Opinion

Design Awards - Enter to Win

Design Awards Winners

Everyone's a winner!

November 30th, 2016

Great news! For the sixth consecutive month, we’ve won nothing!

In fact, we’ve won nothing all year, a performance equalling our record-breaking haul in 2015. And 2014 and 2013. We’re basically a machine when it comes to this stuff. If there’s an award out there, you can pretty much guarantee we haven’t won it. 

It’s not that surprising in a way, because we haven’t actually entered anything for years. You can absolutely rely on us for that too. “Typical LYD,” we say, “never the bridesmaid, never the bride.”

It’s kind of our USP actually. Or so it seems judging by all the bragging emails shouting for attention in my inbox. Award-winning design agencies, digital agencies, email agencies – you name it, they’ve won it and they want to tell me all about it. If there was an award for winning awards, they’d all probably have won that too.

Basically, it looks like everyone’s a winner. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Getting first prize is sometimes a great achievement. But only sometimes.

Win the top rosette at the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards, The Drum Marketing awards and DMA awards, and all credit to you. Worthy winners of something worth winning, selected by judges who explain exactly why the work is exceptional with strong analysis and a clear rationale.

But most of them? Meaningless. There are so many out there that the criteria for bagging a ‘Best FAQ 2016’ is just to fill in the relevant web form then turn up at the glitzy dinner. Grab that awards jpg, then plaster it all over your website. 

So you win “Best Footer on a Home Page (Regionals)”, and now you can thrill your clients with news that you’re an award-winning company.


Oh, and you’ve got to have paid the entrance fee, of course. This often mis-named ‘admin charge’ feels far closer to a bribe in my opinion. It’s like the mafia claiming the brown envelope you give them stuffed with cash is actually a processing fee. Great news – you’re now in with a chance of not having your windows put through!

So you win “Best Footer on a Home Page (Regionals)”, and now you can thrill your clients with news that you’re an award-winning company. Suddenly it’s your key selling point. ‘We’re award-winning, and that’s why we’re different from every company that’s award-winning.’

And there's the problem. These spurious competitions make us lazy, there are too many of them, and they stop us developing rationales that explain precisely why we are different. It's far too easy to be rumbled too. All your clients need to do is google the award, and if they can't find any trace of it, they might soon be googling for a new agency too.

But hey, what do we know? We're not entering anything at the moment – we're too busy redesigning some apparently award-winning packaging and an award-wining website. Why? Because they were both award-winning disaster zones.