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Creative Award Wins

This week at Iceberg, it’s all about awards. Jacqui Tam and I are bound for New York tomorrow, so that she can receive her IPPY Silver Medal for the Tenth Anniversary Edition of A Daughter’s Gift. Expect me to gush rather extensively about that occasion in my note on Thursday… and expect my mother to be altogether too modest about it in her notes tomorrow and on Friday.

Right now, though, I want to discuss another award that Iceberg received this month –– one that recognizes not our books, but some of our publisher operations. The Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for professionals in the creative industries (for instance: web developers, communications departments, ad agencies, and production companies). It’s a very competitive field, and entrants come from all sectors. To get a sense of what I mean, just browse the Hermes site; platinum winners include the likes of Samsung, Lucasfilm, Pepsi, and Funny or Die.

And gold winners include the likes of our very own

hermes creative awards gold
Not to make light of this victory, but the statue does rather look like something Colonel Mustard might wield in the Study.

I’m very pleased to report that the site which supports the adventures of Alex, Stephanie and Strong has earned a rather heavy-looking gold statue. We’re obviously delighted at this recognition –– though because of the timing of its arrival, it’s understandably been eclipsed by both my misadventures in Halifax with HMCS Sackville and the Royal Canadian Navy, and much more importantly, by Jacqui’s IPPY win.

That being the case, I want to pause here to recognize the whole team of people involved in making the Champions site possible. It’s a big group, because the project was more than a year in the making.

When we first developed the concept for Champions, and particularly for its unique novella-driven release structure (which the National Post’s Barbara Kay calls “a latter-day take on the typical Victorian custom of monthly cliffhangers”), we knew we’d need a strong online presence –– a way to help readers navigate the episodic approach. That meant making the most of the photography we planned to secure for the book covers, and the video we’d shoot for the trailer.

A little over a year ago, we locked down those visuals: pulling together the photographic virtuosity of Olivia Witzke, the character-driven modeling skills of Kris Noelle Scalisi and Lizz Caston, and the reenacting prowess of the mighty Mark Kipper (plus the tireless support of his family –– especially his son Matt) we were able to establish a base of brilliant images. Thanks to my good friend Mikael Christensen, we also got the b-roll we needed for the series trailer:

With this content in hand, the Iceberg team went to work. Obviously, the first step was to develop a visual identity for the series –– what you see on the covers –– but once that was established, a way had to be found to translate it into a website.

Most important in the design process was giving emphasis to the photos themselves; Olivia Witzke shines as a creative editorial/fashion shooter, and her powerful and stylish images clearly needed to take the commanding position in any design. Several variants were developed by our team in-house, and one was then selected by the partners.

From there, the project was handed over to the web developers –– the same gentlemen who were responsible for the highly successful rebuild of Iceberg Publishing’s main site (the one you’re on right now). Operationalizing the visual expectations of a design team accustomed to working in print (and blissfully of ignorant of how complicated some simple-looking things can be) is no mean feat. Nevertheless, Costin Sandru and Mark Anderson took the Champions design in hand, polished it, and executed it with great skill.

With photography this fine, it was essential to build the website to take full advantage of available imagery.

We couldn’t be more thrilled. The Hermes gold is wonderful recognition of the quality of the site –– from its photography, to its design, to its construction. I want to be sure everyone involved is suitably recognized for the part they played in its final realization… and more importantly, for the good they’ve done for Champions as a whole. Generating the visuals you see for this series was no mean feat, and all the people named here deserve ample credit.

But the Hermes Awards didn’t quite stop there. While picked up a gold statue, the website for Standing Tall earned no recognition at all… because it doesn’t exist. Yet. However, the video trailer for the IPPY-winning A Daughter’s Gift (and its forthcoming follow-up, A Father’s Legacy) does exist, and the Hermes Awards recognized it with an Honorable Mention.

We’re certainly delighted at the nod –– the video was produced by our team in-house –– though at this particular moment, I’m mainly happy about it for two reasons: first, it’s a convenient segue for us to transition to discussions about the IPPY win… and second, it’s ample excuse to embed the trailer below.

So here’s the video for Iceberg Publishing’s finest book. I’ll tell you more about it on Thursday –– after A Daughter’s Gift, and my mother, have been suitably adorned in silver.