Who can enter?

A unique feature of these Awards is that client businesses can enter jointly with design consultancies or with their own company design teams, and agencies can enter with their client businesses. The Awards are open to entries from any country, and do not need to be linked to a UK business or agency.

What can I enter?

Any design projects; either re-designs or new products that demonstrate effectiveness. The project could have launched at any time, but your entry must include some up-to-date evidence collated after 1 January 2016.

How do I enter?

You will need to read the entry pack carefully before writing a detailed yet concise description of your project, what it was expected to achieve, how the results were measured, what the results were, and crucially, the significance of those results in the wider commercial context. Once you have compiled your PDF case study, following the entry format and rules specified in the entry pack, please ensure it's been approved by the appropriate people, and submit it online.

When is the final entry deadline?

Entries need to be submitted online by 5pm GMT, 30 June 2017. This is the final entry deadline, no extensions will be granted. You can log in and amend your entry up until the final entry deadline, but after this date no further changes will be accepted.

How much does it cost?

Standard rate per entry £1,020+vat (€1,480) ($1,540)

DBA member rate per entry £520+vat (€755) ($785)


The DBA is a not for profit organisation, set up by the design industry for the design industry. By entering the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards you directly enable the ongoing delivery and development of the globally respected awards scheme, ensure the Association has the resources and evidence to champion the value of design to business and to government, and help the industry to grow and prosper.



You need to research data for your entry prior to completing your submission. This can be time consuming and you will also need the full support to obtain the type of data needed to make a convincing case for effectiveness. It is imperative to involve all parties from the outset, as experience shows that the longer you have to gather supporting data for your entry, the better.

What are the judges looking for?

Judges are looking for designs that prove beyond reasonable doubt an award-winning cause and effect between the new design and business success through tangible results. Each entry is judged on its own merits and not by comparison to other entries. You can take a look at the judging criteria and judging process for more information.

Where can I find more detail on industry sectors?

There is no requirement to specify the design 'category' or 'discipline' for your project. Instead, you will need to classify your project by industry sector. For more information on industry sectors please visit the FTSE Industry Classification Benchmark where you will find a definition of each sector. Please use column 3 headed 'sector' for the names of each sector and refer to the information in the definition column to help clarify your choice.


We are looking for fully substantiated, interesting and impactful stories around the issue of sustainability. If your design has specific environmental benefits and impact on end-users attitudes and behaviours is significant and sustained, please include full details within the summary of results section of your case study. For example, if there was a carbon saving because a product was made more lightweight, how was that benefit weighed up against the impact on recyclability? Research methods, your decision making process and the measurable results acheived will be important to supporting your case in this area. If you would like to understand more about sustainability and environmental impacts, please visit the RSA Great Recovery for more information.

Tips for success

Click here for guidance on compiling your entry, tips for evaluating success and links to some exemplary case studies, and please find answers below to some of the common questions asked about the entry process:

- Are photo captions included in the word count?

Yes, any captions that are included in the case study need to be included in the final word count for that section, as outlined in the entry pack.

- Why do I need to submit both a 'Confidential - not for publication' version and a 'For publication' version by the entry deadline?

If you have any sensitive data within your case study, you can submit a 'Confidential - not for publication' version that will only be viewed by the judges. If you submit a 'Confidential - not for publication' version, you must also submit a 'For publication' version with any sensitive data removed, failure to do this will result in an incomplete entry being recorded. Once the winners are announced in February 2018, all 'For publication' versions of winning case studies will be made available on this website.

- How many images can I include in my case study?

You can use any number of images within your case study, but you must adhere to the 12 page limit. 

- Do I need a signature from senior contact of the agency and client company?

A physical signature is not required. You will need to enter the details of the design agency’s principal/managing director or equivalent, and by an appropriate senior executive of the client into the online entry system to confirm that the entry has been approved by these senior contacts. 


If you'd like to talk to one of the team about your entry in detail, please contact awards@dba.org.uk to book your 25-minute conversation. Conversations can be booked once you pay for your entry online and will be accommodated on a first come first served basis. Free for DBA members, £35+vat for non-members.

A conversation with one of the team can help with the following elements of your entry:

  • Any questions about the entry process answered.
  • Ensuring your submission is on the right track.
  • Flagging any areas that are missing.
  • If your project is suitable.

What we can't help with:

  • Specific details about the market the entry is submitted into.
  • Specific guidance about how you should measure the results achieved.
  • Feedback on previous entries.
  • Our opinion on any of the material; all conversations will be broad and will not go into the specific detail about your entry.


New this year, you can book one of a very limited number of Design Effectiveness Surgeries with DBA Chief Executive Deborah Dawton. This hour long slot can either be an in-depth discussion around embedding effectiveness into your everyday practices, or you can use it to discuss an entry. Free for DBA members, £75+vat for non-members.


Join us at this seminar to hear from award-winning client and agency partnerships on how they worked together to achieve outstanding results, and hear from our panel of expert judges on what makes a compelling case for effectiveness. If you're thinking of entering, this event is unmissable.

Tuesday 16 May | London | 13.15-17:30 | Prices from £95+vat | Find out more here.


When will I hear any news?

You will be notified in October via post if your entry has been shortlisted for an award or not, and the 2018 shortlist of winners will be announced on the DBA website. Winners will then find out the level of their award at the prestigious awards ceremony in February 2018.

Can I get any feedback?

The decisions of the judging panels are final and no correspondence about such decisions will be entered into with entrants. By submitting an entry into the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions and the decisions of the judging panel.

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