Design Awards

What do you guys think about design awards:

  • What purpose do they serve, do they help generate business or push your career forward?
  • Have you won one, or would you like to win in the future?
  • Which one do you consider to be the most prestigious?

I currently work for Clio Awards, and they do offer a design award. Not many designers I know realize this. Here are last year’s winners.

I really like this piece:

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They can help push your billable rate up some.
Personally, I place more value on awards that are based on peer review vs. the results oriented ones.

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I think it’s nice if professions have an award/reward system in place.

I always think of the Nobel Prize or Pulitzer or even an Oscar, Tony or Grammy. But I also think of all the small business awards out there or something like JD Power Assc. for the car industry, While some of them are huge and others not so much … they are still important for the profession and awesome to have those bragging rights, not to mention how great they look on a resume. :smiley:

I’m of the opinion there aren’t enough of them. They are something that really give a lift to that given profession. I would love to see more professions have them.


Earlier in my career, they meant a lot more to me than they do now. I’d win some national and regional awards, and get my work in various annuals on occasion.

It’s to the point now where I really don’t care all that much. I’ve been a judge in several juried competitions, and my experiences there made me care even less. Lots of decisions in these competitions are arbitrary or made without a thorough understanding of the problems being solved.

Most of these shows are money-making enterprises for the sponsoring organizations, and the winners are typically picked based on aesthetics rather than whether or not they accomplished client objectives.

I had a professor in graduate school who regularly had his work show up as a winner in most every national design print competition. His posters were absolutely beautiful, but they all were designed to win contests — none were ever used for anything beside that.

A few years ago, I called up a client to tell them we won a first-place local award on something we did for them. The response went something like this: “Why should we care? We hired you to help us sell things and sales barely budged all year.”

We still enter the contests, and I make sure the people I supervise get all the glory they deserve because they still care and it looks good on their resumes.

Other than that, awards make little difference to me, and honestly, I don’t think too many clients care all that much about how we pat each other on the back either — even though we pretend that they do.

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Love 'em when I win.

This year I missed out winning a JUNO for Recording Package of the Year.

Grr …take awhile to get over that one.

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I like the idea of design awards. It depends on the criteria for winning whether or not they help the industry.

I’ve seen design awards for B2C ads. I don’t remember if I’ve seen any design awards for B2B. If there are any B2B awards, they are most-likely won by ads that look like B2C ads.

I’ve never really been in a position to win a design award because most of my work has been mediocre, in-house, or B2B type work. Most of the B2C work I’ve gotten was either for clients too small to have been noticed, or bigger clients that never finished the project. It’s surprising how often big clients seem to have the budget to drop projects before completion.

The work I’ve been most proud of was B2B type work, not the kind of work that looks sexy in the portfolio, but work that solved the clients problem really well. Maybe the awards should be categorized by B2B, in-house, agency, small-client, etc. Perhaps the award nominations/submissions should be done by the clients, and not the designers. Or maybe a client recommendation should be a prerequisite for work submitted by designers.

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Awards may be helpful when potential new clients are comparing designers, but once they’ve made a choice, I doubt it makes any difference.

So they are a marketing tool? A hook to get the client, but not something the designer needs to live up to for the new client? If you hire an award-winning firm, wouldn’t you expect award-winning work?

The awards in my weird little niche are coveted by the design client, and the end client. The company I work for has won several through doing work for award winning designers.The clients/designers/architects who hire us, and the end client, are both appreciative of the added publicity such awards gain for them. Especially the museums. It helps them immeasurable when it comes to grants and fundraising.

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It sounds like it’s important for your niche, PD. But not so much for my target audience, and I should have clarified that in my post.

I think awards do enhance credibility. But I’m a nuts and bolts marketing designer whose target market is small businesses, so their designer winning awards just isn’t that important to them.

I like the idea of awards, there is a local design award here but I’ve heard that everyone gets some sort of prize. The top prize is respected by the industry but if you only got a “participation” prize, it might still impress potential clients.

really very nice design iwould like to ask what software you use for this design

Awards are about proving credibility and establishing a reputation. Depending on the need of your company, they could add a lot of value. If you’ve done some work you’re proud of, it doesn’t hurt to submit it to a contest, as a win could elevate your company and get awareness for the client in the process.

The biggest challenge with an award contest is the specific rules and criteria around it. Fees can add up quickly and there are no guarantees. It would not benefit a company or designer whose work is for a very specific purpose unless the contest is requested targeted entries.

The fees for entering award contests should be included as part of your overall marketing budget. That’s basically all they are. Marketing tools.

Late reply here but wanted to say how much I love seeing the awards.

My clients, mid range manufacturers, were almost scared of them. They felt that the designers that got awards were just in in for themselves and forced avant garde design on them. I ended up using it as a selling point that always went over with them. “I don’t design to win awards, I design for your product.” However I always pulled them out of their caves and did great design. Never submit it to design awards though, to my sadness but to their delight. Go figure.

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Hello all! I really want to enter my team for a design award. I realize that a lot of these award competitions are just a means for the sponsor to raise money and that they are essentially a marketing tool. I do not care lol, I am ok with this. My question is which one(s) are worth it? Which entity or award competitions do you consider to be legitimate and worthwhile?

I’m not sure if there is one specific contest that will be important to everyone. Many of them are backed by companies and are industry specific (i.e. packing design, UX, advertising). Know the niche you’re trying to impress and then search for design competitions within it.


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