The 2021 Global Design Awards are Open for Entries!

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The most wonderful time of the year! It’s time to submit your projects to the 2021 SEGD Global Design Awards. The portal for nominations opens Wednesday, December 9.

“The SEGD Global Design Awards are the most recognized, celebrated and referenced awards in experiential graphic design,” says Cybelle Jones, CEO of SEGD. “The awards drive hundreds of thousands of visitors to our website annually and become benchmarks for companies in search of hiring the best EXG firms in the world.”

A multi-disciplinary jury—including clients, users, and students—representing a diversity of design disciplines will evaluate projects based on their effectiveness in connecting people to place, creating a unique and memorable user experience, and solving the client’s objectives and design challenges.

“The SEGD awards offer us a unique opportunity to celebrate, share and reflect on multidisciplinary, international design work that connects people to place,” explains Dayton Schroeter, Design Principal AIA at Smith Group and Chair of this year’s Awards Jury.  “These projects help shape our awareness of the world we inhabit and, at their best, challenge us to be better citizens.”

The year 2020 presented many challenges to our design community. Schroeter will charge the Awards Committee with selecting those projects and awarding those professionals who used design as a method of response to those challenges.

“It’s important for us to recognize the power of the moment. 2020 has offered a window of opportunity for designers of public space to reimagine the new normal,” says Schroeter. “The 2021 SEGD Global Design Awards will put emphasis on projects that have a positive impact on our society and culture.”

Specifically, Schroeter has cited the following types of projects for special consideration:

  • Projects that create authentic experiences that allow for greater human connection and understanding
  • Projects that elevate the mundane, inspire hope, or simply challenge us to think in a different way


Jurors of the Awards Committee will recognize exemplary projects with “Honor” and “Merit” awards. From the Honor group, one will be selected as 2021 “Best of Show” and from both Honor and Merit groups, one project will receive the Sylvia Harris Award for social impact.

Last year, the Awards Committee selected The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, as 2020’s “Best of Show.” Jurors cited the collaboration between the Equal Justice Initiative, MASS Design Group (architects) and Small Stuff with afreeman (environmental graphic design) with the success of the Memorial’s visitor experience:

“The care, intention, material, typography, and form of each aspect of the experience deliver a powerful and necessary focus and allow us to see and understand the contemporary impacts that continue to surround us.”

This juror’s quote helps convey why The National Memorial for Peace and Justice received “Best of Show” for 2020. Jury members selected the Memorial from a contingent of 340 other outstanding projects submitted by SEGD members. Of these projects, 10 received Honor awards and 18 Merit awards.

The other special recognition, the Sylvia Harris Award, goes to a project that exemplifies social impact. Sylvia Harris (1953–2011) was a pioneer of social impact design, and this special SEGD award recognizes those designers who honor and continue Harris’ legacy. The 2020 Sylvia Harris Award recognized “The Truth is Local: Experiential Storefronts” developed by Local Projects and displayed across the five boroughs of New York.

The SEGD 2021 Global Design Awards nomination portal is open and receiving submissions in seven different practice categories:

1.  Digital Experience Content
2.  Exhibitions
3.  Interactive Experiences
4.  Placemaking and Identity
5.  Public Installations
6.  Strategy/Research/Planning
7.  Wayfinding

Submissions are due January 31, 2021, and the late deadline is February 22, 2021. Go to the SEGD Global Design Awards landing page to learn more.

The Awards Jury is looking forward to reviewing the best in experiential design! Remember that projects that were submitted previously and did not receive an award can be resubmitted for up to three years from the project’s opening date. So make sure to take advantage of the opportunity to showcase your talents and creativity and impact.

“If you win the top design awards, you will attract new clients and talent to your firm,” explains Jones.  “The SEGD Global Design Awards reflect excellence in design and innovation year after year, that’s why we see submissions from the most creative and innovative designers around the globe.”

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