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2021 Design Awards

Call for entries

Call for Entry Opens: December 7, 2020

Final Deadline: March 5, 2021

Eligibility Period: March 2020 – March 2021

Get the recognition your work deserves

For 30 years, Applied Arts Awards has maintained a benchmark of creative excellence. We are committed to celebrating all the great work out there. Winning a Design Award will get you the creative boost you deserve with added exposure to an international community of more than 115,000 creative and marketing professionals. Clients look for top talent, and the industry pays attention. Winning awards is a win-win!

So show us — and the creative world — what you've poured your heart and soul into over the past year. The winning work chosen by our 2021 Design jury will get the recognition it deserves.

This is an international competition open to all forms of commissioned, published, unpublished, and personal Design work, including these and many more categories:

  • Design: Brochures, Environmental Design, Experiential/Event, Brand Identity, Pro Bono, Public Service.
  • Editorial Design: Books or publications
  • Packaging Design: Beverages, Consumer Products, Retail applications
  • Promotional Design: Point-of-Sale messaging, Premium/Gift Item, Promotional collateral.
  • • Typography Design: Applications for Corporate, Digital, Editorial, Packaging.
  • • Entire Design Programs: Corporate Identity, Entire Design, Guerrilla Marketing.
  • • COVID-19 Response: For the positive design applications you've created under these difficult times.
  • • Craft, Young Blood, Community … and more.

Be sure to review the Call for Entry kit and 2021 Categories kit for important information and tips on entering.

2021 Call for Entry Kit 2021 Design Awards Categories Kit



2021 Design Awards Jury

There is no one more critical of the work of designers than designers themselves. Every year, we invite a new jury – from across Canada and beyond – to uphold our benchmark of excellence for the best design work in corporate, editorial, packaging, promotional, typography, digital and more. Collectively, they have been awarded by every prestigious show you can name. Separately, they have unique backgrounds and levels of experience, lending both fresh perspectives and seasoned eyes to the mix. Together, they will choose the winners of our 2021 Design Awards. Here is this year's jury:

Judging Process

All work is entered digitally and judged digitally. There are no hard copies. Therefore, please read our RECOMMENDED BEST PRACTICES, in the 2021 Category Kit to see how you can help our judges.

The judges are divided into groups, with each viewing a different and random group of entries. Each judge reviews and scores entries separately. Judges do not confer or discuss their work, and there is only one round of judging.

Entries are given one total score, based on three criteria only:

  1. Creative merit
  2. Technical excellence
  3. Suitability for end use in the category into which it is submitted.

NOTE: Young Blood, Community and COVID-19 Response entries are judged with the level of experience and/or available resources taken into consideration.


Eligibility

Open internationally to all forms of commissioned, published, unpublished and personal work from professionals and enthusiasts created between March 2020 and March 2021 (but not entries that have been submitted into last year's competition). Only digital entries are accepted for this competition.

Young Blood
For professionals that have graduated within the last 5 years.

Community
Exclusively for Canadian artists and firms working in smaller communities or with smaller businesses or budgets, to help them get the recognition they deserve.

To be eligible to enter Community Categories, you must be Canadian and meet one of the following criteria:

Students
There is a stand-alone awards competition for students studying in a creative arts program at the post-secondary or high school level. Work from any year of study is eligible and may be entered up to one year after graduation. Students are only eligible to enter the Student Awards competition.


Categories & Entry Fees

Entry fees vary per sub-grouping and category. Please be sure to download the 2021 Design Awards Categories Kit for detailed pricing.

ENTIRE DESIGN PROGRAMS - $125
Complete Brand Identity - NEW
Complete Rebrand Identity Program – NEW
Entire Design Program
Entire Packaging Design Program
Entire Promotional Design Program
Guerrilla Marketing Program – NEW
Pro Bono/PSA/Charity Design Program – NEW

DESIGN – SINGLE: $65/SERIES: $85*
Annual Report
Brochure/Catalogues
Calendar Design
Environmental Design (Signage, Complete Environment, Experiential/Event)
Infographics
Brand Identity (Logo design, Rebranded Logo and Applications)
Poster
Pro Bono/Public Service/Charity
Unpublished/Personal

EDITORIAL DESIGN – SINGLE: $65/SERIES: $85*
Book Design
Publication Design

PACKAGING DESIGN – SINGLE: $65/SERIES: $85*
Beverages (Alcohol and Alcohol-Free)
Consumer Products
Food
Retail Applications

