The Business Case for Entering the 2018 SEGD Global Design Awards

Winning, of course, brings validation and acclaim. But it’s not all about the glory. Participating in the 2018 SEGD Global Design Awardsalso promotes innovation, creativity and excellence—and who doesn’t want to be aligned with that?

Lonny Israel and his Graphics + Branding studio team at Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (San Francisco) have won numerous awards for their work, and Israel acknowledges that the recognition is sweet. “Distinguished jurors weigh in and critique our work, and we’re very grateful for their acknowledgements,” he notes.

But there are many other ways your firm can benefit from participating in the 2018 SEGD Global Design Awards. Perhaps they’re less direct than an actual award, but they’re very real. Here are a few of them:

  • Take part in a valuable organizational business exercise.
  • Leverage the work for marketing purposes.
  • Boost morale on your team.
  • Winning = prestige = more clients
  • Support excellence in the field.
  • Build connections with potential clients.
  • Reinforce your culture.

Want more? Firms share how the SEGD Global Design Awards have benefited them.

Take part in a valuable organizational business exercise.

“The act of preparing a submission for a design competition requires revisiting a project and writing a design narrative that validates the visuals,” says Michael Reed, principal of Mayer/Reed (Portland, Ore.). “This is often a difficult exercise for designers, but it’s essential in truly understanding the underlying value of design. It’s a real learning experience for us because it hones our communication skills and allows us to reflect on the outcomes.”

In other words, preparing entries is good practice for presenting your work to clients, community organizations, funders and other stakeholders.

Even better, the SEGD Global Design Awards require you to describe your work in terms of the client problem/brief and how your design approach solved the problem. When you begin to describe your work in terms of design thinking to meet your clients’ objectives, they will definitely pay attention.

Leverage the work for marketing purposes.

Collecting photo assets, crafting a concise project description, gaining client approval to release the material and responding to other entry requirements requires a huge investment in time, especially for smaller studios that don’t have dedicated marketing staff. However, your work in compiling submissions can do double, triple and even quadruple duty for you—even if you don’t win.

Post it as a case study on your website, translate it into a shorter blog or social media post, send out an e-newsletter featuring the project or even use it as the basis for a press release to local and national media. It also represents a tidy media package to present to design publications that may think your project is great.

Boost morale on your team.

Submitting your work in the 2018 SEGD Global Design Awards sends a loud and strong message to your team: “We’re proud of what we do together. We’re so proud, we’re going to show the world.” That can be very motivating for the team members involved, especially if you go out of your way to acknowledge everyone in the organization who contributed to the project’s success.

“Winning an SEGD award is not only an honor. Even more so, it is a big responsibility that has changed our mindset to a different, more global way. We challenge ourselves to constantly refresh our approach to spatial communication,” writes Inguna Elere of Design Studio H2E, winner of the 2016 Best of Show Awardfor its exhibition design INFORMATION.

Winning = prestige = more clients

This is the most obvious benefit, of course. No doubt, your ability to add the words “award-winning” in front of your name or project leads to attention, respect and ultimately more business.

Anthony Vitagliano, director of experience design for Digital Kitchen (Chicago) was part of the team that created the architecturally scaled “environmental mediascape” at Los Angeles International Airport’s new Tom Bradley International Terminal—the project that won Best of Showin the 2014 SEGD Global Design Awards. Digital Kitchen has won numerous awards for its work and sees the direct benefits. “We definitely see more potential client interest and ultimately, more work coming our way due to our awards,” says Vitagliano. “There’s no denying the power of your work being recognized as ‘excellent’ by a highly respected jury of your peers.”

Valentin Spiess of iart ag agrees. As a result of winning the 2017 SEGD Global Design Awards Best of Show,he says his firm has benefited from the exposure. “We certainly gained visibility and lots of attention in the United States,” remarks Spiess.

Support excellence in the field.

Lea Schuster, graphic designer at RDG Planning & Design (Omaha) says her team has had success in more than one design competition, but they’re selective about which ones they enter.  “We try to be selective by asking ourselves if the award is meaningful,” she explains. “We like to focus on awards that are part of a larger effort by an organization often providing funding for the group. SEGD, IIDA and AIGA are three of the organizations that we submit our work for award consideration. Participating in award programs with those organizations means to us that we are supporting their work to serve the design community through education, camaraderie and elevation of the discipline.”

Pentagram Partner Paula Scher clearly agrees with the idea of being selective. Even though the firm has staff dedicating to preparing award submissions, they recognize the work involved and want to make sure they enter only the competitions that are right for them. She told SEGD, “We only enter two awards, the SEGD Global Design Awards and the Type Directors Club.”

Build connections with potential clients.

Attending an awards celebration in itself is a source of connection to the field and peers. (2018 SEGD Global Design Awards winners will be recognized at the 2018 SEGD Conference Experience Minneapolis.) And winning an award can often provide the opportunity to reconnect with past clients and new ones. “Potential clients love hearing that we’ve received an SEGD Global Design Award for our work. It’s definitely been beneficial when we’re competing for work,” says Joe Lawton, managing director of Media Objectives at Valerio Dewalt Train (Chicago).

Reinforce your culture.

“We design to solve problems for our clients and not to win awards,” says Schuster. She admits that the recognition is ultimately helpful to her studio’s financial success, but it means more than that. “Sometimes our clients are looking for designers who think differently in the problem-solving process. Other times a client learns that we bring more to the table than they originally thought. When we win an award, it instills a subtle level of confidence in our designers and reinforces for our clients that we will strive to deliver a unique and carefully considered solution to them.”


Don’t wait a minute longer! Submit your late entriesby March 2, 2018.