»Comparing apples
and oranges is my
daily bread.«

Juli Gudehus


ADC (Art Directors Club) Germany, gold・✦・ADCE (Art Directors Club of Europe), gold・✦・Designpreis der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (German State Prize for Design), nomination・✦・Designpreis Rheinland-Pfalz, award・✦・Kalenderschau Stuttgart (Stuttgart calendar show), gold・✦・Preis der Stiftung Buchkunst (award of the German society of book art) ・✦・TDC (Type Directors Club) New York, award for typographic excellence

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»I don’t care for medals. But I do want to have them.« So said the disarmingly charming Johannes Brahms about 150 years ago.

Medals, awards, trophies, prizes … I became most interested in them after deciding I wasn’t interested in them at all!

As a student, I imagined that winning at the Art Director‘s Club must be the ultimate achievement. Despite this, I never took part in design competitions. It didn’t even occur to me to do so. Winning at the ADC was the result of my publisher submitting my first competition entry and paying the steep participation fee. Other prizes at other competitions followed, always as a result of others having submitted my work and paying the submission fees. It was only after my first »medal« that I realized design prizes make no sense to me as marketing tools. I didn’t see why I should invest in awards when my work was being published and reviewed internationally anyway.

Still I eventually submitted one work at the ADC myself for a change. I won – but in hindsight it felt as if victory came at a very high price. I decided to leave all that to others, and thought of Brahms once again.

Surprisingly, one year later, I was told in highly official terms that one of my works was nominated for the German State Prize for Design – the so called »Prize of all Prizes«. I was electrified, until I started to read the small print. 

It turned out that this state prize was just the same as other design prizes. Nominees were chosen from the winners of other competitions – hence the name – and for an absurd sum, they were expected to participate in yet another competition. 

I decided it was about time for a new prize – a really honourable prize. One that you cannot apply for and one you need not pay for. I initiated such a prize, and since then I couldn’t care less for medals I need to pay for.