Digital Publishing Awards Honors Apps and Ads Made With Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite

A look at the inaugural winners

There’s little question the iPad will play an integral role in the future of publishing (and, in fact, it already does). Tablet ownership nearly doubled this year versus last year, with 34 percent of adults owning one, according to Pew Research. Fueled by the device’s soaring popularity, creatives have pushed the boundaries of design and innovation. Adweek and Adobe recognize this publishing revolution, and this year launched the Digital Publishing Awards, honoring notable apps and ads made using Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite (which Adweek also uses to produce its own iPad edition) and related software. The panel of judges was comprised of Josh Klenert, director of user experience and design at The Huffington Post; Nick Mrozowski, executive creative director at Adweek; Carol Wells, design director at Adweek; and Joe Zeff, president of Joe Zeff Design. Here’s a look at the inaugural winners. Try not to be jealous. 

The Human Face of Big Data app, by Marcolina Design

Did you know an iPad’s accelerometer can be used to detect earthquakes? That was one of the possibilities demonstrated in the iPad edition of The Human Face of Big Data, a coffee-table tome by author Rick Smolan.

The app was created by Marcolina Design, a 23-year-old shop that’s tracked the evolution of publishing through desktop software, CD-ROM, website design, motion graphics for video—and worked to stay at the front of the pack by jumping on tablet publishing early. The print edition of the book, sponsored by cloud data company EMC as well as FedEx, Cisco and SAP and published in fall 2012, features stories and photos illustrating how the proliferation of digital information is changing the world. The tablet edition uses a range of digital functionality to bring those stories to life in a manner appropriate to the medium. It features a visual index, interactive infographics and embedded videos, among other touch-and-swipe bells and whistles.

The Ambler, Pa., studio wanted to exhaust the range of a tablet’s available functions when it made the app a year ago. “We tried to use the camera in a couple instances, but the [Digital Publishing Suite] wouldn’t allow us to do that,” said co-owner Dan Marcolina. Now, however, it is possible—along with even more options for tablet-based expression. “It’s an expanding art form,” said Marcolina. “It’s great.”

Fake Ad for Bradesco Seguros, by the goodfellas for AlmapBBDO

You’re browsing through the tablet version of your favorite magazine. You come across a fairly run-of-the-mill automobile ad. You try to swipe the page away in a hurry. Instead of flipping on to the story on the next page, the car you’ve just flicked with your finger slams into the wall at the end of the screen. The front bumper smashes in, the alarm blares and copy appears above the wreck, pitching insurance company Bradesco Seguros.

The surprising execution ties in with the message that accidents happen. The power of the idea wasn’t lost on jurors at Cannes, who awarded it a gold Lion in the festival’s inaugural mobile competition in 2012. When AlmapBBDO São Paulo hired digital production company the goodfellas to help bring the concept to life, it had to figure out how to write code that would trigger a video instead of turning the page but still allow for the ad to be placed at the front or in the middle of digital editions of titles like the weekly Veja and auto magazine Quatro Rodas. Luckily, the goodfellas were able to reapply parts of the code in ads for other clients such as Globo TV, said creative and technology director Fernando Carreira. That’s no surprise given how badly brands want readers to engage with ads rather than escape them.