Designers of the Year Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cost to enter Designers of the Year?

There is a $100 submission fee for each entry (plus tax), payable upon submission of your entry form.

What is the judging criteria?

Each entrant will be judged according to the following criteria:
Awards and accolades: what makes this the year that the entrant should be celebrated (body of work, peer recognition, awards, high-profile  projects, media, national/international notice) How innovative is the body of work (fresh, forward-thinking design, unique niche in the field or market, solves problems creatively)?  Points will also be awarded for sustainable designHow successful is the execution of the work (selection, quality, combination of materials, unique techniques and processes, technical proficiency)? The work will also be evaluated by its functional merits, and for its poetic value/design aesthetic.
Yes, unless you have won a Designers of the Year award with those projects in a previous year. Previous winners may enter again, but must submit all new projects. Past winners of the Arthur Erickson award, Robert Ledingham award and “one to watch” categories may enter previously submitted works, provided at least one new project is included in the body of work.

How old can my projects be?

Of the three to five projects submitted, at least one project must have been completed within the last two years. Other projects can be up to eight years old. For our 2022 competition, all projects must have been completed by March 1, 2022.

Do my projects need to be located or manufactured in Western Canada?

Entrants must be residents of one of the four Western Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba). Projects can be located anywhere.

Can I enter commercial designs for the Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape or Memorial Awards?

For the landscape category, projects may be residential or commercial. All other spatial design categories are for residential projects only.

How many projects do I need to be able to enter?

For most categories, you need to submit 3 to 5 projects. The exception is the “emerging” categories—the Robert Ledingham Memorial Award for an Emerging Interior Designer, and the Arthur Erickson Memorial Award for an Emerging Architect/Residential Designer, which each just require 1 to 3 projects to enter.

Can I enter more than one category?

Entrants can enter more than one category; each entry requires a separate cover letter and separate entry fee. Those entering the Maker category cannot enter any other category with the same product.

Can I enter both the Interior Design category and the Robert Ledingham Award category? (Or Architecture and the Arthur Erickson Category?)

Yes, but note that 3 to 5 projects are required for Architecture and Interior Design submissions, and only 1 to 3 are required for Robert Ledingham and Arthur Erickson Memorial Awards. You must submit a separate entry form with fewer projects for the latter two.

What format should the submission package be in?

As of 2019, we accept applications via online form only. On the entry form, you’ll be prompted to attach a link to photos, rationales, and in some cases, blueprints or site plans of your projects, and fill out text fields with a designer biography. Project photos should be colour .jpgs, 72 dpi, clearly identified by project name. Site plans or blueprints may be PDF or .jpg. Designers may also choose to compile all of their projects into a PDF for download, as long as it includes photos and rationales as requested.

What is the difference between the Industrial and Maker category?

Industrial design should be product designs that have the capability of being mass-produced. Maker design submissions should include products that are either hand-made, or products that cannot fit into other categories like fashion or furniture—examples may include pottery or textiles. If you’re not sure what category your work belongs in, feel free to ask!

When will the winners be notified?

We will announce our shortlist in July. The winners will be celebrated in our September issue, and at our annual Designers of the Year party (which may be digital in 2022 should Covid restrictions still be in place).

What do I need to know before I start the submission process?

This form does NOT SAVE. We recommend jotting down your biography and project rationales in a separate document beforehand and pasting your answers into the form in case of any technical difficulties.

You’ll need to have project files available via one URL. Files may be compiled into one downloadable PDF, or organized via folders. You may use Dropbox, Google Drive, WeTransfer, Hightrail, or other web hosting source of your choice. Please ensure these are not password protected and do not expire.

Each project requires:

  • 2-8 photographs for each project: .jpg format, colour, clearly identified by project name
  • Rationale (up to 200 words) for each project: Explain the challenges, context, materials, innovations and results of this work; highlight social or ecological impact. Must include the year the project was completed.
  • For architecture, interior design, landscape, Arthur Erickson and Robert Ledingham categories: Blueprints or site plans (.pdf or .jpg).

The submission form will also ask for:

  • Biography and philosophy (500 words): outline your background and vision, keeping judging criteria in mind. Include year the firm was founded.
  • For Arthur Erickson and Robert Ledingham Memorial Award applicants: Include a brief summary of accomplishments (up to 200 words); include a summary of education/training accomplished thus far on the path toward accreditation as an interior designer or architect.

Ready to enter? Head back to the main DOTY page and start your submission!

Have a question that’s not answered here? Contact us!