From the iconic Oscar silhouette to a Little League trophy, the look and feel of keepsake awards can convey something about the thing it’s honoring. Just ask Cliff Farbstein, the Creative Director of the Arlington-based company Dimension Creative Promotions. Dimension specializes in custom award designs, lenticular postcards (images that can create different designs or appear to move depending on the angle they’re viewed from), and branded gift items, including Rubik’s Cubes and USB drives. They’ve created animated lenticular postcards to advertise the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit, patterned socks for the American Academy of Cardiology, and executive entry badges with a lenticular design for the Empire State Building.
AIGA DC has been working with Dimension to craft trophies for the annual AIGA 50 competition since 2009, and their explorations of new materials and technologies have made them an excellent creative partner. The very first year that Dimension made the AIGA 50 awards, they used a manufacturing technique that was brand new at the time: printing directly onto a clear acrylic block with full color. The resulting awards give the appearance that the bright pink logo from that year is encased in glass and was such a hit that they were used for two following years. Farbstein says, “Digital printing has been around for quite some time, but only more recently has it been refined and enhanced to be used on more surfaces like metal, glass, and fabric. Digital color print methods can now produce razor-sharp detail and even have the capability to create photo realistic designs.”
For a new design in 2018, Dimension created an elegant faceted crystal award with a 3D typographic element floating in the middle. The crystal design was particularly popular among Dimension’s clients at the time, and gives the appearance of the award winner info being preserved in ice or amber.
Following this, the AIGA DC team tasked Dimension with a new creative problem to solve, as Farbstein says, “to create something that did not yet exist in the award universe.” Dimension conceived of a “solid machined block of aluminum that was color anodized.” Working from local firm Polygraph’s design concept, Dimension helped bring these new designs to life with sleek black rectangular awards etched with not just the winner information and award logo but rakish lines that adorn the sides and give it a sense of gravitas. The design was updated for this year’s AIGA 50 ceremony. Awardees who won for multiple projects might have had a bit of a workout bringing home an armful of trophies, as they’re substantial and heavy enough to make for a serious paperweight.
With more than 30 years of experience crafting awards, Farbstein has seen lots of design trends come and go. These days, he says, “Customers are always looking for the newest innovative items. However, recently, there has been more focus on quality, well-made products.”