This week we released a new trophy for the BETTER FUTURE Awards. It's been a work in progress for four years, three years trying to resolve materials, then a year of design, prototypes and manufacturing the final product.
Every great design project is about solving a problem. For some, that problem is about the aesthetics of an object. For us, the problem was environmental - the original trophy was made from acrylic, a completely non-recyclable material.
In 2010, when the original trophy was made, conversations around invested energy, return to earth paths, and circularity was not very common. By 2018, it was evident that our material of choice was not the best option, and it was time to explore alternatives.
I’d seen other awards programs and product manufacturers moving to upcycled material. After 3 years of material research and evaluating the process, it was clear that this was not the most appropriate option if we wanted to make the best decision for the planet.
The sustainable trophy problem also led to an entire rebrand. It led us to reimagine the trophy artwork, brand image, and symbols representing BETTER FUTURE and the world’s largest network of design awards. What we learned from companies including PepsiCo, NIKE and Adidas, is that these types of responses are common. To get to a circular and sustainable position a change in thinking is needed at a systemic level.
The new trophy is part of a family. The parent trophy had its own style, the next generation has a personality that leverages the family signature but is kinder to the planet.
We needed to leap into a BETTER FUTURE, not take a step. The WILD leap was to get away from plastic. To get away from high embedded energy and source FSC materials, biodegradable inks and glues, and deliver a trophy family that will serve us for the next chapter.
This process required collaboration between our brand image team, Fiona Brand (Brand by Name), the original industrial designer Paul Charlwood (Charlwood Design), and the BETTER FUTURE team. Together we sourced new manufacturing options as we took a comfortable and well-performing past process and projected it into the BETTER FUTURE.
The feedback from the SYDNEY DESIGN AWARDS recipients has been amazing – and this is just the beginning.