2018 Pentawards Conference in New York

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Winning Mentality Conference New York

Making its debut in the Big Apple, the New York edition of the Pentawards Conference, in collaboration with ADF&PCD, took place alongside the Official Gala Ceremony between the 5th & 6th September in Chelsea, New York. With a selection of the world’s most creative, disruptive and ambitious designers in town and a conference theme surrounding Winning Mentality, this was set to be a must-attend event. Over two days, the conference attracted more than 250 visitors and there was not an empty seat in the house. This made for an intimate but high energy setting, where each session served to challenge, provoke and inspire those in attendance. For a taste of what took place, take a look at the conference highlights below.

With an eager audience, Laurent Hainaut, Founder and CEO of forceMAJEURE, opened the conference presenting an insightful exploration of his perspective when it comes to winning by design. The session covered how his creative agency, one that has received ten Pentawards in the last ten years, has redefined their metrics for success, whilst also underpinning the best practices for a modern design ecosystem.

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Second up was a hotly anticipated presentation that did not disappoint. Mark van Iterson, Global Design Director of Heineken took to the stage, with a broad examination on global packaging trends. In a packed theatre, Mark delivered a strong presentation, taking the audience on a journey through the developments in identity that Heineken has undergone since its inception. The session also covered Heineken’s current and future approach to design, identifying notable areas of focus including authentic quality, sustainability, e-commerce and smart packaging.

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In the afternoon of day one, Founding Partner & CEO of Pearlfisher Jonathan Ford drew a large crowd for his session entitled Shrink Wrapped Minds. Unpacking Heavyweight Brands. With an obvious emphasis on sustainability, Jonathan inspired the audience with his impassioned offering. Those in attendance discovered the insight behind the Pearlfisher identity and were then introduced to a new design paradigm, coined by Pearlfisher as Lightweighting. This is an actionable and ownable way for brands and designers to actively become more sustainable. The recent Pearlfisher Garden display, which took gold at the 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, was presented to the audience as tangible proof of Pearlfisher’s commitment to Lightweighting. The provocative display showcased the dichotomy between the beauty and destruction present in our oceans.

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The end of day one saw UPM Raflatac’s Lee Walker-Quinn and Stefano Pistoni host a panel discussion. The pair presented a compelling trio of topics based around the future of packaging design for the panel, made up of Laurent Hainaut, Mark van Iterson and Jonathan Ford, to feast over. Discussions covered sustainability, technology and the emergence of new materials that could change the landscape of packaging for designers, brands and suppliers alike. UPM Raflatac is labelling a smarter future by developing innovative and sustainable labelling solutions complemented by world-class service.

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Day two began with a fascinating presentation on the development of luxury brands, by Christophe Pradère of BETC Design. Using a framework with a virtuous model, Christophe demonstrated how the luxury market has experienced a seismic shift in growth due to several external influences. The audience was also introduced to the secrets behind building a successful luxury brand in today’s world.

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Matthieu Aquino of PepsiCo Design & Innovation took to the stage for the second session of day two. This time the focus shifted to cross-industry innovation and with-it, building brands beyond packaging. Those in attendance were given a detailed insight into how the world of design works through the PepsiCo lens. Matthieu used examples of existing brands and new brands to show how the beverages division at PepsiCo have maintained strong market positions in competitive markets through smart innovation and strong collaborations.

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The New York edition of the Pentawards Conference was rounded off with a sharp presentation, delivered by Graham Sturt of VBAT. With fascinating insight into several brands, in contrasting markets that VBAT has worked with, the audience was shown how the heritage of an existing brand can be a game changer when it comes to the creative direction and specifically the design of packaging in the contemporary world that we currently live in. The message was to be proud of your past but radical and prepared for change when you approach the future.

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