Check out Creative Boom's brief guide to 77 design, digital, and marketing communications competitions, which between them, offer more than 3,000 distinct award categories that're yours for the taking in the financial year of 2015-16.

The list is organised by the month when the standard price entry deadline falls. Most of these competitions will allow you to enter later, but will charge an extra fee on top of those listed below. With 3,000+ gongs to choose from – and some prestigious competitions enterable for under £100 – 2015-16 could prove to be your breakout year.

Keep an eye out for the free to enter and the big cash prizes as you read on...


Chip Shop Awards

Twenty-five light-hearted categories such as 'Best Work For a Brand You Haven't a Hope in Hell of Winning' and 'Best Shameless Self-promotion' – with the aim of fostering and recognising creativity without conventional boundaries, i.e. they don't even have to be 'real life' client projects.
£99 to enter.

Check out the categories

Hermes Creative Awards

Well-established international competition for creative professionals in marcomms, advertising, PR, graphic design, web and digital. 194 categories. Deadline 10th April. Hurry!
$65 to enter.

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SICAB 2015 International Poster Contest

Now in its 25th year, this is a competition for high-impact artwork in advertising. It's free to enter, with a €3,000 first prize, and €1,000 prize for various runners-up. All you need is a kick-ass poster bigger than 1 x0.7 metres, and you're in with a chance…

More details

Lovie Awards

The Lovie Awards recognise outstanding online work in 34 categories, inc. websites, advertising, internet video, mobile, apps and social. Entrants of all shapes and sizes welcome – but strictly 'real' client work.
Entry from €95.

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Creative for a Cause

Fiverr and Ad Age are challenging designers and copywriters to create an NYC subway ad for C/I, a non-profit that helps underserved communities thrive in the tech industry. The winning submission will run on more than 300 NYC subway platforms this summer, and win $1000 cash.
Open to all, and free to enter

Competition rules

The Stevies

Running since 2002, the Stevies are the International Business Awards, with a vast array of categories pertaining to creativity, innovative campaigns, branding and all things digital. Did you know 'Stephen' means 'crowned' in Greek?
From $255 to enter.

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Prestigious worldwide packaging design awards competition, running since 2007. Fifty-five categories by vertical. Former winners include some rather sexy glassware from Evian and Absolut Vodka.
Entry from €145

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Design Week Awards

Prove you're the don of type, texture, colour and space in any of twenty-two categories including identity design, brand campaigns and interactive design.
£155 to enter.

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BIMA Awards

Thirty awards, including all the fave 'best of the year' and vertical cats but with interesting technical gongs for data-centric campaigns, immersive experiences and service design.
Free for members, £295 for non-members, £25 for students.

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International Cartoon Festival

Now in its fourth year, the International Festival of Sports Cartoon has chosen the muse, cycling.
No entry fee, prize €600

More details

HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards

Whether you enter a self-promo to showcase a design firm's capabilities, a project that touts a client's goods, an announcement for a major life event, or a design portfolio, you could be a winner. Eight categories. The winner gets a paid trip to 'HOW Design Live' (USA, city TBA - it was Chicago last time).
$75 to enter.

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RAR+ Digital Awards

The Recommended Agency Register has been running since 2007 and last year, launched a gala night to celebrate those who delight their clients with amazing digital work. Twenty-four awards categories across three company size bands, covering all aspects of digital campaigns.

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National Business Awards

The NBA's are now in their 14th year. There isn't a particularly creative flavour, but you may be tempted by the alluring crown, 'Digital Business of the Year' for showing "exceptional delivery, site engagement & functionality, security, innovation, ethical practice and sales growth."
£195 to enter.

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CorelDraw International Design Contest

Wanna win 10,000 dollars in cash? And a printer/cutter worth £5k? Then check out this multi-disciplinary art & design competition sponsored by CorelDraw.
Enter for free.

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Commarts Design

Time honoured, influential competition for designers creating posters, brochures, packaging, trademarks, corporate identity, integrated branding, catalogues, self-promotion, letterheads and signage and more…13 categories.
From $45 to enter.

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Commarts Advertising

Running since 1959, this competition features the best of the best of print ads, posters, broadcast and new media, as well as a burgeoning 'new' category—integrated media campaigns. 13 categories in total.
From $45 to enter.

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The Popai's are all about creativity and innovation in in-store design/ communication with twenty-two categories up for grabs.
Entry starting at £175.

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PR News Online Awards

Thirty-eight awards, majoring on PR, but offering distinct categories for rebrands, Facebook campaigns, SEO and other digital stuff.
$350 to enter.

