Start Here: Tips for Entering the SEGD Global Design Awards

“The start is what stops most people.”

Don Shula was probably talking about football (not design competitions), but the famed coach’s wise words hold just as true for designers as for football players, or anyone with a worthwhile pursuit. Starting is always the hard part.

Starting your submission for the 2016 SEGD Global Design Awards can be easy, though—especially if you start with some insider secrets about how to prepare a winning entry. We conferred with 2016 Design Awards Chair Stephen Minning(BrandCulture, Sydney) and past SEGD jurors for tips to help you create a standout entry for any design competition. Here goes:

Be strategic.
Recognize that entering design competitions is a worthwhile investment and an integral part of your marketing process. So be thoughtful about it. Gather information about the competitions relevant to building your firm’s reputation; know the deadlines and submission protocol for each. As you finish projects throughout the year, consider whether they’re competition-worthy and start files that will document them and help you easily build competition entries later.

Start early.
Most competitions are managed online these days. The SEGD online entry portal, for example, allows you to start competition entries in one session and go back to them again and again until you’re done. That said, you'll want to know the full extent of the competition requirements early on so you know how to manage your time. Front-loading the process will ensure you do your projects justice.

Pick the right category.
Carefully review the competition categories and make sure your project belongs there. If not, you’re not giving your work a fair chance. The SEGD Global Design Awards includes 7 categories, explained in detail here.You are welcome to enter your project in more than one to cover your bases. 

Coordinate with your collaborators.
Competitions can be expensive and time-consuming, so if you think one of your project collaborators may be just as proud of the work as you, work together on the submission so you can share the cost and work. SEGD jurors often see the same projects entered multiple times, and the discrepancies can be potentially confusing for them and less than ideal for your chances of winning. 

Choose the right visuals.
Carefully select the photos or images that best represent your project. Quality wins over quantity every time: a few great photos are better than a lot of “okay” ones. Professional photographs will showcase your work best, but if you’re taking your own, provide a mix of detail and overview/wide shots and, for the SEGD Design Awards, choose the most visually arresting photo as your cover or “hero” shot (the first one the jury sees). Provide a video, but only if it adds to the jurors’ understanding of the project.

Words matter (a lot).
Don’t skimp on the description portion of the entry. Jurors are seeing hundreds of entries, so they need to get a quick, succinct narrative of your project. Most important: What was the client’s objective or problem and how did your design solution solve it? Get to the heart of the matter, and do it quickly. In the SEGD Design Awards, make good use of the captions to add vital details.

“The most compelling entries show and tell us a story about your methodology, creative solution and execution with a clear, concise description and high-quality imagery,” notes Minning.

Make 2016 your year to shine.
You can’t win if you don’t enter, so what are you waiting for? Get started here!
If you’re having trouble getting off the starting line, call or email the SEGD staff with questions (202.638.5555 / [email protected]).

New Member Offer

Click to access the 2020 "Never been an SEGD member before" $185 sign up offer

Upcoming SEGD Events

2021 Wayfinding and Placemaking
2021 Exhibition and Experience Design
2021 Branded Environments