Who can enter?

The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards are international and entries from any country are welcomed.

What can I enter?

Any design project; 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 June 2018 (for 2021 entries) and 1 June 2019 (for 2022 entries).

How do I enter?

The entry deadline for the 2021 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards has now passed. Sign up here to our mailing list to keep informed with all the information you need to enter for 2022.

When is the final entry deadline?

The entry deadline for the 2021 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards was Friday 27 November 2020.

The entry deadline for the 2022 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards is TBC. Sign up here for news. 

How much does it cost?

Non-member rate per entry £1,080+VAT 

Discounted DBA member rate per entry £565+VAT 

Where does the money I spend on my entries go?

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 this globally respected awards scheme, ensure the DBA has the resources and evidence to champion the value of design to business and to government, and help the industry to grow and prosper. Every penny that you invest in the Awards only covers the costs the DBA incurs against running it. 


What are the judges looking for?

Judges are looking for designs that prove beyond reasonable doubt an award-winning cause and effect between the 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. The most comprehensive guidance around what the judges are looking for is found within the Entry Pack.

You can reference the 2021 entry pack for comprehensive guidance which, if followed, can help lead to success. Please bear in mind that the 2022 entry pack may have some updated guidance when launched. 

Some of the most frequent questions are listed below:

When and why are separate versions needed?

All entrants must submit a ‘For publication’ version of their entry, but you can enter a second, ‘Confidential – not for publication’ version of your entry if you have sensitive data that cannot be made public. The title page of your entry must explicitly show whether an entry is confidential or not. The confidential version of your entry will be the version that is judged.

It is up to each entrant to decide if they need to enter a ‘Confidential – not for publication’ version of their entry along with their ‘For publication’ version. However, we advise entrants to include as much relevant data as possible to help build the case within the entry, so where necessary, creating a ‘Confidential – not for publication’ version should be considered. If only one version is submitted then it will be assumed the submitted entry is for publication, however it is marked.

— A ‘For publication’ version must always be submitted alongside any ‘Confidential – not for publication’ version.
— It is not sufficient to mark confidential elements within the body of your case study; a separate, clearly marked ‘Confidential – not for publication’ version must also be submitted.
— If submitting a second confidential version, the publication version must state ‘REDACTED CONFIDENTIAL DATA’ within the entry in place of all removed information throughout the version. Alternatively, indices or percentages could be used to replace exact figures in publication versions.
— Confidential versions will not be made public, so you can feel safe including sensitive market data necessary to make your case.
— Confidential versions will only be seen by the judges, after they have signed non-disclosure agreements and been assessed for any conflicts of interest with the entrant.
— The entry and judging process is completely confidential; judges are not permitted to disclose any details from within the judging process, including who has entered, what was discussed, or what has been awarded.

Why do you need an unbranded ‘publication' version of our entry by 27 November if we are submitting a confidential version?
The reason we need this at the entry stage is because as soon as the shortlist is confirmed in March we use the publication version of your case study to form the basis for the website write-ups, the script articulation and all future communications etc. Winners will have time in March 2021 from the shortlist announcement to art-work their case study ready to add to the website. 

How many images can I include in my case study?

You can use between three and six images within your case study, and you must adhere to the page limit. 

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

Yes, the details of the entrant’s principal / managing director or equivalent, and an appropriate senior executive of the other party must be added to the sign off sheet. This completed document must be added as a separate PDF online as part of your submission. The same details should also be entered into the online entry system effectivedesign.awardsplatform.com to confirm that the entry has been approved by these senior contacts. 

A note on COVID-19 as an influencing factor on your entry
To be eligible to enter the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021, entries must contain some evidence collated after 1 June 2018. You can include data from any time before this date, so long as some has been collected after. There is no requirement to use any data from 2020.

Proving effectiveness takes time, and more data will help to build a stronger case study. This means that depending on the individual circumstances of your entry and the data you have available, you can decide whether to include data affected by COVID-19 or not. This will be unique to each entry, and a decision to consider individually. If you’d like to speak to someone about the circumstances of your case and what data to include, please email awards@dba.org.uk.

The DBA ensures that all judges are fully briefed on how to consider factors that may have influenced an entry either positively or negatively, and the DBA will ensure, as always, that all entries are judged consistently against the criteria for design effectiveness.


The DBA team is here to support you through the entry process, from thinking through what might make a good case to submit, to discussing working drafts. To book a call please email awards@dba.org.uk and we will accommodate you on a first come first serve basis. 

Early entry scoping

If you’d like to chat about a case that you think might make a good entry before you embark on writing it up, or you would like to talk more generally about how to embed design effectiveness into your everyday working practices, you can book a meeting or call with one of the DBA team.
Scoping meetings are free for DBA members, £125+VAT for non-members. 

Full draft entry consultations 

If you'd like to talk about your entry in detail and have a draft reviewed, you can book a 30 minute consultation with one of the team. Consultations can be booked once you pay for your entry online. 

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

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

What we can't help with:.

  • Specific guidance about how you should measure the results achieved, although we can give you suggestions on how to do this and talk you through some examples.
  • Feedback on previous entries.
  • How the judges might award your case / the likely outcomes of judging.

Calls are free for DBA members, £125+VAT for non-members. 


When will I hear any news?

You will be notified in March 2021 if your entry has been shortlisted for an award or not, and the 2021 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 June 2021.

Can I get any feedback?

Once the shortlist of winners has been announced in March 2021, unsuccessful entrants can apply for feedback. After the shortlisted entries are awarded Bronze, Silver or Gold at the ceremony in June 2021, winners can then also apply for feedback.

Feedback calls are designed to help inform future case writing and to help you understand the outcome of judging. They will also help you, as an organisation, to consider the types of processes and ways of working that will help you maximise and track design effectiveness. To ensure that all feedback can be embedded into your agency, the most senior relevant person from your agency must be on the call.

Calls are free for DBA members, £125+VAT for non-members.

You will be invited to book a 30 minute feedback call once the result of your entry has been announced and we will schedule calls on a first come first served basis.

To ensure that you never miss a deadline and receive the 2022 entry pack, sign up to our mailing list.