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HOW In-House Design Awards

Rewarding outstanding work in corporate identity, sales collateral, point-of-purchase displays, employee communication, membership materials and more, this awards programme shines a spotlight on a relatively unsung segment of the design industry. 13 categories.
From $75 to enter.

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Dadi Awards (Drum Awards for the Digital Industries)

Open to digital agencies, creative agencies, media owners, in-house teams or clients, the Dadis have thirty-four categories covering most of the spectrum of digital marketing and user experience work.
£190 to enter.

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The Lumen Prize

Now in its fourth year, the Lumen Prize Exhibition celebrates the very best art created digitally. Artists from all round the world may submit works made on electronic devices, such as smart phones, tablets, 3D printers and computers using apps, software or original coding - and the winning work goes on a world tour.
$45 to enter, with a prize pot of $10,000.

More info

Media Week Awards

Rewarding creativity innovation and coloration by agencies and media owners, mostly on a campaign-by-campaign basis, but with a few 'of the year' type categories running alongside. There are twenty-eight categories to choose from.
From £240 to enter.

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CIPR Excellence Awards

Premier gong night for PRs, with twenty-eight awards segmented by vertical, along with categories such as 'Best use of Digital', 'Best use of Social', and 'Outstanding Young Communicator'… most categories are open to non-members.
There is no mention of fees, but it doesn't say free either – call for more info.

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CIPR Pride Awards

The most credible regional awards in the public relations industry, the PRide Awards recognise and reward outstanding work across nine UK regions. With 21 categories per region, that's 189 chances for a Creative Boomer to win a prestigious award!

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Digital Entrepreneur Awards

The Digital Entrepreneur awards have been honouring Britain's online entrepreneurial talent for nine years, with 12 awards categories championing developers, marketers and digital innovators.

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Advertising Producers Association Show

The Oscars for adverts, in a nutshell. Running since 2002, the APP Show is a unique cinema-style showcase of the best of the year's commercials from UK production companies and agencies, who produce audio visual advertising content across any media.
Members only, but fees are scaled according to the size of your company.

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Campaign Big Awards

Has seven 'Agency of the Year' awards, one for each key media: digital & Interactive, direct, film, outdoor, press and integrated. To stand a chance of winning, you must submit work to one of the 11 vertical categories. This is a big one, notable for appearing on the strict list of awards M&C Saatchi will enter this year.

Check out the categories

Design Effectiveness Awards

Championing the role of effective design in the creation of business growth for nearly 30 years, the DBA presents 63 awards across 16 categories inc. packaging, point of sale, digital and brand identity.
£520 for members, £1020 for non-members.

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M&M Global Awards

Respected long-running magazine presents 18 awards inc. digital, social, content creation, engagement strategies and entertainment platforms.
Entry from £250.

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Poster for Tomorrow

Seventh Annual edition of the global poster competition that chooses a basic human right to address. In 2015, it's the universal right to healthcare. Free to enter up to ten different posters, the best hundred win and go on a world tour. The posters that is, not you.
Free to enter

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Fresh Awards

The freshest of PR, media, digital and creative campaigns, where "bog standard ideas need not apply". There's a mammoth list of categories, too many to count. And best of all? Freelancers enter free.
Free entry for freelancers

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UK Social Media Awards

If you're bossing the engagement stats on social platforms, this is the award for you. From 'Best Use of… insert platform here' to awards for crisis management, research/evaluation and making a big impact on a low budget.18 categories to go for.
Enter for £80.

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Integrated Marketing Communication Council Awards

The pan-European IMC has 14 awards for strategic creative work like brand building, innovative concepts, and product launches and trials, and 1:1 communication via digital.
€300 euro to enter.

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HOW Logo Design Awards

HOW's Logo Design Competition began in 2008 and "quickly erupted as a prestigious contest that recognises great logo design."
$45 to enter.

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Social Buzz Awards

Celebrating and rewarding the very best in social media comms, split into 'best use' categories by platform and function, i.e. 'Best Use of Pinterest' or 'Best Use of Group', 'Best Use of Photo-sharing', 'Best Use of Location Services' etc. - 18 categories in total.
£89 to enter.

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Effective Mobile Marketing Awards

Now in their sixth year, the EMMAs recognise excellence in mobile marketing across 35 categories, mostly carved up by function, i.e. 'Best Loyalty' campaign, 'Best In-store Initiative' and 'Best Augmented Reality'.
Entries are £175.

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Ecommerce Awards

The 7th Ecommerce Awards will reward 29 categories on everything from ground breaking innovations and campaigns to customer service excellence and revenue growth - creatives should head straight for the 'specialist categories' which highlight stellar work in design and comms.
£160 to enter.

