Now open: the world's biggest design awards contests

We all want to be recognised for our creative work, but most of us never think it could be us who wins a design award. But entries to the world's biggest design competitions have to come from somewhere, and if you don't enter, how will you ever know?

Also, don't think that it's only the best agencies or most well-known designers who win design awards - they don't. Whether you’re new at what you do or established in your field, there are categories for every level.

Of course, there are many, many design awards contests across the globe, and some more local or more niche events may suit you better. But it's always good to aim high, so here are five of the biggest worldwide design awards contests currently seeking submissions from the worldwide design community...

Words: Jess Petrella

01. Webby Awards

design awards

The Webby Awards are the most prestigious in the web design industry

Honouring the best of the web, the Webby Awards were established in the late 90s and are the leading international design awards for website creators. The 2012 competition brought in over 10,000 entries from over 60 countries, boasting over 1.2 billion media impressions worldwide. These awards are dripping in prestige - do you or your agency have what it takes?

  • Entry deadline: December 21, 2012
  • Entry fee: $295
  • Categories: websites, interactive advertising, online video, mobile & apps, social
  • Prizes: winning title for your category + major recognition

Apply online at

02. Sony World Photography Awards

Sony's World Photography Awards have many levels and categories to enter

Sony's World Photography Awards have many levels and categories to enter

Brought to you by the World Photography Organization, the Sony World Photography Awards is the leading global photo awards programme. With many levels of competitions and categories, there’s a place for photographers of all abilities to enter. Submit your best flicks for a chance to win one of the amazing prize packs.

  • Entry deadline: January 4, 2013
  • Fee: none
  • Categories: Professional competition, open competition, youth award, student focus, 3D award
  • Prizes: Professional competition: 25k + an exhibition + Sony camera equipment + flight to London + more. Open Competition: 5k + photo exhibited + sony camera equipment + flight to London + more.

Apply online at

03. Communication Arts Illustration Competition 2013

design awards

Win Communication Arts' Illustration Competition and you'll get a massive career boost

The most prestigious illustration competition in the world, winning the Communication Arts Illustration Competition places you in the highest ranks of your profession. Any illustration first produced or printed from January 2012 to January 2013 is eligible. There’s a $10 late fee, so don’t get stuck paying it and apply today!

  • Entry deadline: January 4th, 2013
  • Fees: $35/ single entry, $70/ series entry
  • Categories: Advertising, books, editorial, for sale, institutional, motion/animation, self-promotion, unpublished
  • Prizes: Featured in one annual distributed worldwide and on

Apply online at

04. AniFest - 12th International Festival of Animated Films

design awards

The internationally renowned AniFest event takes place in the Czech Republic

Celebrating the best of film animation from around the world, these annual animations awards are brought to the world by the partnership of AniFest and Kultura 21, based in Teplice, Czech Republic. If your work falls into any of these categories, take a shot at international acclaim by entering this prestigious competition.

  • Deadline: December 20th, 2012
  • Fees: Free
  • Categories: Short animated films 5-15-60 mins of length, Feature Length Films, Student category, Animated televisions films/series, Animated commercials/jingles, Animated music video, Non-narrative/experimental, Animated videos.
  • Prizes: 10 monetary & 4 non-monetary prizes will be awarded

Apply online at

05. A’ Design Awards

design awards

The A' Design awards gives prizes in a massive 80 categories

The A’ Design Awards is a competition that highlights the best design, design concepts, and design oriented products worldwide. With a very intense judging process, only the finest work is selected to win in each of its whopping 80 categories.

  • Deadline: February 28th, 2013
  • Fees: Early: 225 € / Standard: 300 € / Late: 375 €
  • Categories: 80 total categories! To name a few: Packaging, Furniture Design, Fashion Design, Advertising, Social Design, Sound Design, Print & Published media, + Much more!
  • Prizes: Major winning prize packs include: Award trophy, extensive PR campaign, press releases published both online and in print, and more!

To find out more about the A’ Design Awards and apply, visit

Jess Petrella is a multimedia designer living and creating in Ottawa, Ontario. She has over 5 years experience designing and developing client-accessible, cross-platform compatible websites. She'd love you to follow her on Twitter.

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