Get your own Little Black Book.

Build your own personal news stream. Discover the latest work created that interests you, share your favourite stories and follow your favourite people and companies

Already have an account?

Awards and Events

‘We Need to Raise the Bar, Just as Creative Circle Have Raised Theirs’

Ahead of next week’s Creative Circle Ball, this year’s gold judges give their behind the scenes take on what went down during the judging sessions…

 ‘We Need to Raise the Bar, Just as Creative Circle Have Raised Theirs’

Ahead of this year’s Circle Ball, a host of the Creative Circle’s Gold judges – those who presided over the final rounds of metal deliberations – have given their take on what went down in the in the judging rooms…


“If there were judging awards, I’d give Creative Circle a gold. Why? Apart from faultless organisation and a manageable number of entries, I was privileged to sit on a panel of judges for digital that was 75% female. Boom! An extraordinary achievement that Jeremy and his team should be justifiably proud of. My only niggle (and one shared with fellow jurors) was that the standard of work wasn’t where we wanted it to be. We need to raise the bar, just as Creative Circle have raised theirs.”

Emma Scott Robinson (SapientRazorfish)


“This is the first jury I’ve been on and you hear so many rumours about almost all male juries, I was chuffed to bits to be amongst male and plenty of female talent! It was an incredibly flexible way of choosing winners. If we all felt something deserved an award, but not necessarily in that category, we could make up our own rules and move the work. This meant the best creative really did get recognition.” 

Stacey Bird (4Creative)


“I had a great time judging. It was refreshing to be able to get to the winning work by having an open discussion with the jury instead of a collective button pushing session.” 

Ana Balarin (Mother)


“It was a really enjoyable experience. I thought the mix of judges from the different areas of agency, production and post was great, and the insights from those judges in relation to their crafts, whilst we were watching the work was so interesting to hear. It was a very respectful group, with everybody really valuing each other’s approach to their own craft and what made an individual piece of work stand out for them because of it. All in all, a very fun day with a lovely bunch of people!”

Eve Ashwell (Assembly Rooms)


“What I loved about judging Creative Circle was that men were in a minority. Maybe that's why there was no politicking, no posturing and no self-promoting. Instead, reasoned debate about the work. And some great Golds. I've been around the block a bit and it's heartening to see the Creative Circle making a massive comeback. It's pure British, pure creativity and judging was pure delight because great British ideas are still as good as any in the world.”

Patrick Collister (Google)


“I proper enjoyed judging this year… Really constructive open debate, all opinions listened to, then a good old democratic show of hands. And to be in a room that was predominately female... Lovely.”

Sue Higgs (Valenstein & Fatt)


“Creative Circle might be the oldest advertising awards show but certainly feels the freshest. Judging was everything being around creative work should be - energetic, fun, full of debate, inspiring and a real celebration of the work.”

Emma Perkins (MullenLowe Open)


“The mix of people on the Design Craft jury was interesting and demonstrated Creative Circle’s interest in all aspects of the creative process. The value of this diversity was that, whatever came up for us to judge, there was a good mix of expert and interested bystander voices. What united everyone was an intelligent, ballsy sparkiness that made for an entertaining day.”

Erika Clegg (Spring Design)


“A wonderful jury - collaborative, positive, interested and from a wide range of the industry. A wide range of work - but many categories are unawarded. It feels as though digital is at a tipping point - there is less creativity to be found and generally we all felt that the standard of work is decreasing. As practitioners, we know that this comes from changes in the industry - volume and cost/simplicity is valued over craft and quality across many digital channels now. And ad and social platforms where a lot of work is now exclusively made for, have strict rules that don’t allow for some of the truly creative hacks that used to be seen. I believe we all felt that digital has moved on, and has lost something magical for it. The good creative shared a lot with more traditional film. However, there were some strong areas such as apps where there were stand-out pieces. I was pleased to be jury chair of CC - great work setting up the school!”

