A Jury of Peers

A few weeks ago I spent a Friday evening having dinner at New World Bistro in preparation for the next day’s review of the American Advertising Federation’s Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter ADDY entries. Aray Montalvan from the Albany Ad Club, Eric Lansberry and Christine Medley from NEPA, and Sue Conroy from The College of St. Rose all welcomed the judges warmly.
The judges I joined were Doug Bartow, Principal & Design Director of id29; Alana Sparrow, Principal at The Foundry; and Michael Rivette. It was a fun, if frigid night with temps beginning their below zero free fall. The group offered to kick the next day’s activities off later than the scheduled 9am in deference to my nearly hour drive from Glens Falls. Preferring not to reinforce any suggestions that Glens Falls is an unmanageable trek, I cheerfully said that 9am would be fine, which it was. Pumping gas the next morning* in -15° temps was not so fine.
They did a great job preparing the work for us to review, kindly, but firmly informing us as they handed us our judging notebooks, that this was not a process that should involve a lot of talking. We were, with the exception of student work, to draw our own conclusions about the caliber of the work and which entries should be rated highest.
We moved about the room reviewing the work. It was fascinating, having only ever been on the submitting side of the judging equation, to pore over the work. I imagined the critiques the design teams had, the back and forth over colors and type. I wondered if there were an invisible wake of ideas that didn’t make the cut, and funny anecdotes about how that tagline came to be.
A spirited conversation about hamburgers and responsiveness took us down some twists and turns, eventually coming back to the task at hand; reviewing websites, videos, and commercials that were submitted.
I’d had my moments of worrying that it was too much of my personal time to give away. I hadn’t anticipated the conversation and commiserating. I genuinely enjoyed myself and was reminded of the amazing design and marketing community we have in our corner of New York. I know the judging of our own chapter’s ADDY entries just happened over the weekend. Our agency is happy to be a part of the Albany Ad Club and I’m pleased to have been trusted to review the pieces and contribute to the celebrating of another AAF chapter’s body of work.
Tonight Derek will head down to the 2015 Upstate NY AIGA Student Portfolio Building Workshop to present a talk on Staying Inspired. These pockets of time outside of work are important, preserving the passion in our profession. Alliteration FTW.
*Pro-tip, always gas up on the way home, you’ll be grateful the next day!