All about Design

In a rapidly changing and increasingly demanding marketplace, design is a critical source of competitive advantage. Embedded within, and throughout a business, design can impact across the total enterprise transforming its fortunes and tangibly realising its strategic intent. 

From measuring success to sharing excellence and best practice, we work to build universal confidence in design investment, and to enable thriving partnerships between those commissioning and managing design and the agencies delivering it.

Through our work, and with the powerful collective voice of our membership, the DBA is uniquely placed to drive design ever further up the agenda in business and government. 

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Design Effectiveness

As the global leader on design effectiveness, we know that design delivers competitive advantage: it plays an integral role in improving societies, enhancing people’s lives and delivering business success.

We draw focus onto the capabilities and impact of design – it can enable smarter systems and processes, enhance customer service, drive job creation, deliver efficiencies, improve profitability and much more. We work with business and government to achieve a marketplace where design’s full potential is universally capitalised, and we champion the vital role the sector plays in our nation’s competitiveness.

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards

Founded in 1989, the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards recognise impactful, wide-ranging examples of design that have had a tangible and measurable impact upon business and societal success. Judged by a broad range of business leaders and entered jointly by client and designer, the Awards draw focus onto design’s strategic and commercial value to business and society.

Prestigious and authoritative, it is the only award scheme that uses commercial data as key judging criteria. Nowhere is the quality and effectiveness of the design industry’s offer more evident than across the case studies recognised in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards. Learn more.


77“The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards clearly articulate the way in which investing in design is an investment in allowing your business to grow and ultimately make more profit.” Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England
“Design has to be important to all businesses because it’s a key lever of differentiation. And in today’s market, you have to stand out, you have to differentiate and design is a very physical and practical aspect of how you do that.” Scot Gardner, Vice President, Global Sales UK & Ireland, Cisco. 

The call for entries for the 2021 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021 is now closed. 

The judging for the awards will take place during January to March 2021 and the shortlist will be announced in Spring; all entrants will contacted with the news in March. 

The level of trophies to be received by each winner – Bronze, Silver or Gold – will be revealed during a ceremony in June 2021. 

The awards are open to all, across sectors and disciplines worldwide. You can also read this note about COVID-19 as an influencing factor on entries.

It’s never to early to start thinking about what projects you might enter in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards.

thinkThe DBA Design Effectiveness Awards celebrate and prove how powerful partnerships between clients and designers can be. We jointly award both parties, and a win will:

— Provide independent and authoritative recognition of the impact and acuity of your work.

Evidence the significant value you can add to any business and demonstrate your understanding of the commercial effectiveness of design.

— Speak volumes into the conversations of the boardroom, powerfully articulating the case for design and helping to inform discussions around budget.

“Design Effectiveness means everything to us. It’s tangible proof for clients that what we’re doing has a positive effect on their bottom line and it gives us a strategic framework in which to frame our work. We always have the awards in the back of our minds when we respond to clients’ briefs and when we are working – it helps steer us towards the right, and most effective solution.” DBA Design Effectiveness Award winner, Richard Village, Director and owner, Smith&+Village

— Position your company or department as a design leader, increasing exposure and prestige with clients, colleagues, suppliers and the media. Winners are included in a global PR campaign targeting business, consumer and design publications.

— Boost and motivate your team and help attract the right people to grow it.

— Align you with an elite group of businesses whose capability to deliver results through design is irrefutably proven. As a winner, you will be able to leverage a unique winners’ logo across your communications, using it as the marque to demonstrate the tangible returns you’ve delivered and display a trophy proudly within your offices.

— Persuasively and powerfully demonstrate your ability to deliver competitive advantage through design, setting you apart and driving opportunity.

“Effective design is a key priority at Diageo, and so we value the Design Effectiveness Awards very highly as the rigorous entry process supports us in analysing the commercial impact of our work. The rigour involved, including eliminating all influencing factors, has improved how we measure our effectiveness, strengthening the business case for investing in effective design.” Winner of DBA Design Effectiveness Award 2020 Grand Prix with Guinness Hero Harps, Jeremy Lindley, Global Design Director, Diageo

Find out more:

Sign up to our mailing list to hear news about the DBA Design Effectiveness Award winners and how to enter. 


Visit to read winning case studies and access information on the entry process. 


Find out what the judges are looking for in winning entries, in this article by Chairman of the Judges, Clive Grinyer. 


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