A Juror’s Insight Into the 2019 Global Design Awards

Read Time: 3 minutes

Ellen Spurlock, Art Director at Little, has a combined background in both Industrial Design and Exhibition Design. As an active member and volunteer with SEGD, Ellen served as SEGD Chapter Co-Chair and was the Studio Director for Media Objective’s award-winning California Office. Ellen was also part of an impressive lineup of talented designers on the 2018 SEGD Global Design Awards jury. 

Curious about why you should enter, what the jurors look for and how to put together a winning entry? Here’s what this jury vet has to say. 

Why are the SEGD Global Design Awards important to the experiential graphic design community?
This is the only awards program that focuses primarily on this broad, multidisciplinary field of design. The program provides the ability to see what our peers are doing to push boundaries and inspires all of us to learn from each other and do better work ourselves.

How was your experience on the SEGD Global Design Awards jury last year?
The jury experience was intense and inspiring. It forced me to think deeply about design challenges in order to be able to appreciate the solutions.

What projects stood out most to you and the jury?
The projects that stood out most had strong imagery and clearly told a story. Some projects presented unique solutions that pushed the boundaries of branding, technology and fabrication. Others solved less complex problems with seemingly minimal effort, like the student project that won the Sylvia Harris award – it simply made sense. 

Did being on the jury help you as a designer?
It opened up my mind and provided clarity about why we design. Its so easy to judge something based on pictures alone, but design is really all about finding out the problem and using our skills to solve the problem.

Do you think one category (digital experience, wayfinding, etc.) has a better chance of winning over others each year?
If you have digital or wayfinding projects that can articulate how you solved something, you should definitely submit them. Also, students, send your work in! All of these categories seemed like they had a higher likelihood of winning in last year’s program.

Why have you entered the Design Awards in the past?
I’ve admired the Global Design Awards as long as I’ve known about them. As a student, the winners were the types of projects I wanted to work on and the firms that I wanted to work for. Winning celebrates your team’s hard work, elevates your status as a design firm, and allows you to stretch yourself towards better work in the future.

What advice would you have for first-time entrants?
The most important thing is to tell the story of the project; try to keep it simple and easy for the jurors to understand. What was the client’s challenge or context for the project, and how did design solve a problem?

As a juror, what did some entrants add to their submission that may have taken their project to the next level?
Hands down, digital submissions that submitted videos showing how the digital content worked were helpful, even if it wasn’t a high-quality video. For me, the most important thing was a clear, linear story. We were reading hundreds of entries, and we needed to be able to easily understand each project. Entries that had a problem and solution style narrative made the most sense and were easier to advance to the next round of judging.

We’re coming up on the final deadline, what would you say to someone who is still on the fence about entering?
Submitting work, regardless of the outcome, puts your work in the presence of your peers and increases your exposure. The process of submitting also provides an opportunity for you to gather your marketing narratives and images. Once you have your SEGD submission done, you’ll have content to use for your portfolio to promote your great work.


You’ve worked hard all year—and some of your projects are downright brilliant—so why miss out on snagging the recognition you deserve?

Submit your entries for the 2019 SEGD Global Design Awards by March 4, 11:59 PM ET!!