Every industry has award competitions that businesses and practitioners want to win. Design is no different. Award opportunities are everywhere. At one point in my life, I felt strongly about the need to win at least one award. In fact, I succeed a few times. However, nowadays I pay little attention to awards.
Awards and competitions can serve as a great way to celebrate a communities success, highlight a few notable contributors and yes, winning can provide a level of validation. But remember, winning isn’t everything.
Throughout my entire career, I’ve never once hired someone (or a company) because of how many awards they’ve won. I've hired them based on how they work, their values, how well they fit my needs today and into the future and it goes without saying that they should have the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to do the job that I’m asking them to do.
Trophy cases and awards can’t tell me all of that. They only really illustrate how well a team did on those one or two projects that they've won awards for. And we know that no two projects are exactly the same. Heck, we don't know anything about the team's or projects they were competing with.
Here’s my recommendation for us all. Please enjoy the friendly competition with your peers. It ensures we continue to raise our standards as an industry. Celebrate your wins, but remember that the real reward is being able to create meaningful work that you’re proud of. Work that solves the needs of your client or the company you work for. If you aim to do that every day, you'll inevitably receive thanks and public recognition for it.