Design Effectiveness

Recognising Design that Makes a Strategic Difference

"Design effectiveness is one of the best-kept commercial secrets. Too few organizations know the true value of effective design, and the facts and figures are not often revealed. Effective design is design that makes a difference. It embraces the performance of organizations, and adds value to the products and services they provide for customers. It gives competitive edge. It creates wealth and prosperity, and improves the quality of life," says John Sorrell.

Measuring excellence
The Design Effectiveness category of the AGDA Awards recognises that at the end of the day, good design is good business. Aesthetic sensibilities are inevitably subjective; effecting change isn't. It's measurable and it's very real. This is a great opportunity to show the world that design isn't simply about the way things look; it's all about making a difference.

Entered jointly by designers and their clients, the Design Effectiveness Awards reward outstanding examples of commercially successful design. They will be judged by practitioners from both sides of the industry and from a broad range of sectors in which Design operates.

Winning an Award will be proof that design can deliver great value to a business. Winning an Award will identify designers and managers capable of the greatest returns. And finally, winning an Award will not only help raise the profile of design, it will also help reinforce the client's and the designer's unified commitment to Design as a strategic tool for success.

What are the judges looking for?
The judges will be looking for evidence that:

— The targets set in the original brief and the results were demonstrably achieved.
— There is proof beyond reasonable doubt of a cause and effect between the design solution and the results.
— The project's success is linked to a measured fact rather than an assumption.
— The effect of design must be isolated by also evaluating the effect of other influencing factors [e.g. advertising campaigns, direct marketing etc.]. It is not enough to state that sales went up by X per cent after the introduction of a new design.

If design was the only change, make this very clear in your entry, otherwise judges may assume other factors.

The judges are not looking for an in-depth analysis of why a particular design solution was chosen but what results were achieved and the significance of these results in the relevant commercial context or in the overall context of the business itself.

How to make a successful entry
Allow yourself plenty of time to complete your entry into this category. The entry form requires quite a lot of detailed information so we strongly recommend you start gathering the information as soon as possible.

Each entry must be signed off by the consultancy's principal, managing director or equivalent and by an appropriate senior executive of the client company. AGDA is not responsible for entries made without the client's permission.

Use factual research to substantiate your claims [wherever possible this should be independent of client and consultancy]. You are required to justify all claims using measured results. Please make sure the information you provide is free from any assumptions, general or otherwise.

Use actual figures wherever possible, don't just use percentages [please refer to the section headed ‘Confidential information'].

Tips on using data in your entry
Your entry should include evidence of the expected performance of the project against the appropriate industry standards. Make sure you provide the appropriate evidence to support the claim that the project achieved the results claimed. It is essential that the evidence you provide is a result of proper and appropriate methodologies having been used and that the data really proves what it purports to prove.

The performance of a re-design can be evaluated against the performance of the old one. Always indicate sources of statistics or other information quoted, including the client and independent sources [e.g. AC Nielsen etc.].

Imprecise information such as ‘sales went up more than expected' is inadequate.
Sales, profit or market share information must relate to a project's original objectives. Try to give actual increases for these figures [a dramatic percentage increase from a low base can sometimes be less impressive than a small increase from a relatively high base].

For sales, profit or market share figures you must demonstrate how rises were achieved. [e.g. increased customer spending, more customers, greater sales in an existing market, penetration into additional markets etc.]. Provide the results of pre and post-design research if they are available.

Independent research results are especially important in categories where sales or profits do not apply [e.g. annual reports]. Research results alone cannot demonstrate effectiveness in the market but they can give an indication of how design has worked in changing attitudes or behaviour. For example, retail and leisure design concepts are often researched before they are launched and tracking studies can demonstrate significant shifts in attitude as a result of a new corporate identity or pack.

Sometimes clients estimate how quickly the investment in design has paid for itself through increased revenue. A payback period is an excellent way of measuring effectiveness, especially if compared with equivalent payback periods for advertising, sales promotion or other marketing spend.

Confidential information
The nature of the Design Effectiveness Awards is such that you may need to include confidential information as part of your entry. AGDA guarantees that this information will be restricted to the Award judging management and the Design Effectiveness Award judges. Judges with a conflict of interest will not be able to judge any category where the potential for conflict of interest exists. If your entry contains confidential information you need to provide a second version which may be used for publication. Both versions must be clearly identified.

Although the judges will prefer real figures, if you are concerned about providing information that may be confidential you may present sensitive data as percentages or indices. This will disguise actual figures but not their significance. 

Please present all of this information clearly in a PDF and upload your PDF along with your entry registration including your title, name,  five images, etc.

Any questions email [email protected]

Design for Good

Design for good can be any design project that provides a benefit to the greater good and can cover areas such as social, environmental, educational, charity etc. 

It can cover identity work, packaging, video, events etc. As long as it fits the description of communication design in some way, it is suitable.

Design that seeks to build brands and businesses by doing good. This can be pieces of design, products and service innovations that demonstrate positive social impact, the capacity to change behaviour and a sensitivity to sustainability issues across research, development and implementation.  

Entries into Design for Good will be assessed on the innovative use of design to promote ideals or deliver campaigns that are of a social, environmental, educational or political nature. The overriding assessment will still be how well an entry communicates a message using design principles but the intent of the work is what makes it eligible for this category.

The solution rationale document should follow the same structure as all other entries providing a description of the entry and then a solution process along with key objectives and how they were met.

Images can be included to support the text but not as a replacement for the images of the work that need to be supplied as 3000 x 2250 PNG images as per other entry categories.


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