What makes a successful entry?

Key considerations

Early preparation of your entry
Experience shows that the longer you have to gather supporting data for your entry the better, especially if those supplying you with data are not to be put under undue pressure to supply statistics and other information for case studies. 

Appropriate projects to enter
As a general rule, the sort of projects which will do well in this competition are those where tight and specific objectives were set at the beginning and where sufficient data currently exists to allow serious evaluation against those objectives.

Involve all parties from the outset
You will need the full co-operation of any internal or external customers to obtain the sort of data needed to make a convincing case for effectiveness.

Take a look at previous DEA winners and reference the entry pack
The 2024 entry pack is integral to your entry as a reference guide, and contains advice and examples for you to review against your own work. Additionally, you may find it helpful to read through the award winning case studies from 2023 on this site. 

Extrapolate other influencing factors
Successful entries can make a clear distinction between the role of design and other influencing factors. These can include market trends, fads, cultural shifts, major events, advertising, industry regulation change, legislative changes, direct mail or PR campaigns that could have influenced the overall success. It's important to extrapolate the impact of this other activity from the contribution of the design. In the 2024 entry pack, there is a comprehensive list of suggested other influencing factors for you to gain some inspiration from.

Pay attention to the writing of your entry
Unlike most other design competitions, the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards are judged on written submissions. Entries are anonymised with no art-working of a PDF required (although shortlisted winners will be asked to do this when they are notified of their win). It is in your interest to produce a well presented, clearly written case. Use powerful metrics and measures and, where possible, use research that is independent of client or consultancy.

Focus on effectiveness
The key parts of your entry are those describing the project objectives, evaluating the outcome against those objectives, and demonstrating that design made a specific contribution to the project's success. There is not one pre-determined route that can be applied to each project in order to assess effectiveness. Use the multitude of support within the entry pack to gain some ideas for the influencing factors and metrics - think laterally about the measurement criteria you use, if your work has had a measurable impact in an area of the business, include it!

Question your work
Review your argument for flaws, typos and silly mistakes. Get someone who hasn't worked on the project with a critical eye to read your entry. Book a draft consultation with one of the DBA team who can review your entry and give you feedback. Email awards@dba.org.uk for more information.

Stick to the rules
Make sure you read the rules of entering carefully and stick to them. Remember to stick to the page count specified in the entry pack.

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