Recognizing Excellence with Red Dot

If you’ve ever received an award that’s not-quite-suitable for framing, or chucked a giveaway paperweight that was all  about the corporate logo, you might have wondered why companies throw good money after bad swag. Commemorating  achievement and loyalty is a business-world staple, but it doesn’t have to be done with boring “lumps of plastic,” says  RED DOT Project Executive Director Christy Gray.

RED DOT Project, the nonprofit artist registry, helps link companies with artists who provide better gifts for honoring  employees, customers and award winners. These custom-crafted objects have artistic qualities that add beauty to the  professional meaning they convey.

RED DOT metalwork artist Chris Zielski has been one go-to artist for fulfilling these jobs, crafting stand-alone metal  sculptures with or without branding information. “With Chris’s imagery — trees and woods and growth — there’s a conversation that can happen around it,” Gray says.

Among organizations that have used RDP artists for corporate gifts and awards: COSE, the Council of Smaller Enterprises;  the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and Community Partnership for Arts and Culture.

Sculpture, photographs and prints can be chosen or designed with imagery that reflects industry values or a Cleveland connection, for example. And local organizations like being part of supporting hometown artists. Such gifts are received  with a gratitude those plastic lumps never inspire, Gray says. “It’s unique and special for that person.”