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International Design Awards: What Sets Apart an Exceptional Graphic Design?

International Design Awards: What Sets Apart an Exceptional Graphic Design?

Graphic design is a powerful medium that combines artistry and communication to convey messages, captivate audiences, and leave a lasting impression. From eye-catching logos to stunning advertisements, the world of graphic design is filled with endless possibilities. But what truly sets apart a good graphic design from the rest? Let's reflect on the key elements that make a design exceptional.

A standout design begins with a unique and innovative concept. It dares to explore uncharted territories, breaking away from the conventional norms. Originality sparks curiosity and draws attention, allowing the design to leave a memorable mark. It challenges the status quo, pushes boundaries, and introduces fresh perspectives, setting itself apart from a sea of predictable designs.

Designs that tell a compelling story have the power to engage and connect with their audience on a deeper level. They evoke emotions or convey a narrative that resonates with the viewer. Incorporating storytelling elements within the design, whether through imagery, typography, or symbolism, creates an immersive experience and makes it memorable.

A group conceived the International Design Awards of designers, thinkers, and entrepreneurs as a response to the lack of recognition and celebration for innovative and sustainable multidisciplinary design.  Founded by the Farmani Group 17 years ago, the IDA aims to recognise, celebrate and promote exceptional design, accepting entries across five significant disciplines – graphic, interior, fashion, product design and architecture.  

Entries in the awards are anonymously judged by an influential jury panel of industry experts from each of the five IDA disciplines.  Jurors are in leading or Founder positions within their organisations having at least fifteen years of experience. Each Jury member is passionately committed to providing a fair and unbiased evaluation of all entries.

The judging process for entries to the IDA is based on various criteria, constantly adapting to new creative, technical, social, economic and ecological requirements. The measures provide an orientation framework and basis for judging, complementing each juror’s expertise and professional background.  However, they are not comprehensive, and not all criteria are necessarily applied to each discipline. 

Winners of the IDA receive a spectacular trophy, designed by Ron Taft, along with exposure to IDA’s vast design network, helping to give a brand and its unique designs a helpful career boost. 

In a world saturated with designs, originality and creativity are essential for standing out. Good graphic design pushes boundaries and dares to be different. It involves thinking outside the box, exploring innovative ideas, and finding unique solutions. Striving for originality captivates audiences and reflects the designer's artistic prowess and critical thinking ability.

Winning an IDA award can significantly impact a designer's career by increasing recognition, credibility, visibility, and networking opportunities. It can open doors to new job prospects and earn a designer's respect within the creative industry. Beyond the immediate benefits, it can inspire personal and professional growth, setting the stage for further success in the design journey.

Look below at some of the winning graphic designs from last year’s International Design Awards, and visit the IDA website to submit your entry. 

IDA 2022 Graphic Design of the Year 


The ‘Graphic Design of the Year was awarded to ‘Limburgs Museum’  by Total Design – Lead Designer Edwin van Praet.

👉 Further Reading:  Bauhaus Graphic Design: Past, Present, and Future

The designer explained that The Limburg Museum reaches out to everybody inside and outside Limburg. So they developed a particularly outspoken positioning, branding and communication. 

“Interaction with the sociocultural context is central to the new brand; the museum always invites people with inspiring stories. But how do you capture the promise of change and development? Behold the movement of the Meuse through the Limburg landscape. A movement that touches people enthuses them, and makes them look at their world with new eyes. That is what the Limburgs Museum wants to achieve. That is the ‘Museum with Schwung’.

IDA 2022 Emerging Graphic Designer of the Year 

Ida 2022 Emerging Graphic Designer

Joslynn Taylor from Utah Valley University was named IDA 2022 Emerging Graphic Designer of the Year for her ” Desired ” submission.

Her philosophy behind the winning entry was that a woman’s value is often based on attractiveness and how she dresses. ‘Desired’ addresses the complexities of navigating our physical world and asserts that every woman is more than a body. The five main sections of the magazine explore topics related to body image, value, shame, silence, and objectification. Joslynn outlined that “the project's overarching aim is to address the vexing dichotomy of wanting to be desired and yearning to be seen for all we are but often feeling like we’re viewed as little more than a mere object.”

IDA 2022 People’s Choice Graphic Design Award

The public voted ‘Gray Whale Gin’ by Maria Pia Miro-Quesada from Savannah College of Art and Design as their IDA graphic design favourite.

Rooted in the experience of drinking gin, this is a conceptual packaging design for Gray Whale Gin, a small distillery in California, that combines augmented reality and printed elements that allow the consumer to know more about this product than what they see on the shelf.

International Design Awards Gin

“Since this company is all about protecting the Earth — especially the ocean and everything inside it — the packaging was made from repurposed materials: scrap wood left behind at the ClarkLAB at SCAD, old jewellery containers and bio-degradable crinkle-cut paper left over from presents” commented designer Maria Pia Miro-Quesada.

IDA 2022 Gold in Print / Collateral Material, Gold in Multimedia / Brand Identity

‘Books Unbanned’ by designer John Snowden for the Brooklyn Public Library was awarded a Gold prize. 

Brooklyn Public Library

In 2022, Brooklyn Public Library launched Books Unbanned to help teens combat an increasingly coordinated and political effort to ban books in schools and public libraries nationwide. BPL’s entire electronic catalogue was opened for free to anyone in the U.S., ages 13–21. They were tasked with creating a design to communicate the issue's urgency and engage teenagers. The QR code quickly became a critical graphic element, and new material was made with the code as the focal point. The system's flexibility allowed them to provide materials for active resistance.

IDA 2022 Gold in Multimedia

Resorts World Design firm Digital Kitchen won Gold in the Multimedia category with “GLOW Immersive Media Installation” for client Resorts World Las Vegas. 


Resorts World is the first new resort on the Las Vegas Strip in over a decade and boasts some of the most giant screens in North America. The challenge was to create a content and multimedia experience that would entertain and attract the millions of visitors coming to Las Vegas every year.  GLOW is a one-of-a-kind video and multimedia spectacle – five unique ‘shows’ use a variety of design and animation techniques – 24k Magic, Dance Story, Neon Space, Wanderlust, and Vintage Vegas, which bring the property’s technologically advanced architecture to life – (Project Link: View)

👉 Further Reading:  How To Create The Perfect Website

IDA 2022 Silver in Multimedia / Animation


Branding and motion studio Studio Size from Zagreb took away the Silver prize in Multimedia/Animation for Hottype.  Lead designer Jurica Koletić explains that Hot Sans is a new geometric and grotesque typeface family from Hot Type foundry. Using motion design to present the typeface in an eye-catching dynamic form, she says that the video format allowed her to show more of the font’s character, details, and features in four dimensions. Project Link: View

The IDA offers a unique ‘Peoples’ Choice’ prize of $1000 per discipline for winners of the non-professional section of the awards. 

This means the public can choose which non-professional entries in architecture, interior, product, graphic and fashion design they want to be awarded. 

Submit Your Designs Now for the 17th IDA Awards before the early-bird deadline ends on 30th May 2023.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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