Imagining the Impossible

A busy week including two Big Chip awards

02.07.13 | News

By Pete Thomas

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Wow – the last week has been pretty full on for me.

It’s involved finalising Uniform’s strategy for the next few years, working out how we publish our first book (coming very soon), delivering the first stage of an amazing packaging project for a new global client, getting my head around CE marking and mass manufacture, a great chat about a new opportunity with a dream client, working on our latest physical digital mash up in our new studio and making an appearance on the BBC World Service talking about Designs of the Year.

How do you end a week like that? Well, unexpectedly but brilliantly, by winning two Big Chip awards.

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It’s hard to put into words what this means to us and to me, but I’m going to try.

First and foremost Uniform has always believed in creativity, it’s who we are, it’s what we do, it’s the magic that makes this the best job in the world and the reason our clients want to work with us.

Our take on what this means and what we create has always been broad. At various times over the last 15 years we’ve been designing clubs, creating new concepts for restaurants, crafting brands, launching products, rethinking architectural visualisation, making magical films, designing beautiful and effective print and creating unforgettable brand experiences. It’s not all been successful, but a lot of it has. It’s this breadth and ambition to try new things, to do what excites us, to imagine the impossible and then make it happen, to do the best we can, love our jobs and love working together that makes us who we are.

Over the last few years we’ve focused on developing some new skills and expertise, such as a commitment to research and strategy, which stems from our recognition that at the heart of amazing work is brilliant insight. Alongside this we’ve been playing more, taking the time out to make sure we do stuff that maybe doesn’t always make immediate sense but just might take us somewhere interesting and wonderful. A big part of that approach is thinking about digital in new ways. Thinking about people, experience, communities and conversations but also thinking about what happens when we go beyond the screen and make digital physical.

It’s this thinking that led to the Postcard Player. Winning the Big Chip Imagination Award is a huge affirmation that our commitment to play and experiment is integral to our ability to grow as designers and as an agency. It’s why we’ve just built ourselves a new workshop as a dedicated space where we can tinker and build, make mistakes, have fun and ultimately make amazing stuff.

We also received the Anthony Wilson Original Modern award, which was an enormous honour, particularly among such a strong field of winners. The award, judged this year by the longstanding chair of the judging panel Michael Nutley is given in honour of the late, great Anthony Wilson – a man’s who’s imagination and fearless commitment to fun, friendship and adventure have been an inspiration to me throughout the last 15 years, never more so than in the development of the Postcard Player, a wild adventure, which started over a pint in the pub with good friends.

Here’s Michael’s comments about the award:

“The entry I’ve chosen to win this award taps into a growing conversation about the relationship between the physical and the digital. It asks important questions about what we might have lost in the transition from physical artefacts to intangible data, about how we might interact with data beyond the keyboard or touchscreen, and about the importance of metadata such as lyric sheets, cover artwork and lists of musicians to how we appreciate music.


I love the winner’s simplicity and elegance. As a long-time print journalist and a vinyl junkie I love the physicality of the thing itself.

But what I like most of all is that it’s a work-in-progress, and that what it’s really about is the continuing discussion of the interaction of humans and machines.” Thanks to Michael and everyone else at the Big Chip Awards and congratulations to all the other nominees and winners. This really means something to us.

We are a design and innovation company. We use design, innovation and imagination to create change.

Imagine the impossible.

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