The irony of any website design is that the name of the designer is relegated right down to the bottom of the page and that too in small font sizes that are barely legible. And in some cases, the name of the designer is simply not there or is taken over by the client. Designers spend days and months designing websites for their clients and what they get in return, most of the time, is payment for their work.
So, how does a designer like you show the world what you are capable of? There is a simple but highly effective method to brand your work – enter a design competition. Using the popular search engines will give you an enormous list of design competitions that can help you getting hunted by prospective clients rather than you hunting for them.
Listed below are, what we believe, 10 most popular design competition websites that you must make use of. There are other competitions as well and you would do well to keep a track of them. But these 10 should be good as starting points.
D&D Awards are very much cherished by web designers across the world. The Yellow Pencil, D&D’s famous annual award, goes to some of the best creative designers of the world. This UK-based charity organization receives more than 25,000 entries a year and the competition is fierce. You earn your name simply by making a cut to the shortlist. The entries are accepted around February of every year and you can get the details by visiting their website www.dandad.org.
One of the most prestigious designer awards is given by the Design Museum. Design Museum offers the Designer of the Year Award that is a sure shot way to propel you towards receiving great acclaims from the web designing community. However, in order to be eligible for the £25,000 prize, you really need to work hard on creating a fantastic profile because the nominations for this award are only through invitation. You can visit www.designmuseum.org for more details.
3. Webby Awards
If you are looking at the ultimate prize in website designing then it is, in all probability, the Webby Award. It was in 1996 when the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences launched this initiative in New York and over 500 jury members comprising of entrepreneurs, creative designers and established web designers together decide winners from more than 60 categories. Some of the areas that are looked into include visual design, interactivity, functionality, navigation, structure and the overall impact of the design. There is an additional public vote for the People’s Voice Award. The entries are accepted in October every year and the details can be found at www.webbyawards.com.
4. Comm Arts
On 20th January 2011, you can enter your work for the Communication Arts Interactive Design Annual. This award has been there since 1997 and prizes are given for categories like information design, self promotion, entertainment, advertising and business. To enter into this award, you need to create content for the web, handheld devices, interactive kiosks or CD-ROMs. More information is available at www.commarts.com/ca/interactive.
The BAFTA is not only a film and TV award but much beyond that. The BAFTA Interactive Awards focuses on the industry of new media and there are awards presented in several categories like DVD and design, interactive TV and online entertainment. This award is almost 10 years old now. To get a feel of what it takes to enter your work for this award, you can visit their website bafta.org/awards. Entries are accepted around October every year.
Macromedia has a biannual award for budding student designers where two winners are selected from four categories – Art Projects, Digital Communication, Interactive Media and Portfolios and Video. This award is called the Macromedia Innovation Award for Students. There are also additional awards where four winners of the People’s Choice Award receive an iPod each and the four winners of the Editorial Award receive $1,000 in cash. The next entries will be accepted in September 2010 and you can visit www.macromedia.com for details.
If you are looking to earn some well earned respect at the start of your designing career then one award that you should look to win is the Computer Arts Graduate Showcase. Once you are successful, your work is displayed in supplements in large formats and globally distributed. The next entry date is in March 2011 and details can be found in www.computerarts.co.uk/news/graduateshowcase.
8. Design Week
The shortlisted entrants for the Design Week Award winners are normally treated to an outstanding ceremony and a lavish dinner. Awards are given in categories like branded packaging, editorial design, furniture design, logos and letterheads, retail interiors, TV, film and video graphics and workplace environment, among others. A respected and celebrated panel of judges gets together to decide the winners in each category. The entries for this year are expected to be accepted in October. For more information, visit www.designweek.co.uk.
Lynda.com and United Digital Artists together created Flashforward, an award aimed to promote and expose the works of some of the best flash designers around. Entries are accepted in May of every year and the awards are given for the most creative, original, compelling and innovative website designs using flash technology. There are as many as 15 categories of awards and they cover almost everything – animation, sound editing, designing and programming. The panel of judges is carefully picked and they are considered some of the best in the industry in their respective roles. www.flashforwardconference.com gives all the necessary information on these awards.
When it comes to graphic designing, one name that cannot escape attention is Adobe. The Adobe Design Achievement Awards are given every year to the most promising and talented students in various areas of designing. With more than nine award categories, this award is given to those students who excel in areas of digital filmmaking, computer artistry, graphic designing, animations, broadcast designing, illustrations and photography. The winners get a cash prize award of $5,000 every year. Entries are accepted around April of every year and information is available on www.adobe.com/education/adaa.