PROMOTIONAL DESIGN – SINGLE: $65/SERIES: $85
Artist/Design Firm Promotions
Point-of-Sale Messaging
Premium/Gift Item
Promotional Collateral
Promotional Messaging

TYPOGRAPHY – SINGLE: $85/SERIES: $125*
Corporate Application
Digital Application
Environmental/Experiential Application

TYPEFACE DESIGN – SINGLE: $65/SERIES: $85

CRAFT – SINGLE: $65/SERIES: $85
Calligraphy/Hand Lettering
Motion/Animation
Illustration
Photography
Printing/Bindery/Finishing

DIGITAL DESIGN – CONTENT/WEBSITE SINGLE: $100
Content
Apps (Desktop, Mobile/Tablet)
Augmented & Virtual Reality
Editorial – Digital Editions
Experimental/Innovative - NEW
Gaming
Social/Viral Promotional
Self-promotion

Website
Business-to-Business
Consumer Products
Consumer Services
E-commerce
Educational/Reference
Entertainment, Art & Tourism
Public Service/Charity
Responsive Design
Self-Promotion

MOTION DESIGN – SINGLE: $100/SERIES: $150*
Educational and explanatory, social media, event or online graphics

YOUNG BLOOD, COMMUNITY AND COVID-19 RESPONSE - SINGLE: $50/ SERIES: $65/CAMPAIGN: $85

*Rates vary by sub-grouping and categories. Refer to the Design Categories kit for details.


Entry Material Guidelines

All entries are submitted digitally only. Hi-res, final files are to be submitted for judging. These files will be used for publication, if selected as a winner.

Main Entry Files

REQUIRED
Your Main Entry File(s) must clearly show the creative to be judged (ideally with no additional graphics) in hi-res format.

PERMITTED

*Exceptions are noted in specific categories.

IMPORTANT NOTE RE MULTI-PAGE PDFS: Use a multi-page PDF to incorporate any additional images into the maximum number of files allowed (e.g. the image in context, inside pages from a book, or multiple views of 3-dimensional entries such as packaging).

NOT PERMITTED
Case-studies are not permitted as your Main Entry File. See below for more info.

Support Files

Support Files are for clarity to assist the judges. They are not for publication (except where noted) and do not count towards the file limitations noted above. Upload these to the "Entry Supporting Materials" sub-section of ENTRY MATERIALS on the entry form.

Please note these important required vs. optional Support Files for certain entries:

REQUIRED
~ English translations for French (other language) entries:  Include any important text (e.g. book titles, and headlines) either as a Support File or within a multi-page PDF as your Main Entry File.

PERMITTED
~ Case–studies: While not recommended (as outcomes are not a criteria for judges in scoring), case–studies can be added ONLY as a Support File and should be limited to max. 45 seconds. REMINDER: You must include the actual creative to be judged as your Main Entry File.
~ Explanatory notes for the judges: Although not recommended (except where noted in a category), brief descriptions/explanations of up to 50 words may be added for clarity (or up to 10 seconds for video files).

NOT PERMITTED
~ Entering URLs of the same creative as a Support File: (i.e. don't also submit a URL link, if you've already submitted the MP4 as your Main Entry File). However, available links to non-static creative are requested in the Winners Information section for publishing in the online Winners Gallery.

Acceptable File formats

STILLS

MOTION

URL

RECOMMENDED BEST PRACTICES

Entries are judged online. Here's how to help the judges:


How To Enter

The entry form consists of five steps. You will have the option to save your progress during each step of the process.

Create your 'MY ENTRIES' Account.

This is your Applied Arts Awards account for all Awards competitions. Once logged in personal account information can be updated, a new entry can be started, copied from an existing one, or edited, and you can pay for all or some entries.

Bookmark https://www.appliedartsmag.com/myentries/ for easy access to your account later.

NOTE: If you've entered the Applied Arts Awards previously, please use the email address associated with your account.

All entrants must complete an online entry form in My Entries, regardless of payment method, to be eligible for entry.

Step 1: entry information

Select from one of the Awards competitions, choose a sub-group, category and add your entry title.

Step 2: Entry Materials

Entry format: All entries are to be submitted digitally only. See ENTRY MATERIAL GUIDELINES section above for detailed specifications and helpful tips.

Step 3: Winners' Information

Everything entered in this section is for publication only and is not visible to the judges. Please review the information carefully. There will only be 48 hours to edit this information after the Winners have been notified.

The 'Winner' field is the primary company or individual you want to be credited on the piece (i.e. company name, photographer, illustrator, Young Blood, etc.).

