Graphic design is an integral part of the increasingly image-oriented landscape of the internet. Finding exceptional designers to produce great work for your projects is much easier said than done. That’s why some businesses turn to design contests to crowdsource the job. In contests like these, the client sets a cash prize and designers submit their work for consideration. Often the participants are student designers or those recently graduated from communication arts programs who want to kickstart their careers. The winner receives the cash prize and exposure, along with the glory of the win, while the client gets a variety of design concepts to choose from, the rights to use all submissions, and some excellent design work for well under market value.
There are logo design contests and brand design contests as well as basic graphic design contests. Several design contest websites specialize in this kind of crowdsourcing, offering everything from full website design to app icon design. We’ve put together a list of 50 design contest 2018 winners from various categories.
Every business needs a website. Even your neighborhood babysitter might have a website these days. It’s your digital calling card, and for many businesses, your main point of interaction with your customers. In short, your business only looks as good as your website does.
Gold Medal Winner: Alexandra WD
The Project: The client was looking to modernize their website as well as add some new functionalities.
What We Love: Clean responsive design. Bright, airy color scheme. Uncluttered homepage with easy navigation.
Gold Medal Winner: Sbss
The Project: Valley Precision Works, a manufacturer of supplies for oilfield equipment, wanted a basic website to catch the eye of major oil companies like Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, and Halliburton.
What We Love: Bold and to the point. Simple navigation. Great use of product photos, keeping them front and center.
Gold Medal Winner: Iconic Graphics
The Project: FitCook Meals needed a new web page. They were looking for elegant, modern, and clean.
What We Love: Clearly highlights the level of service and product the client provides. Excellent use of appropriate photos, colors, and fonts to convey high-end service.
Platinum A’ Design Winner: Matthew Solis
The Project: Honeywell Aerospace did a complete site overhaul to create a responsive site built for multiple platforms.
What We Love: Looks great on any platform or device. Strong branding and user-friendly interface complete a clean, modern design.
Gold Medal Winner: Desinly
The Project: The client was looking for someone to “Design a badass Oil & Gas course website.” He wanted something that would draw the visitor in and convey the opportunity for big money to be made.
What We Love: Badassery achieved. The designer clearly listened to the client’s wishes here. A bold, dark theme is offset by large equipment photography and clear, direct information.
The Project: Homepage design for a company that provides specialized machinery.
What We Love: The designer made a nice, clean site despite client colors that could easily have been overwhelming (neon green can really only be used sparingly without burning the eyes!). Easy to scroll through and straightforward while also being eye-catching.
When design needs to literally step off the screen and grab the customer in the real world, merchandising design is needed. Merchandising design has unique needs and requires special expertise to ensure that production goes smoothly and the design properly transfers from screen to product.
Gold Medal Winner: Sindhu Noto
The Project: Interzoo was looking for a modern design for a bag that would represent their business and transmit a natural image, respect for the environment, and coexistence with pets.
What We Love: The eye-catching, beautiful design showcases colors and plant elements perfect for an environmental message. The gold really pops on the green background, and the animal design captures what the store is about.
Gold Medal Winner: Illustira
The Project: Chips wanted a new bag to reflect the high-end nature of their business as well as the play on words in their name (Chips = electronic chips but also the free potato chips they offer customers).
What We Love: The rainbow pallet absolutely pops on the dark background. The designer let the black have its moment, giving what’s otherwise just a bag a more expensive feel. At the same time, the logo and rainbow chips catch the eye from the center of the bag.
Gold Medal Winner: Come to Me
The Project: CircleUP wanted a design to use on beach bags, round yoga mats, and healing stones. They were looking for something that would incorporate their logo and embody their message of empowerment to reduce recidivism.
What We Love: The designer had a great, bold logo and color scheme to work with for the project. They made excellent use of tribal and graphical elements, balanced the colors, and avoided overshadowing the logo. This is a design that could have easily become cluttered but instead conveys power and calm at once.
Gold Medal Winner: Shafiq44
The Project: On the Record wanted a graphic to go on a bag and possibly a t-shirt to get their brand out there and reflect their mission of gathering “artisans and vendors from the many layers of music production to celebrate their music and shed light on the hidden halls of music creation.”
What We Love: The subtle incorporation of the Austin, Texas skyline is a wonderful touch here. The colors and bold brush strokes capture the funky, trendy feel of the city and the business. A great font choice that evokes old “On the Air” signs.
Gold Medal Winner: Ferdi.182
The Project: Popcorn is a YouTuber who’s decided it’s time to start making merchandise to promote their brand. They wanted a graphic that could be used on everything from t-shirts to pop-sockets.
What We Love: It’s unexpected and well done. The use of typography and brushstrokes to create the popcorn bucket is fantastic and a much better choice than using popcorn clip art. It’s graphically bold and modern with great colors, but it can also be reduced to a mono color format and still look great. It will be recognizable at any size and will transfer nicely to multiple applications, just as the client asked.
