Not all design awards are created equal. They all have different entry criteria and conditions. Some are held in high prestige. Others less so.
Over the past year PodMarket® has won a few international design awards. We have learnt a lot going through the entire process – from entry, to announcement of award to collection of award. What has been interesting is that we have in fact learned quite a bit about the design world by going through the processes and procedures associated with various high profile awards. Prestige and provenance was a driving factor as to the few awards that we entered.
It’s quite incredible just how much they all vary from one other, even though they essentially examine the same field (furniture and interiors). All have been very accommodating and quite distinctive in what they have wanted from us. It’s an indicator (to us at least) that they are in fact all geared slightly towards different objectives.
As a general comment; the prestige associated with winning design awards is one thing, however the whole process can best be described as a Catch 22. On the one hand, there are a group of high quality awards that are genuinely interested in great and innovative design regardless of the field they’re in. They do their best to determine what they deem is good/great design and thus promote the winning designers and their businesses accordingly. On the other hand, there is also a business side to their existence. High profile awards (regardless of the category or class) actually require lots of interest, entries, recognition and essentially applications to keep their status and reputations right up where they want them to be. Prestige after all, comes at a cost! Hence the long and massively varied list of things that they want from the designers.
So far PodMarket® has won awards in Italy, Germany and the United States. We have also entered an award here in Australia, but interestingly we didn’t even make it onto the shortlist here at home. Not sure what that tells us???
In our experience, the German Design Council was very efficient and “to the point with their requirements”. This may not be surprising to anyone. They laid it all out on the table very early on and you knew exactly what was required from you. The only exception to this was the fact that we had to provide all of our “boilerplates” in both English and German, and their website wouldn’t accept anything (in terms of an acceptable entry) until this was done. The character limit was also an issue to deal with where translations were involved. Luckily, Harry’s cousin married a German and we had some inside help with these time consuming translations. Thank you Ralf! You could only submit 5 images and your descriptions had to be concise and on topic. Prestige = efficiency and completeness.
The Italians’ process was super impressive too, but in a different way. These awards were prolific in their detailed explanations and correspondence. Their emails contained soooooo much information and had many embedded hyperlinks, that it became quite a large job to assimilate them all. We even needed to run a separate spreadsheet to co-ordinate all the dates, as they were getting the better of us. The Italians wanted all sorts of extra stuff too, and we couldn’t quite work out why. A few late nights (and a few chiantis) were part of this process. Then it hit us as soon as we were notified of our success. By filling out over 100 interview style questions and loading all sorts of images in very, very specific formats and sizes (even a great number without the furniture itself), the A’ Design Awards then produced a very impressive, fully detailed and professional Press Kit. Nice surprise that one and a big grazie to them and their impressive automated processes. Prestige = marketing and communication.
The Americans had the luxury of co-ordinating the oldest and arguably the most famous design award of all – The Good Design Awards, based in Chicago. We believe this was their 68th year! Their requirements were far more flexible. There were certainly suggestions as to the number of images and videos to include, but you as the designers had to make up your own minds as to the best way to present your work. What was remarkable however, was their willingness to answer any specific questions or issues that one might have in a great deal of detail. This really helped streamline the process, and resulted in a very tailored and effective application. I guess when you’ve been running the awards for almost 70 years, you learn a thing or two along the way. Prestige = provenance and flexibility.
The Australian awards were a lot more relaxed and laid back as one might expect. Not a heap of categories to select from – only 8 in total. Not a lot of information was required to provide and in general there were not too many constraints or suggestions. Here you have a lot more flexibility to handle things however you like. Prestige = minimalism.
Anyway, the above is just an information dump to show how different these awards are, and how differently they handle things. They all still need applications and entry fees to be paid, but the way they go about this is very different indeed. The bottom line is that we here at PodMarket® are very happy with the acknowledgement of our various winning designs. and we’d like to thank each of the awards committees for their input and feedback.