Annual reports, once the most humdrum of all corporate publications, are suddenly a product with which to showcase corporate brands, thanks to the creativity of a new generation of designer teams such as the Strichpunkt agency from Stuttgart, who have just been named the first ever 'red dot: design agency of the year'. Being able to think laterally, tread new ground and set trends is the criteria for the new award -- and Strichpunkt, whose work is known for being as controversial as it is exciting, has scored big on all counts. Since first taking part in the red dot design awards in 2001, Strichpunkt has repeatedly scooped first prize in various categories and has grown to be the most successful agency in the competition. It was to acknowledge this achievement that red dot introduced the new 'design agency of the year' honour so it could make Strichpunkt the first recipient and inspire other agencies to get creative. "In order to be successful, you always have to want more than the others and be two steps ahead. Being the very first design agency to win the title of 'red dot: design agency of the year' is the nicest possible confirmation that we could have imagined - the award has confirmed to us that we are on exactly the right path," says Strichpunkt managing partner Jochen Raadeker. The first 'red dot: design agency of the year' award will be officially handed over at the annual award ceremony 'red dot award: communication design 2008' on December 3, 2008, against the spectacular backdrop of the gala hall in the Casino Zollverein at the World Heritage site Zollverein in Essen, Germany. Strichpunkt will take home the 'Stylus' prize -- a type of challenge cup given to the agency for a year as a symbol of its title of honour, before being passed on to another excellent design agency the following year. In a special exhibition entitled 'High Voltage Design', Strichpunkt will document and present an interactive view of its success story spanning twelve years. The exhibition will be on show in the red dot design museum in Essen from December 4, 2008 to January 4, 2009 alongside the exhibition of the other winners, 'Design on stage -- winners red dot award: communication design 2008'. "The increased significance of communication design in the field of business combined with the impressive results of the competition made it vital to introduce a prize of honour with an international dimension," explains Professor Peter Zec, the initiator of the red dot design award, head of the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen and senator of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid). "red dot is obliged to respond to the change in the market situation and render the major role of design in all areas of business transparent. The most important task of the competition is to make it possible to measure communication quality. With its groundbreaking work, Strichpunkt is an agency that has been setting international standards in modern communication for years now. As the first 'red dot: design agency of the year', Strichpunkt now has the obligation to give this award a face," he adds.
The report... Since setting up in 1996, Germany's Strichpunkt has successfully designed around 250 annual reports based on its maxims of excellent quality and constructive input. Clients include Air Berlin, BASF, Daimler, WMF and Papierfabrik Scheufelen, for which it published a 'report of annual reports' in 2001, thus heralding a new era of communication design.
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