As projects develop and during our internal design thinking process, our Creative Director Joseph Nother guides our design output forward with critiques, comments and insightful suggestions. The Lexington, Kentucky, chapter of the American Advertising Federation recently appointed Joseph to share that same creative and critical thinking as a judge for the chapter’s ADDY Awards competition.

Here, we share a quick Q&A and recap of his trip:

Overall, how was the experience?

There’s a lot of amazing design, branding and creative talent in and around the Lexington area and, as judge, I was able to see the positive direction of the creative community. I feel like my role of judging, in a small way, helps the Lexington AAF members celebrate their successes. I certainly enjoyed meeting professionals on the AAF Lexington board and learning about the area and their community. Good times, food and drinks were had at deSha's!

Also, it was an honor to both see the work and judge it on creative merits against hundreds of other work, ranging from visual identities, to interactive, print, TV, radio, billboard and other integrated campaign efforts. I’m excited to be able to bring some of those inspiring ideas home and share them with our team.

Why was judging the ADDY Award competition significant for you?

Michael Bierut, founder of Pentagram, said it simply and succinctly, “If you do good work for good clients, it will lead to other good work for other good clients. If you do bad work for bad clients, it will lead to other bad work for other bad clients.” It was clear to me that the teams behind the submitted work are passionate about delivering good work to their clients.

I believe in creating better work through better relationships--among clients, internal teams and with our communities. Organizations such as the American Advertising Federation and the ADDY Awards prove their value by helping to bring everyone closer together.

Along with this participation as ADDY judge, I’m a former president of the Knoxville Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Design, and it’s easy to see the value these organizations and awards can bring through camaraderie, education and, ultimately, inspiration of students and young adults eager to enter the field to pursue their passion and join our creative ranks.

What was your favorite piece?

I really enjoyed the branding ecosystem developed for the Alliance For American Manufacturing from "Shatterbox Studios"---simple, clean and bold with a postmodern aesthetic evocative of powerful nationalistic messaging.

What was in your hotel gift basket?

What can I say? Bourbon, of course...and some great candies. They didn't last long:)