Why the ‘Regional’ Design Awards?

Most design competitions organize winners into categories based on the “types” of projects, such as posters, logos, invitations, etc. There’s nothing wrong with this type of construction, but it’s been done again and again. The Regional Design Awards has held a unique place in the market for 33 years as its presentation of winners acts as a geographic snapshot of graphic design in the U.S. Winners are presented alongside one another based on the region of the firm or designer producing the work.

The regional aspect influences everything in this issue, from the judges we select (whom either live, used to live in, or have strong ties to a given region), to the design of the issue itself. For the 2013 Regional Design Awards issue, we partnered with Debbie Millman for the exquisite cover and section openers that appear before the winners in each of the six regions (Far West, Southwest, Midwest, South, East and New York City). The devil is in the detail, as Millman pondered what phrases to bring to life with her lettering touch. She reached out to Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova to select literary quotes exhibiting the characteristics of all six regions, which Millman then translated into visual masterpieces in her famed style. The results shouldn’t be confined to the printed page, so please enjoy them below. And for further information about each of the quotes from Popova, visit Brain Pickings.


midwest_quote_FINAL FARWEST_quote EAST_quote SOUTHWEST_quote SOUTH_quote


Aside from this competition distinguishing itself by the regional organization, past winners have given us feedback that they find this construction beneficial for a variety of reasons. Jonathan Lo, founder and creative director of J3 Productions, a boutique agency in Southern California, was recognized as a winner in the Farwest region in the 2012 Regional Design Awards for his winning entry, At Your Leisure, a zine.

AtYourLeisure“Aside from seeing all the inspirational work in the pages each year, we find it so interesting to see if there are certain design trends occurring in different parts of the country. Having our J3 zine At Your Leisure recognized in the 2012 Annual was such an honor. It has given us the opportunity to represent our aesthetic from our little part of the world—Irvine, CA. We hope it shows that good designs can come out of anywhere. It’s well worth entering your work to the Annual. With the amount of exposure that being recognized in the Annual provides, you just never know who’s going to be looking at it and what potential opportunities it can bring.”


We couldn’t agree more. Don’t miss this opportunity to have your work spotlighted in the 2014 Regional Design Annual.


One thought on “Why the ‘Regional’ Design Awards?

  1. paperacrobat

    I think design awards are a great way to showcase talent but I’m constantly surprised by the increasing costs for entering these. For freelancers and students these fees are often prohibitive – so only large agencies can afford to enter.