and fellow student Tahli Fisher were asked to design the programme, invitation and poster for the Institute of Words and Pictures' 2005 graduation show. The pair's idea was that, in 1987, a book about CalArts' history had been designed but never printed. Supposedly, the artists had had the book reprinted, inserting contemporary images into the gutter. In fact, the whole thing was faked.

Envelope for Shipping and Receiving, the CalArts MFA Thesis Show. The envelopes were sent out empty: all the relevant information is printed inside. To see more of Kyes' work visit


"I don't call myself an illustrator but a visual artist," Cohen claims. In fact, two of the three projects she submitted for Creative Futures are self-initiated: Funny Petit and The Food Affair. The former series each show a scantily clad women laughing heartily at a tiny man in a raincoat who is exposing himself to them. "I'm not making a feminist statement," says the artist. "The images are about the irony of having large women laughing at a small man who's trying hard to impress them," she says. "Really, it was a way for me to work with facial expressions and practice capturing laughter."


Esther Teichmann's passion for photography is decidedly philosophical. "It fascinates me that a medium can seem to be so close to reality yet be so unrelated to the real." Teichmann's approach to her work often takes a very intuitive turn. "I write a lot in a kind of short story or abstract narrative form and this is often the beginnings of a body of work. The two are completely connected. I often know what I want an image to feel like before I know what it will look like. I know what emotion and reaction I want to evoke, in a sense what narrative I want to tell, and then I work on how to visually create this feeling." Her project Viscosity similarly evokes strong emotions and takes inspiration from Teichmann's memories of swimming in a lake in Germany that was surrounded by a forest. "I draw from my own experiences and those I watch and see around me," adds Teichmann. "The poeple who have touched me are what I make work with and about." As a co-founder of the Photodebut collective, photography will never just be a job: "That feeling of exultation when absorbed by an amazing piece of work is, in a sense, what I guess all artists hope to achieve some day."


Jared Hess' ads include weird and wonderful spots for McDonald's, Nike and ESPN. Nike's Winner Take Steve features two weakling boys called Steve. Their gym master refuses to have two Steves in the class and forces them to fight to win rights to the name. Agency: Wexley School for Girls. Art director: Jeff Church. The same agency and art director came up with ESPN Anthem, in which bizarre characters are gathered, pied-piper-style, to play fantasy-football league. Production company for all: Moxie Pictures, LA


Ben Cronin was behind this special-effects extravaganza for the Audi A6, which features the car travelling through a mutating landscape of optical illusions. Cronin also supervised the post-production on Hector's Life, for Renault Espace, a spot which sends flimsy comic strip character Hector on a super-realistic trip to the country. Agency: Publicis Conseil. Creatives: Bénédicte Potel and Thierry Lebec.

Directors Dom 'n' Nic shot this disturbing promo for Chemical Brother's track "Believe". Cronin oversaw all 3D work and compositing. Production company: Factory Films


This ad creative's competitive streak was evident from an early age. It's partly why London won out over LA: "Some of the best work was coming out of here," she explains. Alvarez found her feet at Fallon, where she still works. "It's very hands-on, I've learned so much about the client process, pitching... The one thread that ties it all together is the constant push of the big creative idea." Being female in a mostly male industry is "a big-time bonus. If everyone's looking for a different point of view in this business, then being in the minority can only make your opinion that much more valuable."


Scenes from Over Time, the short film made by Atlan and fellow directors, Thibaut Berland and Damien Ferrié, during their time at Supinfocom School of Graphic Design and 3D, Paris. Over Time is a tribute to Muppets creator Jim Henson. The heart-rending tale features the puppets discovering their creator dead in his bed, and their subsequent efforts to incorporate Henson's body in their daily routine, as they slowly come to terms with his death. The film can be seen by subscribers on CRDVD11, to be distributed with next month's issue. Atlan has now teamed up with Thomas Bernos (another graduate from Supinfocom): the duo are signed to production company Partizan.