Gold Medal Winner: BRTHR-ED
The Project: Hubspot wanted something clever and distinct specifically for the 15” Macbook Pro.
What We Love: The combination of muted brownish gray with the bright white and orange really catches the eye. The design is just unusual enough to keep the viewer engaged in a busy environment like a coffee shop, and the incorporation of the HubSpot logo in both bold and subtle placement is a cool contrast.
Gold Medal Winner: Creative Solutions01
The Project: Las Lomas Lavender and Honey was looking for a label that could be written on the different dried or fresh herbs packaged inside. They wanted something with some artistic excitement.
What We Love: The designer made good use of grayscale to keep the design subtle. The graphical elements of honey and lavender don’t overpower the label, so the customer won’t miss the handwritten portion of the label.
Gold Medal Winner: Inwalker
The Project: THC was looking for a redesigned logo that could be brought to life on a t-shirt.
What We Love: The client wanted a logo based around their name and the designer did a good job of incorporating that. The graphical twists keep the eye locked on it long enough to be curious, and the bright colors make good use of the ombre effect.
Your logo has to be so many things in such a small package. Memorable, striking, simple, and understandable. It needs to stand out from the crowd, make a lasting impact, and convey your company’s aesthetic and identity all in a simple package that can be reduced to the tiniest of sizes and still look amazing. Though the best logos are simple, they are anything but simple to design and creating a great logo is no small task.
Gold Medal Winner: Felixart
The Project: Rue de la Paix wanted a logo that would incorporate architectural elements and convey a feeling of trust and reliability.
What We Love: The designer listened to the client’s wishes very well. Not only did they incorporate both obvious and subtle architectural elements, they also created a bold, easy to recognize mark that gives a subtle shout out to the famous Louvre Pyramid, a Parisian landmark that brings modern design to one of the most classic museums.
Gold Medal Winner: Sami222
The Project: Drift wanted a calming logo for their new company.
What We Love: This is a well designed, simple, distinctive logo mark that communicates the company’s message and will look great wherever they decide to use it.
The Project: Design a logo for Solar Canada.
What We Love: The Canadian flag is a famous example of great design and this designer made good use of it. The grid evokes the feeling of solar panels, the glow in the middle clearly mimics the sun, and the green conveys environmentalism. Simple, direct, and effective.
Gold Medal Winner: Canopee
The Project: Swiss Custom Bikes wanted a logo that would appeal to their target demographic and incorporate their Swiss roots.
What We Love: Nice use of the Swiss cross front and center without being overwhelming. This is a bold and well-crafted design.
Gold Medal Winner: Tasnuba Habib99
The Project: 361 Apps needed a logo to represent their brand and services as a software house, delivering high-quality solutions for government, banks, and the legal sector.
What We Love: Clean, modern, and striking. Good use of color and simple typographic elements create both a memorable and dynamic mark, and an overall beautiful logo.
Gold Medal Winner: IVFR
The Project: The Páratu Institute needed a logo to reflect their mission as an educational, non-profit foundation supporting Indigenous Communities of North, South, and Central America.
What We Love: The tree in the logo is stunning, with both bold and small, subtle graphical touches so it will look wonderful large or small.
Gold Medal Winner: Hadi41181
The Project: Evolve needed a crisp and sophisticated logo for a new behavioral health company.
What We Love: The typographic elements are bold and effective. The use of color is eye-catching without being overwhelming. Simple, clean, and to the point.
Gold Medal Winner: Kang Ji Mek
The Project: Caffeine is a fun Marketing Agency that wanted a trendy logo for their rebranding.
What We Love: Clearly design conscious, we love the play on the coffee cup turning into a rocket ship. Simple and effective, but also fun and very much on trend.
An App Icon needs to catch the shopper’s eye from the small screen in their palm. It needs to be equal parts attractive and on-trend so that it conveys credibility as much as it does professionalism and functionality. It also has to be something that users enjoy seeing on their phone’s screen day-in-and-day out. It needs to stand out enough to encourage them to remember to use the app without overwhelming the screen or being an eyesore. Like logo design, simplicity is key, but getting that perfect design is anything but a simple process.
Gold Medal Winner: MJ_Creatives
The Project: Tech by Twelve needed an app icon for their iOS watch app.
What We Love: This is a complex design, befitting the app it represents. The designer followed the client’s wishes well, creating a 3D design that looks expensive.
Gold Medal Winner: Puddding
The Project: Stay Current wanted an app icon that would incorporate an S or SC into their Globe logo.
What We Love: This is well done, it makes great use of the client’s existing logo by incorporating the S and C without being overt about it.