NOTE: In the instance that a team (e.g. AD & writer) worked together (typically for the Young Blood or Student categories), enter only the first individual of the team as in the "Winner" field. The other team member(s) should be added in the CREATIVE CREDITS section. (See Step 4: CREATIVE CREDITS for further explanation on how to enter additional names so that they are properly credited as "Winners").

Optional fields: Phone, email, web address, social handles, and the URL to the winning entry (typically, for websites and motion entries). If these are entered, they will be published beside your winning work.

NOTE: We recommend including the URL as, due to file sizes, we don't upload the MP4 files directly for viewing in the Winners Gallery. They are only used for judging.

Description of Entry: For the purpose of providing a brief creative summary of the project to be published beside your winning entry. The description is limited to a maximum of 500 characters (includes spaces).

NOTE: "Descriptions of Entry" are for publication use only and are not shown to the judges.If additional clarity is needed for the judges, a description/explanation, it may be added to either your Main Entry file(s) or as a Support File. Please limit it to 50 words or a max 10-second intro for motion.

Step 4: Creative Credits

Credits are a summary of the individuals or companies that have worked on the project.

A credit can be designated with an individual's name or an organization. A credit role is a job function (e.g. Creative Director, or Production House). Multiple names can be assigned to one credit role (i.e. if you have two Creative Directors, they are counted as only one credit role).

A maximum of 6 creative credit roles will be published in the Annual, however, any/all creative credits you entered will appear in the online Winners Gallery.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

Step 5: Certificate information

Winners will receive one certificate for each winning entry. Complete the winning company/individual and/or client you wish to appear on the certificate. The entry title and the category the project won in will automatically be included on the certificate. You will have the opportunity to order additional certificates once winners have been notified.

Next: Finalizing Your Entry
After Step 5, the entry form is complete. Press the 'Save' button to return to 'My Entries' dashboard to submit a new entry, copy an existing entry to a new category, or submit payment.

IMPORTANT: A submitted entry is not final and entered in the competition until it's paid for. You may edit an entry at any time until it's been paid. Once payment has been processed, it is final.


Payment & Refunds

Entry fees vary. Check the categories kit for each Awards competition for entry fees. Some or all of the entries can be paid for at any given time – just select which entries to pay. Once an entry is paid it is officially in the competition and cannot be modified.

Payments can be made by Interac, Visa, MasterCard or American Express (AmEx is for Canadian payments only at this time), or PayPal. For US and international entry fees are payable in US funds.

We only accept cheque, money order or direct deposit in special circumstances. These cases must be pre-approved. Contact awards@appliedartsmag.com with your request.

If you are entering a piece as both a Single and as part of a Series, ensure there are two separate entries on My Entries - one for the Series and one for the Single.

Keep a record of your submissions.


Winners

All entrants will be notified by April 2021 via email. At that time, you will have only 48 hours to correct or finalize any creative credits and descriptions that may or may not have completed when entering.

To ensure you don't miss the results notifications, add winners@appliedartsmag.com to your address book.

What Winners receive

ADD-ON OPPORTUNITIES FOR WINNERS*

  • Order additional certificates for your creative team, client, etc. with an option to order a plaque-mounted certificate
  • Order a personalized, engraved Awards trophy. This attractive and original lucite cube is 3.5x3.5x3.5 square inches

*Additional fees apply


Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility FAQ

Can students enter? No. Students may enter the Student Competition. Go here for categories, eligibility and deadlines for the Student Awards competition.

Can I enter something I entered last year? Not in the same competition, but if it meets the eligibility period for a different competition, then yes.

Can I enter something in multiple Awards competitions? Yes. Each competition has different eligibility periods, please check each competition for eligibility requirements.

Judging FAQ

Will the judges see my descriptions during the judging? Judges do not see the creative descriptions you have entered. These are only for publishing beside your entry if chosen as a winner. If you feel judges need an explanatory note, you may include a brief description as a Support File (no more than 50 words or 10 seconds for broadcast/video).

Categories FAQ

Can I enter a piece in multiple categories? Yes. In your account on the My Entries home page, click "Copy" on any entry you've created. Be sure to change the discipline and/or entry category to the new one you want to submit to.

Which category does my entry belong in? Often the best way to understand a category is to see previous work that won in that category. Check our online winners Gallery for examples. If you still have questions regarding our categories or require assistance in selecting the appropriate category, contact awards@appliedartsmag.com.

NOTE: Applied Arts reserves the right to move an entry to another category if we feel it unsuitable or incorrectly categorized.