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HOW International Design Awards

International design competition that showcases its best discoveries in the award-winning HOW Magazine. Winner gets a paid trip to the USA, for 'How Design Live 2016' – 20 categories, ranging from objects to identity to publications.
$75 to enter.

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Commarts Typography

Celebrating the best use of typography as the primary visual element in design and advertising… plus new typeface designs, calligraphy and hand lettering. 16 categories to choose from.
From $45 to enter.

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Blog Awards

Chance to get recognised for your genius blogging, either for a client or on a personal level. 12 categories split up by subject matter, and two winners for each i.e. individual or company.
Entry is free.

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London Design Awards

Over 40 categories of all things 2D and 3D design, from products to packaging, from buildings to events, and every facet of marketing collateral imaginable. If there's nothing you'd like to win here, you're probably not a designer…
Entry fees TBA.

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International Visual Identity Awards 2015

The International Visual Identity Awards is the first independent international design competition dedicated solely to visual identity, with 20 vertical categories to showcase your client work in. Open to all companies, agencies, freelance designers and students.
Entry from £54.

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Hiii Illustration

Internationally well-known judges – one of them draws for DC Comics – assess entries from illustrators, creative professionals, publishers, agencies, representatives, and students from all over the world. Six categories to choose from.
First round is free, second round is $20.

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The Digitals

Celebrating how digital success is a team game, entrants are a joint effort by agencies and client. Twenty-four categories, some by function – i.e. content marketing, innovative new technology – and some by vertical – e.g. gambling and gaming. Could be hard to win: some globally famous campaigns took the gongs last year, such as #likeagirl
£250 to enter.

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European Excellence Awards

Prestigious PR awards from Communication Director magazine, with 60 categories covering every aspect of internal and external comms, from 'Best Intranet' to 'Best CSR' or even the seductively titled 'European Campaign of the Year.' Open to PR, brand-building and marketing pros across Europe.
€240 to enter.

Check out the categories

Creative Out Of Home Award

Are you doing great work on 'out of home' advertising? If so, there are 27 categories here to showcase your integrated campaigns, from posters and billboards to the fully ambient experiential.
Entry from £180.

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Commarts Interactive

Showcasing the best work around in web, interactive kiosk and handheld devices… Eight categories across various tech including websites/micro-sites, environmental, mobile, other interactive media, social, tablets/handheld devices.
From $100 to enter.

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HOW Poster Design Awards

From music and movie poster designs to letterpress, typographic posters: any one of them could win this freestyle poster completion from HOW.
$45 to enter.

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Print: Legends of Advertising

Print Magazine has been going for 70 years, winning awards for celebrating the best in advertising and design. Now it's their turn to give out awards… Print Legends of Advertising has 12 categories, by channel, including digital/social and non-traditional.
$75 to enter.

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MAA Best Awards

The Best Awards showcase the most innovative work produced by the UK's top creative agency talent, and look for people who're doing things differently. Is that you? If so, they have 39 awards you could win, celebrating simultaneously the creativity, craft and people that make up great campaigns. And I suspect the trophy for 'Best Breakthrough Agency' is a knuckleduster. Nice.
£295 for MAA members, £354 for non-members.

Check out the categories

Euro Best

Europe-wide festival of creativity in Antwerp, with 16 awards categories by medium, seven special awards – i.e. 'Independent Agency of the Year' and two gongs specifically for young creatives. If you're fixin' to crack Europe, this would be a fine place to start.
Entries start at 330 euro.

Check out the categories

PR Daily's Content Marketing Awards

Global competition to find the best of the best that write, edit, film, and publish content which promotes a brand or organisation. 10 categories including 'Best Infographics,' 'Best Article' and 'Best Video'.
$195 to enter.

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Cristal Festival of Media & Advertising International Awards

Creativity and Innovation Festival in Courchevel, France, with 16 competitions further segmented by business sector and technique, i.e. in the PR competition alone there are 16 subdivisions. All the usual suspects are there too: film, consumer marketing, design (with its fifteen awards, both 2D and 3D). Something for everyone here.
€145 to enter.

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The Epica Awards

Founded in 1987, The Epica are the only creative prizes awarded by a panel of journalists working for marketing and communications magazines across the globe. Sixty-two awards, with a particular emphasis on craft and technique – and a conspicuous absence of '….of the years' – preferring to give awards for 'Copywriting and Storytelling' and 'Best Use of Music'. It's a purists' celebration of craftsmanship… love it.
2015 entry fees TBA.

Check out the categories


November's a quiet month for awards entries. Go and enjoy the fireworks…


Print Mag Typography and Lettering Awards

If you've done some quality typographic designs, original typefaces or handlettered work, enter them into this. Open to all designers, graphic designers, and hand-letterers—from professionals and freelancers to students with three categories in total.
$50 to enter.

