2020 GDA Categories: Where Does Your Project Belong?

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As the only international design awards program focused solely on experiential graphic design, the SEGD Global Design Awardsseek out and recognize the world’s best examples of experiences designed to connect people to place.

The awards were launched in 1987 to demonstrate how design improves the quality of life for people everywhere by creating memorable experiences in places where we work, play, shop, travel and gather. Today, the SEGD Global Design Awards encompasses 7 categories that represent key practice areas of Experiential Graphic Design:

• Digital Experience Content
• Exhibition
• Interactive Experience
• Placemaking and Identity
• Public Installation
• Research/Strategy/Planning
• Wayfinding

Projects can be entered into multiple categories, with the jury evaluating submissions only against other projects in that category. Each category includes multiple applications or project types (see chart). To help guide you through the submission process, here are the 7 categories with examples of project types and past winners.

Digital Experience Content recognizes the important role that content plays in experience design. This new category includes multi-media content that is part of overall user experiences in all types of environments, from retail shops to transportation hubs and public spaces. It can also include architecturally scaled content such as the MegaFaces Pavilionat the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, or the Monarch Experience at the Cosmopolitan Hotelin Las Vegas. In 2018, the Best of Show-winning project was in this category, Archive Dreaming,as was NASA: Data Lens.

More great digital technology projects, articles and resourcesand past award winners

Exhibition encompasses the world of exhibit design in locations such as museums, visitor centers, corporate spaces and even schools. It addresses the graphic and media elements used to inform, interpret and educate people in these settings. Winning Exhibition projects in the SEGD Global Design Awards have recently include a corporate museum for Snap-on Tools,a science exhibit at the Denver Botanical Gardenand a unique donor wall at the Sydney Theatre Company.Last year, LAVA Centre was one of the “hot” exhibition winners.

More great Exhibition projects, articles and resourcesand past award winners

Interactive Experience reflects the fact that user experiences are increasingly complex, media-rich and interactive. These projects can include multi-media installations, interactive museum exhibits such as the unique TING: Technology & Democracy exhibit at the Norsk Teknisk Museumor the epic digital mediascape at the LAX Airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal. In 2018, Ideum’s Exploring Pueblo Potterywon in the Interactive Experience category.

More great Interactive Experience projectsand past award winners

Placemaking and Identity projects create experiences that connect people to place—providing a strong sense of “you are here” by differentiating a place or space from others. These projects can include urban features such as the Haymarket Pedestrian Bridgein Lincoln, Neb., whimsical graphics for a dairy plant at a Cornell Universityresearch lab or welcoming totems at train station in Kyoto, Japan.Placemaking and Identity is always a popular category, with 10 winners in 2018, including Pentagram’s City Point.

More great Placemaking and Identity projects, articles and resourcesand past award winners

Public Installation projects imbue spaces with meaning, mood and context through art and design. At their best, they articulate and enhance the uniqueness of a specific place while expressing facets of the human condition. Winning projects in this category have included a social media installation called #Trashtag,the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorialand the beautiful One-Day Poem Pavilion.In 2018, the W Shanghai Entry Installationwas one of five Public Installation winners.

More projects and articles on Public Installationsand past award winners

Strategy/Research/Planning is important in grounding the field of Experiential Graphic Design in user-centered and evidence-based research. Winning projects in this category have included books such as Richard Poulin’shistory of graphics and architecture, as well as in-depth master plans and a wide range of research projects, from wayfindingto branding and user experience guidelines for San Francisco International Airport. In 2018, Gensler’s Northwestern University Common Spaceswas among three winners in Strategy/Research/Planning.

More Strategy/Research/Planningarticles and resources and past award winners

Wayfinding is a core practice area of Experiential Graphic Design and the ultimate unsung hero of public spaces: When it works, you never know it’s there. Wayfinding has evolved into a highly integrated, user-focused and increasingly technology-driven discipline with huge social and economic implications for cities, hospitals and other public spaces. Winning wayfinding projects have included information systems for hospitals such as Seattle Children’s, educational campuses such as Oxford Brookes Universityand urban/civic information systems such as the City of Bath, England.Last year, DZNE Signage Systemand the Sylvia Harris Award-winning Red Stairswere among projects that wowed in Wayfinding.

Explore more Wayfindingprojects, articles and resources and past award winners


Entries are being accepted now for the 2020 SEGD Global Design Awards.The deadline for submitting projects is January 31, 2020, with a late-fee extension to February 14, 2020. Learn more about the 2020 SEGD Global Design Awards, the jury and past winning projects here.

Enter your project now on our online portal. It’s easy!