Jury’s Tips on Winning International Design Awards


This article comes from the perspective of a juror who are very experienced in judging international design awards.

This juror wishes to make each design work well-received and help more young designers shine on an international level. Here are 8 tips for people who wish to compete in any International Design Awards.


No. 1 Use an Accurate Title & Pain Points


       The title of your work does not need to be too long. Lengthy headings could easily make jury to lose interest in the work itself. Therefore, having a simple, precise and direct heading is crucial. Pain points in challenge must be explained in a way that juries can immediately feel as well as relate to. The description of your work should be clear, such as who the target user is, what problem needs to be solved and what kind of value is created, etc.


No. 2 Showcase A Complete Process


       A complete design process should include the following elements: research, insight, design blueprint, highlights, impact. The research should include the number of samples, the work process, the people interviewed, and the number of rounds of iterations, etc. The relationship between the process and challenge needs to be clear, and the result should align with the challenge.


No. 3 On Trend Aesthetics


Don’t underestimate aesthetics. Today’s society has a high standard for visual communication. Therefore, presenting your work with great visuals is key. However, do not over-emphasize on visuals to the point where it becomes too strong compared to the thesis of your work, which is the foundation of your presentation. Keep the visuals simple and creative instead of trying to be fancy.


No. 4 Unique Design Solution


      Your design approach needs to be specific, clear and understandable. Most importantly, it needs to be innovative, not just something that already exists in the industry. Make sure to still highlight all the main points of your design even if it is the result of an iteration.


No. 5 Pick the Correct Category


       Before submitting your work, first, ask yourself if it falls under any of the entry categories. Do research on the difference between product design, interaction design and service design.


No. 6 Label Your Student Work


       Many international awards have a category specifically for student works. If a student’s work is completed during an internship at a large company, it is important to clarify which part of the work was completed by a team and or the student participated in. Individual work and team’s work must be identified for a fair review as well as avoiding unnecessary ambiguity.


No. 7 Clearly Express Your Points in English


       For non-native English speakers, you must ask a native English speaker to help you correct your wordings before submitting your work. The jury might miscomprehend your design if you don’t do so.


No. 8 Show Value Creation Beyond Money


       International awards generally focus on the evaluation of design, while also encouraging contestants to validate the value of their works with numbers. But, just being profitable is far from enough. Business cases should present values and impact beyond business. It is recommended that all contestants go one step further to think about how to create more social values (humanity, caring of vulnerable groups, etc.).


These eight points listed above are based on the juror’s combined review experience of dozens of international awards and the reviews of tens of thousands of designs.


When asked for her experience as a member of service design award juror, she said:

“Judging service design is very different from judging physical products. The judging process of the service design award involves a lot of work, such as in-depth reading of the cases, comparison analysis between works, and continuous discussions between the juries. This is even more challenging than judging thousands of physical product entries in a day or two.”


Who is this juror?


Cathy Huang, the initiator of SDN(Service Design Network) Shanghai, the founder of CBi China Bridge, and also co-founders of the Successful Design platform. Cathy is looking forward to seeing more young people stand out and become more expressive of themselves by improving their research skills and thinking skills, so they can better perform at an international level to help propel the rise of design power.