The Judging Process

The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards judge entries on their own merits through a rigorous, three-stage process. Judges are CEOs and leading figures from across industry and have been carefully chosen for their business experience and acumen, as well as their understanding of how design can - and does - create change in business and society. From global companies, through to start-up challenger brands, their organisations understand how design can be used to create results.

At the first stage of judging, judges determine which entries will make it through to stage two, selecting the entries that make a case for design effectiveness against their stated business objectives.

Entries are not judged in categories or against one another, but instead an entry is judged entirely on the merits of the case it makes for design effectiveness within its own context. The entry must evidence and prove that the design led to the results achieved and clearly evaluate, extrapolate and explain the impact of any other influencing factors. After stage one, entries that have failed to make a significant enough case for design effectiveness will not proceed to the next round of judging.

During the second stage of judging, the strength of the entry and the significance of the results achieved by design are assessed by the panel. Again, entries are judged entirely on their own merits, and are not compared to any other entry. It is fundamental for entries to contextualise their results within their wider commercial context in order for the judges to understand the scale of impact achieved by design and reward this appropriately with a Bronze, Silver or Gold award.

The third stage of judging specifically considers the Grand Prix winner. The third panel of judges are all chief executives of highly successful companies. They select the winner of the Grand Prix from amongst the Gold awards.

Results will be communicated once all stages of judging are complete. There are no limits to the number of Bronze, Silver and Gold awards and only one Grand Prix winner.


The judges only reward those cases which categorically demonstrate that the design led to the results achieved, clearly evaluate the impact of any other influencing factors and make a case for design effectiveness. It is fundamental for winning entries to show their results are measured and proven within the wider commercial context, in order for the judges to access the significance of the results and the scale of impact achieved by the design.

Award levels:

Bronze awards go to entries that conclusively prove design’s contribution to the commercial or societal success of the work and have evidenced strong results. 

Silver awards are reserved for excellent examples of design effectiveness. Entries will have provided impressive evidence to prove the work exceeded expectations and led to significant results.

Gold awards go to really outstanding projects that have provided unquestionable and considerable evidence of exceptional results that have created powerful business or societal impact.

Grand Prix
The Grand Prix is chosen from amongst the Gold winners and rewards the entry that the judges feel demonstrates the most significant and impressive evidence of design effectiveness.