"It’s the privilege of being amongst
extremely talented people
that share the same interest
but have different opinions on quality."

photo by Bas de Graaf


Joris van Elk on judging



Having been a member in many award shows, Joris van Elk

has built up a reputation of being a constructive member within any given group at any given award festival. After having taught students

at the academy for 5 years, he attended many Young Talent award shows as well as being on the design juries at the One Show and the ADC*Europe.


In the past 10 years he judged at the ADCN for a solid 8 times, whuile being the president of the categories: Integrated / Direct / Radio / Outdoor & Print in 2019

Being invited to be part of the jury at any award festival is a great honor. What makes this experience so special?


It’s the privilege of being amongst extremely talented people that share the same interest but have different opinions on quality. The best work will always be recognized by all, but it’s the work that strives for silver and gold that generates the most interesting discussions. It’s especially those discussions that make judging an unforgettable experience.



But judging, especially in international juries, can be tough as there is more to be won than just an award.


Politics are a necessary evil within most of the juries. Opinions vary, and a lot of jury members enter these juries with a mission. The bigger the award show, the bigger the mission. Therefore, I prefer to be member of a jury for an award I have not entered any work for, simply because you start off from a neutral position. When you start the first session, you need to set the rules as a group. If you see someone bending these rules to live up to their invisible agenda, it’s up to the group to kill that mission. Be fierce, and show integrity. Once the politics are out, you can start judging the work for what it really is.



What makes a jury a good jury?


It all starts with a good vision. What do we as a group want to establish here? What’s the overall message we want to convey with the awards we are giving? We as a jury have a responsibility towards all who enter and to the creative industry in general. Don’t have too many goals, and don’t become a pleaser. If you want the outcome to be progressive, reward the most rebellious work. If you want it to be integrity, look for the most honest work. And that is mostly found in real clients with commercial purposes, not only charity clients.



The last years there has been a trend to award a lot of charities and purpose marketing cases. Is this the new truth?


Charity has always won awards. But nowadays we see a lot of cases that sell more than just the product win the big awards and grand prize. The good thing about this development is that we as an industry admit and reward that we are able to sell a message with a good intention. The bad thing is that a lot of these good message are only used to win the agencies awards. As it’s getting harder for many agencies to make profound work for actual clients that gets awarded, they start making up cases. I’ve seen so many cases build on an insight that was extremely weak for non-existing clients, the only purpose being to get an award. The agency wastes huge amounts of money, talent, and time on these things while it gets rejected within a split second at any jury session, for we hate stuff like that. Invest the money in young talent, and you will win more awards in the future.



Are there any juries on your wish list and which you prefer?


I prefer to be part of design and craft juries. A little less politics, a little more integrity. And I would love to be in one of the big 4. One show, D&AD, Cannes or Clios. I already had the privilege of having joined the One Show, so nothing is impossible. Let’s see what the future may bring!



E: mail@jorisvanelk.com  M: +31 (0)6 21 54 82 46

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