There are scores of web site award programs out there, some more illustrious than others. They can range from full-fledged international competitions, to a showcase style website that takes submissions from everyone. Picking a contest to enter or to follow as a source of inspiration can be a daunting task. With that in mind, here is a guide to the more reputable awards programs and websites available.
The Best of the Best
The Webby Awards – Traditionally held in early June and hosted by The International Academy of Arts and Sciences, the awards have over 100 Website, Interactive Advertising, Online Film & Video, and Mobile categories. There are two awards in each category, the Webby Award and the People’s Voice Award. Entries are usually taken starting in September through December.
Deadline: Usually in December, check website for specific dates each year
Entry Fee: Yes, there is also an early submission discounted entry fee
The American Advertising Federation ADDY Awards – Annual award that recognizes all forms of advertising from media of all types. Entrants from all levels and locations are encouraged to submit through the AAF website over a secure account. Information on local deadlines and entry fees is available from your local AAF Chapter.
Deadline: See local AAF Chapter
Entry Fee: See local AAF Chapter
Comm Arts Interactive Awards – Judged by a panel of eminent programmers, interface designers and creative directors, these awards allow any interactive project created for digital distribution to enter. The categories are Advertising, Entertainment, Information Design, Self-Promotion, and Experimental/Virtual.
Deadline: January 16, 2009
Entry Fee: $100 per web site, $125 per disk-based entry
Web Award – Now in its 12th year, the Web Award recognizes the best web sites in 96 industry categories. It is given by The Web Marketing Association which is made up of Internet marketing, online advertising, PR, and top web site designer professionals. Sites entered must be in use for at least a part of the calendar year before the competition. Judging generally takes place in July and August and winners are announced in September.
Deadline: May 31st, later submissions accepted for a $50 late fee
Entry Fee: $195 per submission, $99 for the non-profit category
Interactive Media Awards – Aimed at increasing the standards of excellence on the Internet, the Interactive Media Awards accept entries from individuals and organizations that are involved in “designing, developing, managing, supporting and promoting websites”. Nominators must be at least 18 years old, and websites hosted on free servers (such as Geocities) are not eligible. While these are annual awards, they are judged on a quarterly basis. Categories are segmented over the year, so check the website to see the deadlines for your category of interest. Winners will get the IMA Digital Award icon to display on their site.
Deadline: Varies by category, check website
Entry Fee: $125 per category entered, $75 for non-profit entries
D & AD – Known also as the Yellow Pencils, the D & AD Awards have 30 categories that cover all aspects of creative communications. The awards, among the most respected and prestigious honors in the design industry, are presented each May at a gala ceremony in London.
Deadline: January with an early deadline for a 10% discount, check the website for specific dates each year
Entry Fee: Vary by category and change yearly, last year it was $399 for an entry in the website category
Horizon Interactive Awards – Judged by a panel of industry professionals, entries are awarded either a Gold, Silver, Bronze or honorable mention distinction. Only Gold winners are eligible for the Best of Category and Best of Show awards. Acceptable media forms include websites, CD-Rom, DVD-Rom, DVD Video, Webcast/Streaming Media, Video Games, Kiosk and Video/Short Film.
Deadline: January 31st
Entry Fee: $45 per category submission
Prominent Design Annuals
Graphis – Each year the Graphis Gold and Platinum winning advertisements are printed in the Annual. It represents the best work produced globally in advertising, graphic design, photograph and illustration. Eligible work must have been completed between October and a month before the deadline for each year.
Deadline: Varies by year, check website for current dates
Entry Fee: $50-$230 depending on category
Black Book – More of a guide than a contest, Black Book provides the creative community with high quality source books to promote top talents and services. They publish six annuals: Photography, Illustration, Creative Industry Directory, RAW Magazine, AR100 Award & Resource book, Black Book ReMiX and a leading website. Each of which contain the highest quality images from talent around the world. Black Book has become an internationally trusted source for creative talent.
Deadline: Varies depending on annual
Entry Fee: Varies depending on annual and available upon request, check the website for contact info (different for each annual)
Creativity Awards – Categories include print, packaging, film/video, political, new media & web design, commercials, green marketing, alternative media and illustrations, photography & typography. The Creativity Awards Annual book showcases each of the winners from the competition. it is a great resource to uncover emerging design trends and up-and-comers.
Deadline: Usually mid-July with a $20 extension available till early August, check website for specific dates each year
Entry Fee:$55 for a single unit, $75 for a campaign
HOW Design Awards – The HOW Interactive Design Award, one of four graphic design competitions HOW magazine sponsors annually, accepts any interactive, interface or motion designs for the web, broadcast or for use on Mac or Windows platforms (i.e. CD-ROMs and DVDs). The judges ask that you include a description of the objectives of your entry. This year’s winning entries will be featured in the magazine’s April 2009 Design Annual, plus receive a $100 discount towards their annual conference. One winner will be a guest at the 2009 HOW Conference with airfare, hotel and registration paid by HOW.
Deadline: July 15th, an extension till August 1st for a $25 late fee
Entry Fee: $75 for regular submissions, $50 for students
American Design Awards – Seeks to reward graphic and web designers of all experience levels that support ethical design principles in their work. The contest provides entrants a global audience to demonstrate their talents to. There are three contests: The Monthly Design Contest, the Semi-Annual contest, and the brand new Student Design contest.
Deadline: Summer contest – August 15th (extension available till August 31st), Winter contest – February 15th (extension available till March 1st)
Entry Fee: Semi-Annual contest only – varies from $20-$125
Web Standard Awards – Specialized in XML/HTML, The Web Standards Awards’ goal is to promote web design that uses W3C standards. To enter, your web site must be HTML 4.01 or XHTML 1.0 compliant. They have a W3C validator tool on their website that determines eligibility. Exceptions may be given for typographical errors and inclusion of rich media (like Flash). There are both weekly and monthly awards.
Deadline: The Web Standard Awards are no longer accepting entries
Entry Fee: n/a
Showcases – Accept year round submissions with no fees
WebsiteDesignAwards.com – A gallery that showcases the most progressive and cutting edge Flash and CSS online projects. Websites selected demonstrated “strong visual and interaction design, have an innovative interface and a powerful and original creative concept”. Interested designers should submit their websites through the WDA website
The Best Designs – A website recognizing the best Flash and CSS sites from around the world. It is a great design resource that has content ranging from personal websites to corporate sites. The gallery is updated a few times each week with new accepted submissions. After submitting your site through theirs it usually takes about a week or two to get a response. That is if you were accepted, due to the high volume of submissions received, they only reply to those who are accepted.
Favourite Website Awards – Organization that continuously accepts website submissions into their gallery. They awards a Site of the Day and Site of the Month title, as well as a larger, more carefully judged Site of the Year competition. They only accept nominations from official site representatives or the design/development team responsible for a site.
DesignFirm Awards – Only members can submit entries, so be sure to sign up first. Your website will be judged on creativity & design, programming compatibility and ease of use & effectiveness. Each category is given a score from 1 to 33, sites must earn 65 points or more to receive the award.
Design Licks – A showcase of some of the greatest designs from all around the world. There are no deadlines or entry fees and no prizes either, just the recognition of being chosen. Every day one design is chosen as ‘Site of the Day’.
Standout Awards – A site dedicated to serving as a source of inspiration to all hoping to see the best current web work from around the world. Designers can submit their site through the Standout webpage. There are no fees or deadlines, and only a few rules: web sites must be original (no templates/clones), no sites promoting illegal activities or that violates copyright, and no sites containing adult content. Also, in order to submit an entry you must be the creator/representative of the site.
Did we leave any out? Let us know!