National Design Awards Submission Guidelines

8 pointed star glass trophy


And thank you for completing the registration form! Please be sure to download the Submission Guidelines, which will provide you with information about the National Design Awards, the 2018 Instructions for Submission, and the 2018 National Design Awards Terms of Agreement. Please also browse this page for additional tips and helpful information. Note that submissions must be delivered by Friday, February 2, 2018. We look forward to your submission!

Tips from Previous National Design Awards Jury

  • Submissions that followed the guidelines were viewed favorably.
  • The concise 100 word biography and 150 word statement were very helpful in introducing the jurors to each nominee’s work. Remember that the jurors come from all different disciplines of design and may not already be familiar with your work or field.
  • Concise project descriptions/summaries of each project (each book, for Design Mind nominees) were very beneficial to the jury. As appropriate, note the motivation behind the work and its larger impact.
  • The portfolio of ten projects should include your strongest work. In addition to the concise project descriptions/summaries of each project, including multiple images for each project allows the jurors an opportunity to better understand your work. If multiple groups are involved, clearly list your or your firm’s role. Also include any collaborators and their roles in the project, as applicable.
  • Consider the overall design and presentation of the portfolio book and how it reflects on you or your firm/company/organization.
  • A short (2 minutes or less) video testimonial in the nominee’s voice was enormously helpful in giving the jury a general overview of the candidate and his or her work. These need not be professionally produced.
  • Specific to the Corporate and Institutional Achievement category, demonstrate that design is integral to your company/organization’s mission.


Below are responses to some frequently asked questions. If you have any additional questions throughout the submission process, please do not hesitate to contact the National Design Awards office at or 212.849.8337.

Is there a fee to submit to the 2018 National Design Awards?
There is no submission fee.

How many images can I include in my hard copy portfolio?
You may include multiple images for each project in the portfolio. For the ten digital images and captions requested, we ask that you select one image that best represents each project.

Do I have to submit ten projects?
The National Design Awards are given for a body of realized work, not for any one specific project, so we do ask that nominees submit ten projects for review. Please note that these projects should best represent your body of work. A range of work (old and new) is recommended.

Did you receive my submission?
We will be sending official submission confirmations by late March, once all submission materials have been catalogued.

Can I messenger my package or hand deliver it?
We ask that everything come via mail – USPS, FEDEX, and UPS are all acceptable.

Can my package be postmarked by the deadline?
February 2, 2018 is the deadline for receipt of submission materials. Submissions must be delivered by this date.

When will you announce the 2018 National Design Awards Jury?
The jury will be announced along with the Award winners, by June 2018. Browse a list of previous winners and jurors.

2018 Submission Checklist Overview

For full details, please refer to the complete Submission Guidelines.

  • A current and concise biography/history of up to 100 words. (Hard and digital copy.)
  • A statement of up to 150 words should provide the jury with a brief introduction to your work. (Hard and digital copy.)
  • A hard copy portfolio book, not to exceed 8.5” x 14” x 2”, containing ten projects, with images and a brief description for each project. DESIGN MIND nominees may submit up to five self-authored books in lieu of a portfolio; please include a brief description/summary to accompany each book. FASHION nominees may submit look books or collection books of up to ten collections/seasons in lieu of a portfolio. INTERACTION nominees must also include videos or website links showing interactive element of projects. (Hard copy.)
  • Ten digital images (digital copy) and captions (hard and digital copy) selected from your portfolio book, one image per project. Images must be submitted in TIF (preferable) or JPEG format with a minimum resolution of 6” x 9”, 300 dpi.
  • Optional: A simple video testimonial that introduces yourself and your work, not to exceed 2 minutes, is highly encouraged.
  • A CD/DVD/flash drive of digital materials referenced above: biography, statement, ten digital images/captions, and optional video.
  • A printed inventory list of the materials you are sending with your name and category must be enclosed in your package.
  • A prepaid self-addressed return shipping label (FedEx, UPS, USPS) for the return of your materials after the selection process. Please maintain a copy of your tracking number for your records. We will make every effort to ensure the safety of your materials; however, we are not responsible in the event of loss or damage. NB: If selected as an honoree, your submissions will become part of the archives of Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Awards collection and will not be returned.


Mail completed submissions via FedEx, UPS, or USPS to:

National Design Awards
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
2 East 91st Street
New York, NY 10128
T. 212.849.8337

Please label the mailing box with the nominee’s name and category.

Important Notes

  • Your submission should best represent the body of work that you or your firm, corporation, or institution have developed throughout your career, in relation to the category in which you are submitting. The jury may move your submission to a different category, if appropriate.
  • Do not send original artwork or product samples.
  • Email submissions, hand-delivered items, or messenger deliveries (including Same Day Delivery option by FedEx/UPS) will not be accepted. Please see mailing instructions below.
  • We will confirm receipt in late March, once all submissions are processed. Please track your package for immediate delivery confirmation.


A hard copy portfolio book containing ten projects, with images and a brief description for each project is required.  Here are three examples that were successful in the 2016 National Design Awards:

Ammunition: 2016 National Design Award Winner Portfolio Sample

Studio O+A: 2016 National Design Award Winner Portfolio Sample

Tellart: 2016 National Design Award Winner Portfolio Sample

Sample Video Testimonials

A simple video testimonial that introduces yourself and your work, not to exceed 2 minutes, is highly encouraged. Videos need not be professionally produced, but should convey the strength of the nominee to the jury. Here are three examples that were successful in the 2016 and 2017 National Design Awards:

Behind the Scenes

Read more about the selection process and hear from previous National Design Awards jurors in the videos below.