On Friday night, I sat at the 2017 Louie Awards surrounded by a team of individuals who push the limits of the work they create every day, both for our clients and for ourselves. Whether you’re a designer, writer, strategist or developer, we’re all lucky to be a part of an industry that celebrates remarkable work. But if I’m being completely honest, after every award ceremony, I leave wondering how much winning trophies truly matters.
Personally, winning awards has never been the focus for me. I had no idea what a Louie, Addy, or a Webby was when I started my career in design and advertising. From the jump, I simply wanted to create amazing work with talented people and have fun doing it. I’ve admired and even envied the work achieved by others. But honestly, to me, the number of awards won is never the truest sign of achievement. Winning an award isn’t some life-changing event; but for a small creative agency like Fieldtrip, that just a few years ago wasn’t winning very many accolades, I can’t help but reflect on what winning means for us.
For many companies, an award is just another piece of hardware displayed in the lobby. They can be short-term morale boosters or a cause for bragging rights, but I think they can also mean a lot more. For a 26-person company fighting tooth and nail to grow every day, it’s difficult to see the subtle signs of improvement we’re pushing towards. The signs are still visible, they’re just a little harder to identify. But when symbols of achievement are cast in gold, silver, or bronze those previously abstract signals of growth become very tangible. These reminders that the work we’re doing is not only good, but award worthy, are so important—especially in this business.
Every time I accept an award, I think of all the people who helped make it possible, including the client who trusted us every step of the way. To me, winning is not about a single person being handed a trophy. It’s a compliment to a company culture that values individual expression and encourages everyone to run with their ideas and see them through to completion. It’s a testament to every ounce of thought, effort and skill put forth by a team that knows we can thrive by pushing each other to be better.
Fieldtrip had another great awards season, a sign that something is working here. Without a doubt, awards are a lot of fun to win; but it’s always more fun to watch our team grow and never settle for “good enough.” I don’t know a person at Fieldtrip who isn’t doing that. To me, that’s what winning means.