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For the first time, the Golden Pin Concept Design Award has organized a series of value-added courses for its Design Mark recipients. Among the heavyweights invited as speakers were Marianne Pao, deputy editor-in-chief of Shopping Design magazine; Bohan Shih, 2017 Best of Golden Pin Design Award winner and the head of BOHAN Graphic Design Office; Tai-Kim Yen, brand consultant of Pinkoi (HK) Limited’s Taiwan branch; Chih-Chyi Chang, co-founder of SimpleInfo.cc; and Quake Hsu, co-founder of the crowdfunding website ZecZec. The whole-day courses was held on September 8 with topics spanning different aspects—copywriting, proposal presentation, brand marketing, community development and crowdfunding. The purpose of the courses was to help Design Mark recipients understand how to effectively communicate their ideas with others and promote their products or make preparations for crowdfunding projects.

Kicking off the courses was a lecture titled “The Only Thing Standing between You and Good Writing is Confidence” given by Marianne Pao. At the beginning of the session, many participants expressed the difficulty they’d faced in determining the focus, choosing the right words, and expressing their ideas accurately. With her wealth of experience in copywriting as an advertising copywriter and magazine editor, Pao led the group to discuss and identify the principal elements of good copywriting as seen in real cases of advertisements (domestic and abroad), crowdfunding projects, and e-commerce websites. Pao mentioned the fast-changing pace of the society and stressed that there shouldn’t be any fixed forms of copywriting. According to Pao, copywriting at its core is meant to persuade. Only through collecting and analyzing a large amount of data and examining designs from the perspectives of features and user benefits can one find the way to persuasive and moving copywriting.

Marianne Pao, deputy editor-in-chief of Shopping Design, shared her experiences and suggestions in copywriting.

Next up, the graphic designer Bohan Shih shared his experience in the competition. Shih took home the top prize in the 2017 Golden Pin Concept Design Award with his “Cream Mincho” typeface (now called the “Creamy Font”), which reached its crowdfunding goal in June earlier this year and is expected to hit the market by 2020. In his session, “Concept: What Comes Before? What Comes Next?”, Shih shared his preparation for the final selection, including presentation design and pitch skills. Works shortlisted in the second selection and receiving a Design Mark are all designs worthy of recognition, but according to Shih, whether a work can get in the judges’ good graces in the final selection depends on the uniqueness and applicability of the design. Furthermore, “worthiness of investment”—whether it resonates with the audience and whether there is the plan to bring the product to market—can help a design stand out among others. In addition, Shih shared some useful tips on information visualization with humorous examples. Participants were able to get the hang of it in a matter of minutes.

The graphic designer Bohan Shih shared his experience in the 2017 Golden Pin Concept Design Award.

The third session, “Key to E-commerce Development: The Power of Branding”, was a speech on brand marketing given by the brand consultant of Pinkoi Taiwan, Tai-Kim Yen. Yen offered an in-depth analysis of market trends in design and e-commerce, guiding designers with entrepreneurial ambition to understand how pricing decisions and operating strategies can translate into brand awareness and effective sales conversions. Yen took pride in the fact that roughly 60% of brands on Pinkoi originated in Taiwan, demonstrating the strength and momentum of its design industry. As a final note, Yen reminded participants that while maintaining a local mindset is important, designers should never lose sight of the bigger picture that is the international scene.

The brand consultant of Pinkoi Taiwan, Tai-Kim Yen, gave a speech on e-commerce and brand marketing.

Continuing along the lines of marketing, the co-founder of SimpleInfo.cc, Chih-Chyi Chang, gave a talk on “Information Design and Social Marketing” in the fourth session, drawing from his entrepreneurial experience as a designer, information designer and a YouTuber. At the very beginning, Chang observed that the channel for information dissemination is constantly evolving, and that “community” is being talked about everywhere, from the media to the government, from businesses to schools. As such, community development could be considered an indispensable means of public communications and marketing. But what exactly is a community? Chang thinks that a community should allow members to express themselves freely and share contents as they wish. A moderator’s job is not to restrict or control the community but to motivate members to participate in discussion. Chang also touched on how content analytics tools can be useful in setting community strategies. It was an insightful session for designers with entrepreneurial ambition.

Chih-Chyi Chang, gave a talk on “Information Design and Social Marketing”, drawing from his entrepreneurial experience.

The last session covered crowdfunding, which has become a popular way of realizing concepts and proposals in recent years. This year, Golden Pin Concept Design Award invited Quake Hsu, the co-founder of ZecZec crowdfunding platform, to teach participants “Crowdfunding Strategies.” Hsu started with the fundamental characteristics of crowdfunding before moving on to the crowdfunding ecosystem, market characteristics and the relationship of the design industry with crowdfunding in Taiwan. In the second half of the lecture, Hsu delved into the execution of a crowdfunding project, including an overview of the entire process—setting goals, rewards, communication, and marketing strategies. The comprehensive guidance enlightened participants as to the necessary preparations for a successful crowdfunding project.

Quake Hsu, the co-founder of ZecZec, shared the “crowdfunding strategies” with the participants.

This series of courses was well received by the participants. Tin-Ham Lin, the designer of the “Weapon Font,” praised the practicality of the courses. He found Bohan Shih’s talk particularly useful and that after the course, he had a better idea as to how to prepare for his proposal in the final selection. He also thought that the sessions on marketing, community, and crowdfunding were beneficial in terms of improving project communication skills. The team behind “432Hzzz: ‘//////’” and “Tissue 36” told the courses organizer that they had never took any courses on crowdfunding, and that exploring crowdfunding from a designer’s vantage point was refreshing. They thought that they benefited a lot from the courses, especially on the tools and process of crowdfunding.

The Golden Pin Concept Design Award has announced 45 Design Mark winners from Taiwan, China, Singapore, and Germany. Each concept design team must prepare for the final selection on September 24, where they will pitch their concepts to a jury of international design experts, competing to win a share of the award’s TWD$1,200,000 (approx. USD$39,000) prize and coveted Best Design trophy, which are to be presented at the award ceremony on December 5. For the latest news on the Golden Pin Concept Design Award, please visit the official website and follow on social media.