Google’s New Creative Tools for People of All Abilities Receive Cannes’ Top Design Honor

Microsoft's accessibility efforts, Insta Novels and FCB's work against gun violence also win gold

Google's Creatability project opened up design, composition and other creative processes to those who can't easily use a mouse or stylus. Google
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CANNES, France—Google Creative Lab truly lived up to its name with the Creatability project, which developed new ways for creatives with disabilities to make art, music and designs through a range of gestures, movements and voice commands.

And now the project, whose resulting creations were released for free as open-source tools, has received top design honors at the Cannes Lions.

The festival’s Design Grand Prix went to Google for Creatability, in part because of its benefits for those who face physical difficulties with traditional creative tools, but also because such tools benefit all creatives of all abilities, said Design Lions jury president Richard Ting, global chief experience officer of R/GA.

“Yes, it is speaking to the accessibility community,” Ting said, “but if you think about how we potentially could create in the future beyond just the mouse, beyond just the stylus, there could be ways for us to create using gestural movements, body movements, using audio. … We think this is the beginning of a new wave of creative tools that will eventually be introduced into the marketplace.”

Ting said the jury set out to find a winning campaign that had a simple and bold premise but also had clear impact. “Is the work actually reaching people?” he said, describing the questions the jury asked itself with each Design entry. “Is it changing businesses? Is this something more than just a stunt that lives for a day?”

Accessibility is certainly a key trend among this year’s Cannes Lions entries, and the trend quickly seems to be shaping the winner pool as well.

Microsoft and McCann New York’s “Changing the Game” project, which set out to develop an Xbox controller adaptive enough to let those with limited motor ability play on an even footing with other gamers, also won a gold Design Lion.

The other U.S. gold winners in Design included Mother New York’s “Insta Novels” for the New York Public Library, which brought full works of literature to the unexpected medium of Instagram Stories.

FCB Chicago had a strong showing across multiple categories on Day 1 of Cannes, racking up golds in both the Design and Print & Publishing categories for its Gun Violence History Book project with the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

Impressively, FCB Chicago also won a gold Design Lion for its Most Dangerous Street project, also for the Illinois anti-violence advocacy group. The activation used lasers to visualize the eerie image of all Chicago’s gun violence if it occurred on one street.

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@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."
Publish date: June 17, 2019 https://stage.adweek.com/creativity/googles-new-creative-tools-for-people-of-all-abilities-receive-cannes-top-design-honor/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT
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