Proof of Expertise: A Brief Overview of Design Awards.

Proof of Expertise: A Brief Overview of Design Awards.

Design awards and awards are a must. Awarding the best of the best has existed since time immemorial. So in ancient Rome there was a developed system of military awards. They were equated with a sign of military valor. Something similar exists today in all areas of business.

The creative industries are no exception. The existence of design awards develops a niche. They show that the design is in demand.

In addition, it is a marker of expertise in highly competitive and complex niches. It remains to learn to understand them. It often happens that achievement is nothing more than a symbolic attribute that has no objective value.

So what awards are serious proof of expertise and ability to create an incredible product??

We analyzed the awards in the creative sphere according to the criteria of importance, specificity and popularity. We share what happened:


Importance: 9/10 Geography: Worldwide Frequency: Non-stop Creative Areas: Graphic Design, Branding, UI / UX, Fashion, Architecture, Industrial Design Types of Awards: Blue Ribbon + Themed Galleries.

Behance is a platform for designers from all over the world. We can say that this is a social network of interests. Only instead of information about themselves, independent designers and studios post their portfolios here.

The creator and owner is Adobe, the same company that gave the world Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Lightroom. The content of the site is divided into categories, which greatly facilitates the search. Behance moderators review hundreds of cases every day, forming an editorial selection. The coolest case achievement is the blue ribbon. Works with her fall into a common feed with favorites, where the best cases in all categories are collected.

But such an award is very rare. Moderators do not award it every day and only the best of the best. Much more often you can see a gold ribbon at the case.

This is an award given to works in a specific category: architecture, brands, fashion, motion design. The gold ribbon is a marker that the work fits the definition of a modern design classic.


Importance: 8/10 Geography: Worldwide Frequency: Once a day Creative Areas: Websites & Apps Awards Types: Site of the day / week / month year + Mobile Excellence + Honorable mention.

Awwwards is an Internet resource that designers call “digital high society” in conversations among themselves. Unlike Behance, this is not a portfolio service, but a premium, where a certain payment is provided for the submission of work. 99% of websites and mobile applications are hosted here, although the latter are much smaller. Most of the works are corporate websites and unusual online stores. These are often bright, highly aesthetic works for foreign brands.

There is no point in looking for a command to create a portal or web application. Most of the work is corporate websites with a high emotional response. In the language of designers, this is what works with a wow effect are called. Every day, the editorial staff of Awwwards selects up to 10 works, which compete among themselves for the title of the site of the day. Another award is given after the site has been evaluated by a professional jury.

The site with the most points receives the Honorable mention award. In addition to awards for the desktop version, the Mobile Excellence certificate is also provided. It is issued for passing a special website speed test, which is carried out by Awwwards technical specialists in cooperation with Google..

СSS Design Awards.

Importance: 6/10 Geography: Worldwide Frequency: Once a day Areas of Creativity: Websites and Apps Types of Rewards: Site of the day / Special kudos.

CSSDA and Awwwards have an undeclared war. Their relationship is very reminiscent of the story with Cola and Pepsi. CSSDA is analogous to Awwwards with approximately the same content.

Only the time of its publication differs. The main difference between the award and Awwards is the more loyal selection criteria. It is difficult to write CSSDA into the required list, but it doesn’t dare to call it redundant..


Importance: 5/10 Geography: Worldwide Frequency: Once a day Areas of Creativity: Interactive Websites and Apps Types of Rewards: Site of the day.

The most expensive and highly extraordinary award for web designers and mobile developers. The only reward here is Site of the day. Submissions to FWA are the most complex and interactive promo sites. Dynamic works with very complex visual content are often rewarded.

So complicated that a laptop left unattended after downloading a couple of sites from a directory can easily heat up to a hot waffle iron. The choice of FWA judges is quite specific, and their personalities, unlike awwwards, are unknown. Most often, the competition is won by sites-games, interactive promotions of large brands, sites-teasers for films or special projects of international organizations such as OOH or UNICEF.

The FWA Ribbon is a prestigious award, but too specific to make it onto the must-have designer checklist.

Red dot.

Importance: 10/10 Geography: Worldwide Frequency: Once a year Areas of creativity: Industrial design, branding, web design, video production, +20 categories Types of awards: Shortlists, Agency of the year.

We think that any agency dreams of getting a Red Dot. An exception can be made by beginners and those who, for unknown reasons, do not know about one of the most significant design awards. Red Dot is a kind of “Oscar” for creatives from different categories, awarded once a year.

The level of creativity presented is what is most likely to end up in marketing textbooks and scattered across Facebook groups in the spirit of “ad masterpieces.” The red dot is difficult, expensive and time consuming. If the owner of this award is in front of you, you can be sure of the expertise.

Ukraine design: the very best off.

Importance: 4/10 Geography: Ukraine Frequency: once a year Areas of creativity: Industrial design, branding, web design, video production, +20 categories Types of awards: Shortlists.

An annual competition held as part of the Ukraine design week. The competition program includes selection of applicants, evaluation of works by a professional jury and awarding of winners in each of the nominations. Within the framework of the competition, there is also an awarding ceremony in niche categories, for example, “Design of Internet Banners”.

The number of shortlisted applicants is not limited. In addition to the main winner in popular categories, there can be up to ten prize-winners. The competition itself is an attempt to create a popular Ukrainian platform for creatives. Due to the restriction on participation of only Ukrainian companies in the competition, not a very high number of applications submitted and a large number of finalists, this is more a kind of certificate of quality than a classic prize.

But as in all competitions, the format, specificity and its significance will change over time..

Runet ratings.

Importance: 7/10 Geography: Ukraine and the CIS Frequency: once a year Areas of creativity: Web design, web development Types of awards: Ratings and prizes.

Web and mobile development is a place where creativity and technology form a symbiosis of aesthetics and code. While advertising and graphic design have been around for a long time, the web and mobile are a young niche with very high dynamics. Runet ratings are an attempt to collect all the most important creative agencies in a single list. Moderators evaluate the number of works, received awards, quality index and mark those who won prizes.

The most interesting list is the creativity rating.

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Here are the web and design studios with the largest number of awwwards / behance / fwa / cssda awards and other industry awards. The results are summed up according to a special formula and a rating is made.

The list can be filtered by Ukraine to narrow the sample.

СSS Nectar / CSS Winner / Best CSS / Web Guru.

Importance: 3/10 Geography: Worldwide Frequency: Once a day Areas of creativity: Web design, web development Types of awards: Site of the day.

There are many “second tier” awards on the internet. For convenience, we have combined them into one paragraph. Unlike awards like Awwwards, competition is low.

Applying for such awards is free or costs a little.

A few life hacks: – Talk to the agency about the awards. Surprisingly, some creatives are humble people and may not mention their credentials in a sentence or when first communicating. – A lot is not always good. Find out how the shortlisted works differ from other cases.

This usually reveals important nuances in the agency’s work, such as post-production and preparation for the award submission. – Complex design is not a festival heading. If you’re designing an online store, web service or app, pay less attention to rewards. Typically, these services contain a limited admin area and are too specific to be judged in terms of ratings – Do not be guided solely by awards. Rewards are an important marker, but cannot be judged solely by the presence of rewards.

It is important to understand the specifics, principles of work and internal processes of creatives.

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