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 January 2018.

How do I enter?

Download the Entry Pack (to launch end of June 19), read carefully and then register online (link to launch end of June 19). Sign up here to our mailing list that will keep you informed with all information you need to enter.

When is the final entry deadline?

The entry deadline is on Friday 25 October 2019.

How much does it cost?

For reference the 2018/19 entry fees were:

Non-member rate per entry £1,050+VAT (€1,260) ($1,470)

Discounted DBA member rate per entry £550+VAT (€660) ($770)

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 the 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.


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 2019.

Download the Entry Pack (to launch end of June 19) for comprehensive guidance that, if followed, can help lead to success.

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All entrants must submit a ‘For publication’ version of their entry, but you can enter a second, ‘Confidential – not for publication’ version of your entry if you have sensitive data that cannot be made public.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It is up to each entrant to decide if they need to enter a ‘Confidential – not for publication’ version of their entry along with their ‘For publication’ version.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 25 October 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 February 2020 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 five 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?

A physical signature is not required. You will need to enter the details of the entrant’s principal / managing director or equivalent, and by an appropriate senior executive of the other party into the online entry system (to launch end of June 19) 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 and have a draft reviewed, please contact awards@dba.org.uk to book your 30-minute conversation. Conversations can be booked once you pay for your entry and will be accommodated on a first come first served basis. These calls are free for DBA members, £75+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 entry is on the right track.
  • Flagging any areas that are missing.
  • If your project is suitable.

What we can't help with:.

  • Specific guidance about how you should measure the results achieved, we can give you suggestions on how to do this and talk you through some examples.
  • 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.


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 a previous entry. Free for DBA members, £125+VAT for non-members.


When will I hear any news?

You will be notified in February 2020 via post if your entry has been shortlisted for an award or not, and the 2020 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 on Wednesday 13 May 2020.

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. Once the shortlist has been announced in February 2020, unsuccessful applicants can apply for feedback on entries to help inform future applications. Each feedback request will be charged at £150.00 +VAT.  

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