The 2021 100 Archive Selection is live!

9th June 2022
by 100 Archive Team,
edited by Kate Stuart

Cover image: The 2021 100 Archive Selection is live!

“This year’s 100 Archive is Irish design at its absolute best.” Mel O’ Rourke.

The 2021 Archive is the twelfth selection we have made, and this collection of work reflects a changing society that has adapted and thrived over the last year. The 2021 Archive Selection saw work that spanned the many forms of communication design, from websites and interactive applications to posters and printed matter; from navigation and wayfinding to typefaces and more. Submissions came from the civic, commercial, corporate, and cultural sectors as well as many entries into the educational and charitable sectors and some self-initiated projects. We encourage you to spend some time exploring the work here

We saw a great amount of work from long-time supporters of the 100 Archive and a heartening number of submissions from new members working in Ireland as well as Irish working abroad in both studios and freelance. This is a testament to the growing number of designers submitting their work to the 100 Archive and proof of the evolving industry in Ireland.

Branding and rebranding feature heavily in this year's Archive selection as we adapted to life online. Through the chaos of the last year, a need to find a greater purpose had been sparked, with a lot of people taking it as an opportunity to start a business or develop their online presence. More and more, we are seeing an emphasis on diversity across art and culture in Ireland, and this year’s Archive Selection was no exception.

The 2021 Archive Selection is a vibrant celebration of Ireland's communication design. Studios and designers met the challenges presented to them in the changing world with tenacity, creativity and innovation and that shines through in the diversity of the projects selected. You can explore the 2021 Archive Selection here

Read on to hear what our panellists had to say

Mel O’Rourke, Founder and Creative Director of CI Studio

Every year the archive brings a new collection of work which is influenced to some extent by what is happening in the world around us and this year is no exception. With an influx of digital and moving image alongside more traditional branding, type design and design for print, the pandemic has definitely helped shape what we’re looking at and how we’re being communicated to.

It’s uplifting to see how resourceful we’ve become in the face of adversity. Our personality and culture as a nation shine through this year’s work and we can proudly stand tall with the best of them. Storytellers at heart, the outstanding projects are the ones where simple ideas are executed perfectly and strong emotions are evoked. This year’s 100 Archive is Irish design at its absolute best.

Killian Walsh, Owner and Creative Director of Grandson

Very strong and strikingly bold selection this year. Colour and pattern heavily featured. Brand identities prominent and some lovely work across Irish craft industries rebranding. Lovely use of photography collaborations on projects. Some really impressive civic work for public places and locations. Lovely work being done outside of Ireland by Irish designers.

Danielle Townsend, Director of Programmes at DDI

2021’s selection demonstrates breadth in approach, exploration and execution which combine to highlight a confidence and vitality across the Irish design sector. Diverse and complex subject matter is evident and brought to life by designers demonstrating skilful command of their craft - a craft that engages with impactful colour and bold type to produce playful outcomes.

It is heartening to see a broad undertaking of projects that speak to themes of equality, diversity and inclusion and sound environmentally conscious projects whose execution don't rely on predictable outcomes but rather breathe fresh life into visual narratives. This diversity shows how Ireland has come to expect compelling and playful design-led solutions through many aspects of culture and society, which is especially timely as the world emerges from a type of social austerity.

Jason Wilson-Max, Meta

The variety of commissions and self-initiated briefs powerfully responded to and were enriched by the complex social, institutional and commercial issues in consequence of the pandemic. This year's submissions showcase the positive utility of thoughtful design toward layered communication ambitions. Bold and precisely resolved combinations of layout, typography and colour in support of key messages was the/my visual theme of the year.

Michael McDermott, Editor Totally Dublin

It remains reassuring that creativity and ingenuity within the design community continue to flourish during pandemic-stricken times. Great design elevates so much of life whether knowingly, or unwittingly in many instances. What is particularly pleasing are smart extensions of design beyond prescriptive formats and referential nods to exemplar work which both inspire and form the foundation of extended, reconceived and contemporarised ideas.

 Amid so many laudable projects, one actually resonated over others - the rebrand of Curracloe National School. Design in the context of arts organisations, festivals, alcohol brands, cafes and lifestyle brands is something I came to expect when assessing the selection. I didn't expect a rebrand of a national school and the very idea in itself was thrilling. The vision of the school to consider design in the first instance, the incorporation of mosaics which were made by a visiting artist into the brand, the relatable enjoyment of seeing a basketball and a music note. This project and its execution felt special for so many reasons beyond the call of duty and will hopefully lead to an increasingly varied range of projects for future consideration.

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