Laura Jordan-Bambach (Mr President)


“A big hats off to Creative Circle’s chairwoman Vicki Maguire for bringing together the first ever jury I’ve experienced where women outnumbered the guys.  It represents a great step forward for advertising’s womankind. And naturally, it resulted in a huge amount of lady love, girl power selfies and some excruciating discussions about awards entries for ‘feminine products’.” 

Eloise Smith (MullenLowe)


“Judging the Creative Circle awards was great. Not least because the majority of our panel were women. Totally unprecedented, and led to a very different tone in the discussions and deliberations. I always leave judging inspired, but this time in more ways than just creatively.”

Julie Seal (Facebook Creative Shop)


“It was good to be among such an astute and critical group of people. If you got work accepted or awarded, it is very, very good work. And a pleasure to see.”

Peter Gately (Valenstein & Fatt)


“There's a palpable sense of anti-establishment purity about the Creative Circle. Ideas are king. Not rules, commercial agendas or nonsense. How refreshing.”

Gerry Human (Ogilvy)


“The judging process took place over one long day at Grey’s offices, and looking around the room it was clear that the jury was full of master craftsmen and women; leaders in commercial production.  The work was of the highest standard with only the finest content being awarded.  It was an honour to be involved and it’s something I hope to do again.”

George Floyd (Academy Films)


“Really loved the judging day, its great being surrounded by some big heavy weight creative opinions. It’s especially interesting when opinions clash; rich, chewy arguments over font size and drop shadows, its why we got into this business right?”

Ross Neil (WCRS)


“The whole judging process was inspiring. The room was filled with lots of energy and a real sense of passion for finding creative excellence. There’s been a lot of negativity in the media surrounding the current state of creativity, but judging by the standard of the work entered, we have nothing to worry about.”

Daniel Tidyman (BJL)


“Creative Circle was great fun to judge. Just the right amount of spirited debate and emphatic agreement, and a great team of people who worked together to make sure the best work went through.”

Susan Hosking (Mother)


“Judging with Jeremy and the amazing people he gathers around the table is always a highlight of my year. And what never ceases to amaze me, is not the work we all categorically agree on, it’s the debate that occurs over ideas that simultaneously leaves one Creative Director elated, another stone cold. It’s a reminder that advertising can elicit an amazing range of subjective emotions, even in a single piece. And that is a reminder of how hard our jobs are. Will we let a gem of an idea get away? I always return to work after judging Creative Circle with my good/bad antenna whirring harder than before.”

Richard Megson (Red Brick Road)


"It was a privilege and a joy to be asked to judge Creative Circle Film Craft this year. To be in a room with such talented and respected souls discussing the work that we all graft over and care so much about was just wonderful. We had some seriously heated discussions, great banter and big laughs! All in celebration of the predominantly fantastic work in front of us. Followed by pints in the pub. Brilliant."

Kate Taylor (Skunk London)


“You can always rely on a good debate during the Creative Circle Gold judging, mainly due to the breadth of disciplines that the jury is formed from – graphic designers, typographers, CGI artists, ad (wo)men, photographers, copywriters – all with refreshingly varied and valid viewpoints. A democratic system, allowing all levels to vote upfront in earlier rounds, and all members of the final jury to voice their likes, loves and dislikes openly. With diversity at the organisation’s core, I was particularly pleased to see a good number of senior women in the room too. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds with their Foundation programme.”

Louise Sloper (BMB)


"The process was great, before and during the day judging. We had a great group and I really felt we discussed the cause and execution of some emotional work. I thought Jeremy was a key part of the day he is very fair, eloquent and inclusive. There were a few loud characters there and the room shared the voices well. The space and time required to judge the work was correct. I felt the awards were very authentic and honest and I like the setup."

Victoria Buchanan (Tribal Worldwide London)


It’s not too late to secure your tickets for this year’s Circle Ball, head over to the Creative Circle website for more information.