design awards

Do design awards have any business value?

Of course - if you are actively seeking new clients. I assume that is considered of value to someone looking to grow their business…

If you’re featured in a magazine like BusinessWeek as a winner, you have just secured free advertising to BusinessWeek’s entire reader audience.

Absolutely. Advertising and publicity, normally you would pay for those. Win an award and you get them for free.

prob not so much for big corporations with established businesses (unless a group was trying to prove their value to the larger organization), but for firms and individuals I would see it having a lot of value.

Good question.

Mark, maybe you can weigh in on this one. HLB has won numerous awards over the years… have they brought any business value in your experience?

We have received phone calls from clients because we appear in the box in the Businessweek/IDSA awards. One has the idea of a corporate exec throwing the magazine down in front of another and saying…“here call one of these guys in the box”. In many cases that has lead to pitch opportunities, and that has led to business.

That said, I often wonder what others think regarding which awards carry similar weight or can be traced back to actual business.

Also, what about internal to corporations. Does winning awards lead to prestige and advancement?


Great topic, had to put my two cents in. As a new start-up design consultancy, our awards (awarded while working/consulting in previous positions to trapset, and used with their permission) have definitely given us a base of credibility and a solid marketing tool to get us started. I would have to say that the varying levels and prestige of awards are hard to pin down, and change from client to client. Most of our clientele don’t know what an IDSA Gold Award is (even though it is arguably one of the highest honors in our field), but getting to state that our work has been published in Business Week or has been deemed worthy by Consumer Reports seams to validate it to them. Honestly, I believe that a well written and smartly placed Press Release targeting your target market is extremely effective and there are no entry fees.
What I don’t believe is that the companies who are winning/have won all the awards; IDEO, ONe & Co., Ziba, Fuseproject, etc., are in any way producing the best product designs. What they are doing though is turning those awards into very good marketing and promotions campaigns which is securing them business.
My two cents, thoughts?

any more discussion? anybody?

I’m curious re the evolution of awards. As more work goes to experience and interactions and, let’s say intangibles, how will those be recognized by awards competitions?

Also if the Larger share of the world’s objects will come from places in the east is that where most of the awards will go also?

Awards always have as their basis intellectualism. As such they are all valuing something intangible. As the bulk of intellectual quotient comes from North America and Europe, that’s where the awards will continue to be located.

The worth of awards is dependent on the industry you are targeting.

I think design awards awarded by design organizations are of marginal commercial value: I am paraphrasing carlsson70 “Most of our clientele don’t know what an IDSA Gold Award is”. As these awards also are generally applied for by the owner, they aren’t realy awards per se. I think these awards may have commercial value, as Mark Dziersk relates, to like companies in like markets.

I have seen awards awarded by industry bodies then used promotionally targeted back to that same industry, negating the conundrum carlsson70 describes. In most industries, companies are most interested in your level of direct experience with their product and market, not awards.

Within an organization, work related awards are equivalent to “employee of the month”, quickly forgotten.

But my curiosity, peaked by the recent Nobel award to the micro-credit Grameen bank guy, is the effect of awards on “sustainable” anything. It seems all such sustainable____ work is itself unsustainable, more in the realm of nice concept. Will only time change this, legislation, what about many or big awards?

Absolutely. Like others have said, these awards are probably more valuable to a consultant as it lends a level of credibility and expertise to their portfolios. However, it would be interesting to compare how many leads are generated by an award winning product in a magazine vs. a regular ad placement in same magazine? Does an award carry alot of weight, or is it more about the PR?

Working for a large corporation, I think the awards are less important. If nothing else, it’s also good PR for the corporation, and shows a belief in design. It could also be used as a recruiting tool. “See, come work for a design-award winning company!”