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Web Design Competitions

If you’ve begun using our Web Project Checklist (part of our Mega-Pack - insert web link) you’ve noticed that we include a section on entering design competitions. A great way to grow exposure and credibility for your business is to win some awards. That said, not all award competitions are created equal. Since most require entry fees, which are the best return on investment? Here are some points to consider:

  1. Is it a legit competition?: “Competitions” that ask you to design something for a chance to win a prize are not an awards competition -- they’re scamming you for spec work. Run. Run far away.
  2. Who are the judges? Most (but not all) reputable competitions will show on their website who will be choosing the winners. Make sure they’re people you’ve heard of or are from legitimate publications.
  3. Who are the sponsors? Another way to tell the difference between a respectable competition and one that is not is to check the sponsors. Look for big names similar to Adobe, Neenah Paper or Getty Images.
  4. Do they show past winners? Most competitions show the previous year’s winners. Check them out. Are they giving awards to sub-par work? If so, pass. They’re only interested in your entry fee and will not hold any prestige.
  5. Is there a huge fee? Some competitions have a low entry fee but expect you to pay handsomely to have your winning work promoted online or in their publications. If promotion is important to you, consider what those fees will be before you enter.

That said, here are some examples of competitions that have good reputations:

  1. Graphic Design USA holds several different competitions each year that have modest entry fees and low winner promotion fees.
  2. HOW Design has a solid reputation within the design community. Winning a HOW Design Award is something to brag about.
  3. Print Magazine isn’t just for print. They also feature web design and have an outstanding reputation.
  4. Applied Arts Awards is based in Canada and features winners across multiple disciplines including interactive and web design.
  5. Communication Arts Magazine is one of the most prestigious competitions in the industry so if you plan to win, you’d better bring your A-game.
  6. Awwwards are exclusive for design, creativity and innovation on the Internet.
  7. Mobile Excellence Awards is a worldwide competition for the very best in mobile design.
  8. W3Awards, sponsored by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, focuses on web design but includes advertising and marketing, social and mobile categories.

Not competitions, but great places to submit work and get inspiration:

  1. Creattica 
  2. Site Inspire  
  3. Media Queries

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