Toast rips it up at Sydney Design Awards 2018

“Good is not good enough” is a bit of a catch-cry in our Surry Hills studio. We use it playfully; we use it with humour and we use it to mindfully push ourselves just that little bit harder each and every time. Good transitions to great, which transitions to really great which becomes excellent. And it’s through collaborative thinking that defines, crafts and evolves meaningful brands that my amazing team gets there each and every time.

After a decade pursuing excellence and challenging both clients’ and our own thinking for each project, the team has every reason to be ecstatic about picking up no less than 12 awards at the Sydney Design Awards 2018! OK, so we submitted 15 in total - and we could have a quiet word that an 80% success rate doesn’t cut it - “it’s good, but not good enough!” - but there’s no doubting we’re a pleased bunch.

These award wins speak directly to our tagline - ‘Brand Crafted Thinking’. They showcase our experience across multiple industries and demonstrate our expertise in brand identity, design, creative strategy, environmental design, packaging, web design and development, user experience, user interface design and strategic online marketing. Great brand marketing doesn’t happen without amazing clients, so it’s timely to extend our  congratulations to each and every one of you. Damn - 6 GOLD and 6 SILVER! Well done all.

What’s particularly interesting when an agency attracts award attention is how this acknowledgement can be used to learn and grow some more. It’s an opportunity to reflect a little. By doing so we become that much better at what do. What has our process exposed? What are the cultural/organisational insights/trends shared across sectors? What can one sector learn from another, and therefore how can we apply this insight?

Our belief that the best ideas come from empowered people isn’t something we take lightly. We say as much in our proposals. We also say that we value respect and integrity and that these are the guiding principles in our team relationships and business partnerships. Do these award wins reflect this? Absolutely. But there’s always room for improvement. If there isn’t a hunger, complacency can find you on a dead end street.

This all got me thinking about checking in on our business’ brand values: Mastery, Respect, Balance, Innovation, Integrity and Passion. It’s easy for businesses to write a list of things they believe in. It’s a different ball game to be a business that follows through by talking, acting and delivering - both internally and externally - on each value that it claims to uphold.

Let’s be perfectly frank. We’re all guilty as charged. What’s important however, especially for those of us in the business of brand (given that we do this on a daily basis for our clients), is that we keep ourselves in line by having regular brand health checks. I’d put money on it that this happens only rarely, and when it does it’s at the corporate level and not the team level. Ha - so I have the advantage of a small, let’s say medium sized, highly motivated, passionate and disciplined team. Beat that I say!

But in all seriousness, while award wins may be seen to be merely a chance to back-slap, they are also key to our marketing arsenal and provide opportunities for individual staff and whole teams to shine, learn and aspire. The fact that we were able to enter 15 awards is testimony to a pretty impressive group of people who happen to be managing an equally impressive stable of clients.

“You have to be in it to win it” so they say. Yes, absolutely, but you have to have the case studies to enter in the first place, and the confidence that your selection stands a chance from a commercially creative perspective. I’m in awe of the work we’ve done over the last couple of years and when I consider Toast’s reputable standing in the industry today, I’m enormously grateful.

Which brings me to how we deliver on our brand crafted thinking. Well, that would be via our brand crafted journey. Toast’s brand journey has six steps. Starting with Thinking we then move on to Visualising, then Crafting, Refining, Implementing and finally Nurturing. It’s methodical, strategic and tried and tested, and for us it’s been a highly effective formula to deliver creatively outstanding and commercially effective design since 2007.

Toast talks about meaningful brands. Behind each of our 6 GOLD and 6 SILVER wins at this year’s Sydney Design Awards there are 12 projects that have been recognised because the judges have extracted or experienced meaning from each respective execution. To have been part of creating that is most definitely a privilege.

List of awards as follows:


Project: The Aristocrat

Category: Advertising - Print

Client: Luxcon Group

Project: The Orchards App

Category: Digital - Expanded Service or Application

Client: Sekisui House Australia

Project: SantApplaws

Category: Marketing - Sales Promotion

Client: MPM Products Ltd

Project: NSW Case Law

Category: Service - Government

Client: NSW Department of Justice

Project: Fone King

Category: Digital - Retail & Shopping

Client: Fone King

Project: Black Dog Institute

Category: Service - Community

Client: Black Dog Institute


Project: Teneo

Category: Marketing - Branded Experience

Client: Lenland Property Development

Project: The Orchards

Category: Graphic Design - Illustration and Type

Client: Sekisui House Australia

Project: Fitness Playground

Category: Service - Health/Active

Client: Fitness Playground

Project: Muse

Category: Interior Design - Co-Working & Studio Space

Client: Muse

Project: The Orchards Immersion Room

Category: Marketing - Film, Video, Viral

Client: Sekisui House Australia

Project: The Relic

Category: Graphic Design - Three Dimensional

Client: MICA Australia