Yesterday my inbox was filled with news of upcoming design awards and links to entry applications. One of these was for a new Pentaward called ‘Pentawards Concept’, that’s different to the main Pentawards which is now ‘Pentawards Classic’ as it’s solely for concept. This opens the field up to a whole host of potential new entrants and even students.
Pentawards is just one of many prestigious awards in our field and each has multiple categories. Not content with just one competition each year, Pentawards now has two. Design Week has it’s own, then there’s the DBA’s ‘Design Effectiveness Awards’ and much much more.
Soon there could be more design competition entry opportunities than design agencies, so do any of these awards actually mean anything?
Surely an award within a specialist field is only worth any merit if judged against the whole field. Not every agency enters the awards I’ve mentioned and a large reason for this is probably that each is costly to enter. These awards are therefore by nature, elitist.
Elmwood claim to be “the world’s most effective brand design consultancy” and this stands to reason because they have more ‘Design Effectiveness’ awards than any other company.
I suspect that there’s a correlation between this and the fact that they are also one of the largest consultancies, working on the most amount of projects. They can afford to enter huge amounts of work into a lot of different categories. How can they therefore be judged against any agencies that aren’t as big, producing as much work, entering as many categories each year?
Even if Robot-food could afford to enter the DBA’s ‘Design Effectiveness’ Awards, we would be unable. This is because we haven’t paid to become members of the DBA. We can’t compete with Elmwood and because of this Elmwood will never been judged against us, so who can say that their work is actually more effective?
Sure, it would be nice to have a shiny lump on the shelf that seals our position as an ‘award winning agency’, but in a world where not having an award makes you stand out, maybe it’s good for us to remain remarkable.
As packaging designers, our work is on the shelves for all to see and judge. It would be lovely if someone, one day, decided our work was worthy of an award – Just as long as we didn’t have to fill out any forms, upload any images or hand over any money.