A conversation with Agnes Mandeville, Director Concepts at Starbucks

What did you most enjoy about the IDA judging process?

It’s great to be able to see so many projects coming from so many regions, cultures and parts of the world. Themes and societal questions might be the same everywhere – especially now,  however retaining richness in designs and cultural aesthetics is truly fundamental for me. In other words, as a jury member, it was important to place myself in the context of each project, its origin and its narratives in order to appreciate all of the qualities of each design.

How did you feel about the quality of the students’ entries?

There were lots of great projects by students. A few definitely really stood out from the rest for me. Amongst those, there was a remarkable intellectual and aesthetic cohesion and a layered poetic approach too.  

After reviewing the IDA projects, did you see evidence of current trends or challenges in the design industry?

Generally being very aware of ‘inspired by’ versus ‘copy’. We all see the same images and use the same platforms for inspiration. It’s very real. It’s not wrong to base your designs on something you like, the right thing is asking yourself why you like it and what it answers… And from there continue on your own personal creative path.

What advice would you give to future entrants?

Visual clarity and sharp storytelling. We are all inclined to see an ‘image’ first and it must instantly tell the story. In some way, the text is supportive but doesn’t replace the intuitiveness of a strong, immediate appealing visual.

What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities in your career/industry now? 

Staying relevant and agile. Keep working on innovations despite the contemporary challenges we are all facing.  Allow the design to be a positive link between people. As a designer: it’s important to stay critical and true to one’s self.  Fight ‘sameness,’ easiness and also embrace diversities, and more inclusivity in one’s works. Promote Optimism through projects.