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May 05, 2021 By IIDA HQ
Design Competitions: Opportunities, Recognition and Connection
Design competitions provide support, exposure, portfolio building, and community engagement.
By IIDA HQ May 05, 2021
Published in Competitions & Honors

Now more than ever, it's important to submit your firm's interior design projects to competitions— promoting innovations in the very best of design, sustainability, health and safety, and accessibility—and providing your design team with a sense of accomplishment. Your newly realized or in-progress interior design projects will continue to set the tone for what we build and design as we enter a post-pandemic world.

Gaining recognition and publicity for completed projects has value to both firms and designers alike. It offers an opportunity to connect with designers from around the world, celebrate your achievements with the IIDA community, and build exposure.

The process of applying to a competition can be a powerful team-builder.


No matter what kind of award or competition you are applying for, there is a great deal of thought that goes into presenting the work of everyone on your team. From organizing project information to sourcing photos and renderings, a competition application is an incredibly valuable endeavor. It's an exercise in team-building with the added goal of inspiring collaboration and creativity amongst designers. Like design itself, the application process can result in the sharing of perspectives, new takes on future projects, and defining your value as a firm.

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(Above: 2019 IIDA Best of Asia Pacific Awards Category Winner | Restaurants, Lounges & Bars | Yanlord Health Cafe by CL3 Architects Limited | Photo by: b+m Studio, courtesy of CL3)


Awards and competitions may help you achieve a promotional goal, whether you win or not.


Whether your firm is looking to attract new talent, or your team wants to connect with new clients at different scales, placing in competitions is a definitive way to show ‘em what you’ve got. Your project highlighted as a competition winner can be a window into your design process or a way to demonstrate your firm’s strengths to an international design audience.

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(Above: 2020 ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Award Category Winner | Public Libraries – 30,000 sq. ft. and under | (Re)imagining The Community Library by RATIO w/ Nicole Snyder Interiors | Photo by: Gabe Border and Gibeon Photography)


Winning or placing in a competition enhances your firm’s portfolio, which can potentially attract more clients.


Awards offer credibility that may be attractive to clients—especially clients who are new to the process of selecting a design firm. Placing in a competition communicates with current and future clients that your design team is organized, has excellent follow-through, communicates well, takes pride in their work, and understands their strengths. If a competition publishes winning projects in major design publications, such as when our Will Ching Design Competition winners are featured in Interior Design magazine, this can also increase the traffic to your firm’s website and result in more interest.


Competitions connect you with the wider design community.


Many competitions and awards have both regional and international audiences and applicants, and when you apply to a design competition, you become a part of a robust network of professionals and designers. Competitions allow access to associations, organizations, design publications, and other firms. At a time when social distancing is the norm, a meaningful way to connect your firm to an external design community is more valuable than ever.

At IIDA we know that competitions are instrumental in supporting and celebrating our incredibly dynamic design community.

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, the bi-weekly newsletter dedicated to IIDA competitions and awards updates, plus news on events, celebrations, and award-winning design projects.

(Lead image: 47th Annual Interior Design Competition Winner | ICS kindergarten by Fun connection design | Photo by: Yue Wu, courtesy of Fun connection design)

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