New Zealand's Best

Black Pin Winners

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The Designers Institute
Black Pin

Awarded to a member of the Designers Institute who has made a lasting and valuable contribution to the New Zealand design profession and towards design in general.

Mark Cleverley

Mark Cleverley

The Black Pin for Outstanding Achievement recognises a someone who has made a lasting and valuable contribution to the design profession.

Calling Mark Cleverley’s contribution to New Zealand design ‘lasting’ is almost an understatement. From graphic design, to object making, pottery design, textiles, teaching, and architecture, there’s hardly a type of design that Mark hasn’t touched over his six decade legacy.

To describe the extent of Mark’s multi-faceted career in full would take hours. But in brief, Mark started his illustrious career at age 18 in Hamilton as an architectural draughtsman at the NZ Co-operative Dairy, then moved to Christchurch to work at Warren and Mahoney. He won a scholarship to the Elam School of Fine Arts, and was one of the first students in the new graphic design programme. From there, he freelanced in graphic design – and even designed the Ballantyne’s façade and engravings. He ventured to the big smoke for a brief stint in advertising, then dived into the 3D world of packaging.

During this time, he made his first foray into stamp design. And he certainly stamped his mark. He introduced modernist, simplified designs to New Zealand Post – a move that proved incredibly popular.

Arguably, his most prominent work was as a creative director at Crown Lynn. He was always one step ahead of worldwide trends, creating new designs and printing techniques, taking reference from indigenous patterns, fighting traditional ideas. But his most influential role was teaching in Christchurch and Wellington – his students rave about his passion for typography and design history, his clever and challenging briefs, and above all his engagement and enthusiasm in their own projects.

Mark has been an important player in the international design industry. In 1972, he was made a full member of the prestigious UK based Society of Industrial Artists and Designers (SIAD), and was also nominated as the NZ representative at the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) Interdesign conference in Canada in 1974.

During the sixties and seventies, he was involved in founding professional design organisations – the ancestors of the Designer’s Institute – to create a supportive network to promote and connect designers around New Zealand. He even helped establish an early version of the Best Design Awards.

The John Britten
Black Pin

The highest award given by the Designers Institute and celebrates an individual who has achieved significant success in the field of design both nationally and internationally.

Matt Holmes

Matt Holmes

The John Britten Black Pin celebrates an individual who has shown a combination of leadership, vision, creativity, skill, energy and discipline. Someone who has made a significant achievement in the field of design both nationally and internationally.

The winner of this award has truly met that criteria, representing New Zealand design at the top rungs of one of the world’s best known companies, a company that paves the way in creative, innovative footwear.

Matt Holmes, Creative Director of Innovation at Nike HQ is the recipient of the 2014 John Britten Black Pin

From designing running shoes to running footwear design innovation at Nike, Matt Holmes’ career can be measured in leaps and bounds. In New Zealand, Matt first cut his teeth at Fisher & Paykel. He moved to San Francisco 15 years ago, where he interviewed with IDEO, Sony, Tonic and Apple – until Jonathan Ive of Apple recognised Matt’s affinity for sports shoes and steered him towards Nike.

In 2002, Matt joined Nike HQ in Oregon and hit the ground running. Now, as Creative Director of innovation, he oversees the work of 100 footwear designers. Matt himself has created around 150 shoes, including some of Nike’s most iconic designs. He won the 2007 Runners World Shoe of the Year, and was part of the team setting the direction for Nike at the 2012 Olympics.

The Nelson-born designer’s shoes have been worn by sports greats, like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and the All Blacks – as well as millions of sports professionals and enthusiasts around the world.

From an early age, Matt was fascinated by how products were made, and who made them. Advice from a teacher at Nelson College inspired Matt to move to Wellington on a scholarship to study industrial design at the Massey School of Design in the nineties.