What is a single, series, and campaign? A single means one piece. Series means you are submitting more than one piece of the same project to a maximum of three. If an entry contains more than the specified images, we will either contact you to split the submission into multiple entries, or choose which ones will be judged, so it's best to stick to the indicated numbers for single or series.

What is the Young Blood category? Young Blood is a series of categories open only to entrants who have been out of school up to a certain number of years (three for Design and Illustration, and five for Design and Advertising). As with all categories, they are judged on creative excellence, technical merit and suitability for end use, but the jury also takes into account the level of professional experience. You will be required to specify the name of the Young Blood entrant to qualify.

What is the Community category? The Community Awards was our newest Awards program, launched in 2017, to help Canadian artists and studios working on smaller communities or with smaller budgets local clients get the recognition they deserve. In 2019, Community Awards categories were rolled into each of the four competitions (Design, Illustration, Design and Advertising) for added exposure.

Entry Material FAQ

At what specs do I need to submit my entry? Refer to ENTRY MATERIAL GUIDELINES section for specifications.

Can I submit a hard copy or disk? No. Only digitally-uploaded entries are accepted.

The program crashed. Did I lose everything? No - you are saving your work as you go through each section of the entry form. If the program crashes as you are completing a certain section, it may not have saved that section.

The file I uploaded won't show me a preview. Why? You may not see the image preview if you haven't followed the specs outlined in ENTRY MATERIAL GUIDELINES. Check your file and re-upload. If you continue to experience difficulties, try clearing your browser history or contact awards@appliedartsmag.com.

I uploaded the wrong file. Can I change it? Yes. You can resubmit images at any time until payment is made. Click the 'X' beside the appropriate file and re-upload your image.

NOTE: The thumbnail image may not correctly display your new image. If this happens close your browser and log back into My Entries for the changes to show. If you continue to experience difficulties, try clearing your browser history or contact awards@appliedartsmag.com.

Rights FAQ

Do I need to get the rights of the subjects or material used from external sources in my entry? It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure copyright is not infringed. Upon entry you must grant us the rights to reproduce the image or images for both our online and print publications, so you would most likely need to have these rights in place to protect yourself. Although you do not need to send us a copy of the release forms, we do suggest that you have them. Entrants who request we don't run their winning work because they don't have the rights will not be refunded for their entry. NOTE: Student work is often exempt from copyright rules.

What rights do I retain if my work is chosen? You retain all rights to your images.

My client has revoked the right for me to enter work I've won for. What do I do? We do not issue refunds in these cases, but please contact awards@appliedartsmag.com if you need the entry removed from the Winners' pool.

Payment FAQ

Can I submit more entries after paying? Yes. In My Entries, you will have the opportunity to submit additional entries even if others already entered have been paid. This will simply generate a new confirmation email when you complete your entries with payment.

I want to change something after I've paid. What do I do? Once an entry is paid, you cannot change the category, entry format, winners information, description of entry, or credits. A paid entry is final, so check carefully before proceeding to the payment fields. As a winner, you will be given a small window of time add or edit information.

Can I get a refund? Entries are non-refundable; costs cover administration, processing and the judging of the entry. A submission of entry acknowledges acceptance of these rules.

My client has revoked the right for me to enter work I’ve already paid for. What do I do? We do not issue refunds, but contact awards@appliedartsmag.com if you need the entry removed from the judging or winners' pool.

I'm getting error messages when I try to pay. What do I do? If you entered your payment information incorrectly on your first attempt, any subsequent attempts would be declined, even if you change your payment type. Close your browser and log back into My Entries. You should now be able to proceed with payment. If you continue to experience difficulties, contact awards@appliedartsmag.com.

Winners FAQ

If I win, what image will you use for reproduction? We will use the image(s) you submitted on entry. In the case of series, complete, campaign or motion, we select a sampling at our discretion from the images/files submitted.


Contact

Questions? If you've checked all of the above sections and cannot find the answer to your question, or if you are having difficulty entering, contact awards@appliedartsmag.com.


Disclaimer

Applied Arts reserves the right to amend these rules throughout the competition. Applied Arts assumes all entries are original and the property of the entrant, with all rights granted therein. Applied Arts reserves the rights to publish or exhibit entries for our print or electronic formats, or related promotions. Entries are non-refundable. Costs cover administration, processing and the judging of the entry. Entries may be moved to more suitable category, if Applied Arts deems the category chosen unsuitable. All descriptions and credits are subject to be edited for length, clarity and grammar in accordance with the Applied Arts editorial style guide. A submission of entry acknowledges acceptance of these rules.