The ICON awards from the Institute of Internal Communications recognise and celebrate the most talented professionals in the internal communications business.
And in 2018, the winning editor and designer are for the first time in the history of the awards both colleagues from the same organisation – creative communications agency beetroot.
We asked current Editor of the Year, James Wickham, and Designer of the Year, Anja Linke, how they approach their craft.
What advice do they have for aspiring creatives?
Anja Linke – ICON Designer of the Year
James Wickham – ICON Editor of the Year
Keep it simple
Einstein may have got it wrong on relativity, we’re now told. But his ideas about communication and comprehension – ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’ – have stood the test of time.
James and Anja, the newly-crowned Editor and Designer of the Year at the IOIC’s ICON awards, swear by them. They are both experts at translating complex, technical and turgid prose into clear, concise, attractive content.
Anja’s infographics replace a thousand words. They jump out of magazine spreads – in the video you get a brief glimpse of some of work she’s produced for Gatwick Airport, for example. And, as animations, they get shared on social media and websites and posted on digital signage.
“A strong relationship with my client is paramount,” she says. Design is a co-creation. Nothing can happen without first understanding the business goals and the target audiences.
James produces content for apps, social channels and intranets. The speed and reach and interactivity of digital channels is exciting, he says, but the disciplines learned in print journalism have never been more valuable.
“It’s easy to lose sight of the importance of quality online. One of the things I’m very keen on doing is talking to clients about how they can maintain the quality of content on their digital platforms, so they get the speed but also the result they’re looking for in terms of engagement.”
Like Anja, he believes content creation is a collaborative process. “One of the great things about working at beetroot is that I get to work with some very creative, talented people. I’m always learning from them which helps me deliver for my clients,” he says, “and clients appreciate that they’re getting all this extra behind the scenes support and fresh ideas.”