Gold Medal Winner: ClickyInc
The Project: JustBin is an app that helps users find the nearest trash, recycle, or doggie bin.
What We Love: This is an icon that communicates exactly what the app does without needing a single word. Strong graphic communication in a simple format.
Gold Medal Winner: Tayo Odesign
The Project: The client wanted to keep the name of their app a secret. They asked for an app icon that incorporated a W with a clothing hanger.
What We Love: Nice, eye catching color and use of stylistic elements to create the mark.
Gold Medal Winner: EF Draft
The Project: Ekle Software Inc. created an app to display metadata for any photo in one’s iOS library.
What We Love: This design uses well-known elements to convey exactly what the app does. Good use of color pops and simple elements.
Gold Medal Winner: Ozonostudio
The Project: QuickCal wanted a refreshed take on their app icon for iOS.
What We Love: On trend with rich colors and depth.
Gold Medal Winner: Beboale Design
The Project: Timeglass created an app so users can track where they spend their time. It's intended mostly toward corporate workers, but also for anybody interested in ensuring they use their time wisely.
What We Love: Uses simple graphic elements to stand out from a crowd of similar app icons while also communicating, without words, exactly what it does.
Gold Medal Winner: EF Draft
The Project: PicsArt wanted a redesigned app icon for their popular creativity app.
What We Love: Fantastic use of color and shape in a small space. The border clearly communicates that it’s a camera-related app.
Gold Medal Winner: fran_cesco
The Project: Waplog is a dating app in need of a standout icon.
What We Love: Nice 3D effect with bold color choices that definitely catch the eye from afar and communicate exactly what the app is about.
Gold Medal Winner: JohnM
The Project: Travel Time is an iOS app that ensures you will “Never Miss Another Flight.” Travel Time intelligently monitors live airport security lines, traffic, and flight status to suggest the perfect time to leave your location to reach the airport.
What We Love: Simple and clean, it will stand out nicely on an iOS background, making it easily found when needed.
Gold Medal Winner: Nickimpressiondesign
The Project: Design a simple, and clean icon for a Text to Speech app.
What We Love: The use of color here is soothing, and the graphic elements play nicely against the green background.
Good packaging design is a complicated endeavor. It has to be practical, current, and attractive, plus it must embody your brand. Packaging is also your last chance to sell your product to the customer. It’s the closer and often the deciding factor in which product a customer will buy when choosing between similar competitors. Getting your packaging right is not a decision to be taken lightly.
1. Washing Clay
Gold Medal Winner: Faye_stata
The Project: The company created an all-natural, mineral washing bar they wanted to market to men wanting to feel both rugged and clean at the same time.
What We Love: This design lets the bar itself shine and keeps the design minimal.
Gold Medal Winner: Moon Rock Studio
The Project: Create a beautiful, high-end package artwork design for a range of nursery night lights.
What We Love: As soothing as it is luxe. The metallic silver and gold on the gray background creates an expensive feel that is relaxing and evokes a sense of artisanry.
Gold Medal Winner: AnChY.MaT
The Project: Package rebranding with Scandinavian child theme.
What We Love: The whimsical sea creatures are simply adorable, and the clean design lets the natural messaging be easily found.
Gold Medal Winner: c.art.e blanche
The Project: Ice Cream Tub Design for Funky London Brand.
What We Love: These tubs are fun, interesting, and make great use of color.
Gold Medal Winner: Silicium Studio
The Project: Create a clean and modern carton design for Nurished.
What We Love: The extreme simplicity of this design makes it as eye-catching as it is evocative of the brand it represents. Making the food icons larger than the words they represent is a nice touch.
Printing is far from a lost art. Poster design needs to be more eye-catching and impressive than ever with so much constant competition from screens. Conceptualizing and bringing to life a beautiful design that will look as good blown up to poster size as it does on a screen requires special knowledge and skills.
Gold Medal Winner: Namrata Laungani
The Project: Grainmaker Branding Book: Marketing Collateral
What We Love: Placement of the food front and center without sacrificing the design.
Gold Medal Winner: MajesticD
The Project: Bring the company’s Core Values to life in style with motivational posters for internal office use.
What We Love: Great graphic representation, pops of color, and movement.
3. Gowes Coffee
Gold Medal Winner: Kang Ji Mek
The Project: Coming soon poster for a new coffee shop.
What We Love: Wonderful use of a creative logo. Makes the viewer feel welcome and curious at the same time.
Gold Medal Winner: Olivier Darbonville
The Project: Create a contemporary, cool travel poster for Hamburg, International Airport.
What We Love: Great use of visual story to promote a popular route. Eye-catching and engaging.
Gold Medal Winner: Maspoko
The Project: Create Classic and Classy Vintage Posters for the National Danish Ferry Company.
What We Love: These are modeled after classic travel posters that are famous for a reason. An absolutely stellar design.
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