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The 17 Best Graphic Design Competitions, Awards & Contests

Design awards and competitions

Graphic design competitions, awards and website features are a great opportunity to gain recognition for your design work within the creative community and get noticed by potential clients and future employers. Plus, a list of features looks impressive on your CV and helps you stand out from other job applicants.

Showcasing your work online in a consistent way should be part of your overall strategy in getting your work noticed. But this shouldn’t be just limited to your website, Instagram and Behance—it’s important to also reach out to other online publications like magazines and blogs to draw in a wider global audience. If your work gets featured on a top art and design blog, the work can go viral.

We rounded up a list of our favorite graphic design awards, competitions and blogs where you can submit your project:

1. D&AD Impact Awards

D&AD design awards

D&AD Impact recognizes original and transformative ideas. Across all categories, they accept projects that are already out in the world making a real and positive difference. Each year, awards are given to creative work across commercial design, advertising, production and craft with 200+ judges globally. You can submit your work from editorial design to illustration, UX, animation and typography.

The deadline is typically in mid-February.

2. D&AD New Blood Awards

The New Blood Awards are open to current students, graduates and creatives starting out in the industry. If you’re interested in a career in advertising and design, then this is a great opportunity for you to get a headstart in the industry. As part of your submission, you have the option to choose from a wide variety of different briefs, there is no limit to how many you apply to. For a taste of companies that you could possibly submit a brief to include Audible, BBC, Spotify and Penguin Books.

The deadline is typically in mid-March.

3. AGDA Best Design Awards

agda design awards

The AGDA organization is known for representing the Australian communication design industry with members across the creative industry from communications to technology. For the annual AGDA Awards, the submission categories include identity, print, publications, packaging, digital and motion—aiming to highlight top talents. As part of the judging process, work is selected based on innovative expression, concept execution and relevance to the audience.

Check out the Shillumni who received the AGDA distinction and finalist award from 2020 and 2019 to get inspired!

The submission period opens in early June.

4. Indigo Awards

Indigo Awards 2021

Want to know what it takes to win an Indigo Award? Well, check out this list of Shillumni and Shillington teacher winners from 2020 to get inspired. The awards aim to promote creativity and top talent from around the world in graphic design, digital, mobile and game design that is open to applicants globally as long as the work is five years old or less. Whether you’re a student, recent graduate, experienced designer or design studio, the awards are open for your projects in a wide variety of categories.

The deadline is typically the end of February. 

5. ADC Annual Awards

ADC Awards

The One Club for Creativity announces the ADC awards open call every year and they open submissions to industry professionals with the aim of highlighting innovation. Submissions categories are broad, including advertising, digital media, graphic design, packaging design, motion, experiential design, photography, illustration and fashion design.

The deadline is typically in mid March.

6. The Design Kids Awards

The Design Kids Awards

The Design Kids Awards are a wonderful opportunity to get noticed by the global design community. It’s free to enter, but the only requirement is that you must have studied within the year of the awards deadline or the year prior. Typically, thirty winners are selected and get an interview feature, social media shout-out and promotion to creative studios around the world. They always have an impressive lineup of judges from top studios and well-regarded designers.

The deadline is typically in mid January.

7. TDC Typeface Design Competition

TDC Type Competition

The Type Directors Club hosts an annual international typeface competition dedicated to typography and new typeface design. For submissions, your work will need to have been created in the same year of the competition open call and will be judged by a panel of leading international designers who will be basing their selections on your usage of the letterform. Winners will be awarded a Certificate of Typographic Excellence.

The deadline is typically the end of January.

8. The Young Ones ADC Competition

The Young Ones Awards

The One Club for Creativity aims to empower and show the work of students and creative professionals starting out in their careers. To be eligible to apply, applicants must be 18 or older, enrolled in a course or graduating within the year of the competition. As part of the competition, applicants are tasked with a brief to create work for a client and the selections are judged based on the originality and creativity of the submission.

The deadline is typically the first week of April.

9. World Brand Design Student Awards

World Brand Society Awards

The World Brand Design Society Student Awards is open to both creatives and students, highlighting design institutions and student work from around the world. It’s a wonderful opportunity for new talent to get their foot in the door in the industry! The submission categories include brand design, packaging, print communication, retail design, interactive digital and consumer brand design.

The deadline is typically the first week of December.

10. World Brand Design Freelance Design Awards

World Brand Society Awards

The World Brand Design Society also has Creative Design Awards open to freelancers working in design, photography, illustration and other creative fields. The submissions are reviewed based on their purpose, relevance, creativity, innovation and delivery of the project. Students can submit their work as long as they are enrolled at a school and under the age of 30.

The deadline is typically at the beginning of December.

11. Communication Arts Typography Competition

CA Typography Competition

The Communication Arts typography competition showcases the best use of typography in design and advertising, in addition to typeface design, calligraphy and hand lettering. The categories for submission range from advertising, brochures, packaging, books, digital, identity, student work, hand lettering and more.

The deadline is typically in early September.

12. Communication Arts Design Competition

CA Design Competition

The Communication Arts Design competition is open for projects that are printed, published or completely new. Judges are working professionals within the design industry and all winners will be showcased in the global Communication Arts Design Annual publication. It’s a great publication for global exposure.

The deadline is typically in early May.

13. GDUSA Awards

GDUSA Awards

The American Graphic Design Awards is open to all and features the best designs of the year—featuring work from studios, agencies, inhouse, freelancers, students and designers. The categories for entry is broad—from advertising and branding to editorial and packaging.

Check out the Shillington winners from the 2020 and 2019 GDUSA awards.

The deadline is typically in early December.

14. World Packaging Design

The World Packaging Design Society showcases international packaging design and aims to promote the practices of the packaging design industry, supporting design professionals and helping to contribute to packaging design education globally. You can submit your corporate brand design or consumer packaging work for consideration to be featured on their website.

No submission deadline.

15. Packaging of the World

Packaging of the World is a platform for your professional or student projects to gain exposure for your work. The editors are looking for interesting and creative packaging designs and base their selections on aesthetics, uniqueness, usefulness, inspiration and culture. For ideas on what the curators are looking for in a submission and examples of Shillington student work that was featured in the past, check these 5 beautiful projects.

No submission deadline.

16. Lovely Package

Lovely Package is a great opportunity for agencies and students to show their packaging work to a global audience on a large scale. The editors choose work from a wide range of products and will feature the best work. Check their site for some daily inspiration!

No submission deadline.

17. The Dieline

The Dieline is the most popular packaging design website highlighting the value of packaging design for brands around the world. You can submit your professional and student packaging projects to be reviewed by The Dieline editors. They want to see an innovative, unique perspective and an angle that hasn’t been covered before. To get ideas on what the editors are looking for, review their tips and guidelines of the submission requirements.

No submission deadline.

We’re very proud of the extraordinary talents of our graduates and the work they produced within 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time. To get inspired, check out the graphic design awards they won!

Curious to learn more about design and a career as a graphic designer? You can become a graphic designer in just three months full-time or nine months part-time with Shillington’s innovative graphic design course. Study on campus in London, Manchester, New York, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane or study online from wherever you are in the world. 

Artwork by #ShilloNY Teacher Shrenik Ganatra.

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