7 Web Design and Development Awards You Should Apply For

web design awards

Who doesn’t love being recognized for a job well done? When you go beyond the call of duty, and create something that surprises and delights your client or users, it should be celebrated! 🎉

Awards and competitions recognize the cream of the crop in the community and are possibly one of the most under-acknowledged ways to gain industry recognition. They also provide a great opportunity to join a new community, find inspiration, and discover new trends in web design, development, and branding.

"Awards and competitions recognize the cream of the crop in the community and are possibly one of the most under-acknowledged ways to gain industry recognition."

Whether they’ve been around for decades or are just in their infancy, we’ve rounded up seven awards competitions we think are worth entering. From the best app designs to flawless CSS design, keep an eye on these competitions for the best in the business.

1. CSS Design Awards

web design awards: CSS Design awards

The competition: The CSS Design Awards (CSSDA) showcase and honor freelancers, designers, studios, and agencies for work that pushes the boundaries of UI, UX, and innovative development around the world. 

Founded in 2009 and launched in 2010, the CSSDA levels the playing field to ensure solo freelancers, studios, and agencies all have a chance to be recognized by ensuring the award candidate is competing against similarly sized creatives.

There is a dual judging system. All submissions for Website of the Day are reviewed by an international panel of industry experts. All public awards, including UI, UX, and Innovation awards, are scored by the judges and upvoted by the public.

The cost: $50 USD per site submission.

The deadline: The Website of the Day and Website of the Month categories are always open, and are entered into the Website of the Year award.

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2. Awwwards

web design awards: Awwwards site screenshot

The competition: Similar to the CSS Design Awards, Awwwards recognizes the talent and effort of the best web designers, developers, and agencies in the world. Awwards also relies on a jury of esteemed industry professionals and their active user base to rank work submitted.

In addition to handing out awards, the organization runs a series of conferences in iconic cities all over the world, from New York to Los Angeles, Barcelona to London. You can learn from the industry’s best at any Awwwards star-studded speaker event.

The cost: There are three tiers: $65 USD per site submission; $165 USD for annual membership with three free submissions and members directory listing; or $1,750 USD for annual membership with unlimited submissions and members directory listing.

The deadline: Year round, applications are always open.

3. D&AD Awards

web design awards: D&AD awards site screenshot

The competition: This celebration of the best in the business got its start in 1962 as a group of UK-based designers and art directors came together to recognize creative communication and design. Now, almost 60 years later, the D&AD Awards have evolved into a global community recognizing the best in design and advertising.

They are a non-profit organization, meaning that all of their surplus revenues are invested back into the creative industry. Check out their archive of previous winners.

The cost: Also, freelancers who are members of the D&AD were eligible to receive a 20 percent discount. Submission fees range from $389 USD to $1,512 USD depending on the categories and number of submissions (single or multiples).

The deadline: The final deadline for the D&AD Awards 2021 is March 17, 2021. 

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4. The Shorty Awards

web design awards: the shorty awards site screengrab

The competition: Celebrating the best in social media, The Shorty Awards recognize the high-impact and creative social branding of influencers, creators, organizations, and brands on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and more. 

The Shorty Awards were the first awards to honor social media, and are constantly evolving with the media they recognize. While the audience and honorees for these awards are typically viral campaigns or notable public figures, there are many categories for influencers, brands, creators, and organizations that produce industry-leading client work. Take a look at their archive of previous winners.

The cost: $399-$699 USD depending on time of submission.

The deadline: Submissions for the 13th Annual Shorty Awards for Brands and Organizations are now closed, and finalists will be announced in March 2021.

5. The Shopify Commerce Awards

web design awards: the shopify commerce awards

The competition: They’re back, and better than ever! An iteration of what was once called the Shopify Design Awards, The Shopify Commerce Awards widened their scope in 2017 to recognize the creative designers and developers who are taking commerce to new heights and redefining the way people sell online.

This year, the star-studded panel of judges will review submissions from the worlds of UX and front end development, development and apps, and best overall builds. If you want some inspiration, check out the winners of the 2017 Shopify Commerce Awards.

The cost: Free. You must be a Shopify Partner or Developer to enter.

The deadline: Submissions for the 2020 Shopify Commerce Awards now closed. Winners will be announced in Spring 2021.

6. CSS Winner Awards

web design awards: CSS winner competition site screengrab

The competition: The CSS Winner awards showcase the best web designers, developers, and agencies on the web today. 

What’s unique about CSS Winners is that scoring is based on a combination of peer voting and panel scoring, with 80 percent based on the judges score, and the final 20 percent coming from viewer votes. After being reviewed, high scoring submissions are displayed on the nominees page, and are eligible for a featured award, such as Site of the Day, Site of the Month, or Stars.

The cost: Submissions are $9 USD, and rejected submissions are refunded.

The deadline: Applications are accepted year round.

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7. Apple Design Awards

web design awards: Apple design awards competition site screengrab

The competition: The Apple Design Awards recognize cutting edge apps on the Apple platform that reflect the best in app design, innovation, ingenuity, and technical achievement. Apple also shares the stories of the people and companies behind their apps. 

Unlike other awards competitions listed here, you actually can’t apply for these awards—eligible apps listed in the Apple App Store are selected based on their design, state of the art integration, and innovation.

The cost: Since applications aren’t accepted for these awards, there is no associated cost.

The deadline: The 2020 Apple Design Awards are now closed, but keep an eye out for 2021’s awards.

What awards will you be entering this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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