PHOTO: Jason Goode, Packaging Development Manager Simplot (L) with Best in Show winner, former Gympie man James Innis (R).
PHOTO: Jason Goode, Packaging Development Manager Simplot (L) with Best in Show winner, former Gympie man James Innis (R).

Three national awards for Gympie man James Innis

GYMPIE man James Innis is on a winning streak after taking out the Best in Show award, a Gold and a Silver at the national Southern Cross Design Packaging Awards for his innovative John West Kids Catch tuna packaging.

James who is about to graduate with a Diploma of Graphic Design from TAFE Queensland East Coast said he was totally shocked on winning the most prestigious award of the competition when it was first announced in Melbourne last week.

"I think it's just starting to sink in now," he said.

"Since I've come back from Melbourne I've had time to appreciate how big of a moment it was for me.

"Winning the awards was a real affirmation that I should definitely be pursuing a career in graphic design.

"I'm pretty new to design, so this was a big thing for me." 

Packaging Council of Australia's Awards & Divisional Manager Jennifer Salem said James' entry was very deserving as it considered every aspect of a packaging project.

"His entry demonstrated an exceptional level of detail in his research and he considered design and materials, innovation, consumer experience and the list goes on," she said.

"It was an all round outstanding entry and the Judges were extremely impressed with not only the result, but the research James completed."

The project took James about three months to complete from researching packaging options, getting print quotes to designing and mocking up the hypothetical products, and writing the design 'rationale' submission for judging.

"Competing with 400 entrants Australia wide James and our students have done exceptionally well this year taking home several gold and silver medals and high commendations," TAFE Queensland East Coast graphic design teacher Lyndal Chase said.

"Briefs for the awards are representative of industry, so the process replicates the real world, making it relevant for our students who are better prepared to enter the workforce after they graduate." 

James was full of praise for his teachers at TAFE Queensland East Coast and said they had been amazing in the level of support and input they provided during the competition process. 

"They have so much experience and keep things really relevant when we're going through awards like this - they really know what judges are looking for so they can guide us through it," he said.

With a love for developing new brands, desktop publishing and most facets of design, James hopes to run his own graphic design business in the future but for now is focussed on getting as much experience in the field as possible.

The Awards are sponsored by the Packaging Council of Australia and the Australian Institute of Packaging. All of the winners' entries can be viewed online via the PCA website now.