Judging criteria

In these Awards, effectiveness is measured in terms of commercial benefits achieved for the client and the customer and is not related to standards of aesthetics, or ‘good’ and ‘bad’ design.

The key judging criteria are:

Clarity of presentation

How well-written, structured and presented is the case? Clear, concise entries will deliver a stronger message.

Cause and effect

Proof beyond reasonable doubt of a cause and effect between the design solution and the results. Evidence of the targets set in the original brief against the results achieved.

Clarity of results

The judges are not looking for an in-depth analysis of why a particular design solution was chosen but evidence of what results were achieved. Results provided must link back to a clear set of objectives. 

Scale of effect

The significance of these results in the relevant commercial context or in the overall context of the business itself. Winning entries often describe design projects that have had a significant impact on business performance in a broad context. For example, a product or identity that creates new business and jobs and captures a significant share of an existing market could be relatively more significant than an entry describing only an increase in sales.

A 300% increase in sales in a booming market may be less significant than a 5% increase in a saturated one. A design that turns a whole company around is more significant than one that adds a modest increase to sales.

Project performance

The performance of a re-design can be evaluated against the performance of the old one. For new designs, however, entries must aim to describe:

  • The expected performance against market norms or against competitive products and companies.
  • How the design compared with market testing of alternative designs. If this information is not available, other evidence must be given to support the claim that the entered design achieved the results claimed.

Research after the launch may help to establish a causal relationship between the design and its effectiveness. If post research is used, it is vital that proper methodology has been used and that the data really proves what it purports to prove.

Explanation and proof of effect

A project’s success must be linked to a measured fact rather than an assumption. Use factual research to substantiate your claims (wherever possible this should be independent of client and consultancy). It is not enough to simply state that “sales went up by x percent” after the introduction of a new design.

Most products or services are impacted initially from design attention upon launch. Was it sustained? Did the brand retain its increased level of performance and for how long?

Other influencing factors

The effect of the design must be isolated by also evaluating the impact of other influencing factors. You must identify any factors that might have contributed to the success of the project other than the design. For example, market trends, fads, cultural shifts, major events, advertising, industry regulation change, legislative changes, direct mail or PR campaigns could have influenced the overall success, so it’s important to extrapolate the impact of this activity from the contribution of the design. A lack of convincing information will work against your entry.

Don't leave the judges with unanswered questions. They will be aware of any influences, positive or negative, in a given market or sector during the previous few years, so don't leave these unaddressed if they impacted the performance of your entry.

For examples of other influencing factors, review examples of well-written case studies here.