By Alison Embrey Medina, Executive Editor
September 09, 2012
Each summer, DDI sends out the annual Portfolio Awards survey to our database of reader emails, requesting your opinions and suggestions for the best and most influential projects, companies and people in retail design from the past year. The counting and tallying process, which should be easily accomplished in the span of a full workday, takes almost a full week. Here’s why.
Tallying up the votes from the reader survey each year is always one of my greatest sources of research and inspiration during the year. Because we don’t limit nominees or suggest who or what might be appropriate in any given category—each category is a write-in vote, versus a multiple-choice selection—we get every type of project under the sun to come up as potential winners. When I come across a store I’ve never heard of before, I take a moment to Google the project and check out what made it so fantastic in that voter’s eyes. And I find some pretty amazing reasons. One interesting store can derail my tallying for a good hour (and believe me, it has!). Of course, this stop-and-Google mindset is not the most time-effective way to get things done—but curious editors have their own processes, and it works for me!
To be quite honest, I’m fine with the time I spend tallying up the votes. Although some of the incredible projects that receive mentions in the survey results do not grab enough votes to make it onto the pages of this issue, you may see some of them printed here in the future, or on our website, or in one of my trend presentations across the globe. Or you may hear me mention them in casual conversation, or I might even stop in to visit the next time I’m traveling nearby.
After reviewing hundreds of new projects over the course of that review week, I can tell you this: there is some phenomenal, inventive and inspiring retail design occurring across the planet right now. The stores, companies and designers featured in our Portfolio Awards section (page 25) might have garnered the most exposure and risen to the top, but the creativity, innovation and smart design pervading the industry is widespread. Congratulations to all of our 2012 Portfolio Awards winners—your achievements are well deserved. And to all the projects and people who received even one mention in the survey results, hats off to you as well. You may not be an award winner yet, but you’ve certainly made an impression.