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PR Week Awards

Recognising sterling efforts in helping companies tell their stories, over a variety of channels. With 21 categories, from consumer launch to crisis management on the campaign side, and a whole bunch of '…of the years' , some of which you have to be operating on three continents to win.
£300 to enter.

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CIM Marketing Excellence Awards

A total of 14 categories, divided into 'individual and team' awards and gongs for 'capabilities,' such as brand management, digital transformation, customer experience and performance measurement. Typical entries must describe/quantify something akin to: 'enhanced performance from launching a new look and feel.'
£220 to enter.

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Marketing Design Awards

Twenty categories that reflect the diversity of the applications of design, with winner picked from a scoring system based on 'understanding of brief, strategy, creative treatment, implementation and results.' Pay £200 to enter a campaign into a 'product sector' category and get a chance to win in a 'Design Use Category', i.e. if you win 'Best Food and Household,' you might win 'Best Packaging' too.
£200 to enter.

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Webby Awards

With 19 years of honouring the best of the internet, these awards from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences has been described as the 'internet's highest honour' (by the NY Times). If you've done amazing work in websites, interactive advertising & media, online film & video, mobile sites & apps, and social, give the Webbys a shot. Too many categories to count: 100+ as a guestimate.
Entries start at $150, but most are $295.

Check out the categories

Drum Marketing Awards

Fancy winning 'Design Strategy of the Year?' 'Direct and Promotional Strategy of the Year?' 'Brand Development Strategy of the year?' or 'PR Strategy of the Year?'. These prestigious titles and 25 other classy-sounding marcomms gongs could be yours…
£185 per entry.

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Golden Hedgehogs a.k.a the PR Moment Awards

A north/south divide to this one, with one set of winners crowned in London, and one in Manchester… the Golden Hedgehogs is most notable for its epic 62-strong judging panel, made up of C-suite folk from most of the biggest agencies and brands in UK PR. If you're an ambitious young spinmeister looking to get noticed, this might be the one for you…
£75 per entry, 27 categories.

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The Sabre Awards

SABRE stands for 'Superior Achievement in Branding, Reputation & Engagement' and its awards are open to anyone working in public relations, advertising, digital and social media. There are 124 categories concerned with all manner of engagement and advocacy, with distinct awards by channel, territory and speciality.
$330 to enter.

Check out the categories.

Golden Quill Awards

For more than 40 years, IABC's Gold Quill Awards have recognised excellence in strategic communication worldwide, rewarding innovative thinking, creative solutions and demonstrable results. There are 47 categories, with titles like 'Exceptional Use of Strategic Communication to Address a Business Issue'.
From $250 to enter.

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New York Festivals World's Best Advertising Awards

New York Festivals has been honouring the 'World's Best Work' in media since 1957. Its advertising competition has been going since 1994. To win, campaigns must address a challenge in the marketplace, and utilise outstanding creative elements. With 64 categories, split by vertical, discipline, medium and social benefits.
$795 to enter…yes, $795.

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Rose Creative Awards

Celebrating the craft behind campaigns, with 44 awards for stuff like art direction, typography, copywriting, animation, photography and work in an 'unusual size/special build' – any one of the Roses would look gorgeous on your CV/mantelpiece.
£165 to enter.

Brand Republic Digital Awards

Loads of categories rewarding outstanding work in search, social, video and much more. Marketing on a shoestring looks interesting, where "entrants will demonstrate the proven effect of a digital marketing budget of less than £20,000 on the commercial success of a brand". There are 32 categories in total.
£210 to enter.

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The Momas

The MOMAs (Marketing on Mobile Awards) champion the most effective campaigns created for mobile, and celebrate the most innovative work in one of the most exciting channels in marketing with 35 categories.
£170 to enter.

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D&AD Professional

A major event in the design and advertising calendar, with categories for everything from film shorts and animation to book design and 'creativity for good.' The overarching categories are Design, Comms, Film, 3D, Crafts and Tech, with around 20 awards to be won in each. Winning a Yellow Pencil is awesome, but winning a Black Pencil is the Holy Grail – usually only one or two are given in a year.
Entries start around £100, but vary greatly between categories.

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Shorty Awards

Annual social media awards for brands, agencies and freelancers who excel at producing real-time short-form content across Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, etc. It's tough to keep track of the number of categories, because anyone can invent one at any time, simply by kicking off a hashtag.
Free for individuals, $399 dollars for brands.

To find out more

Marketing Society Awards for Excellence

The Marketing Society Excellence Awards has been running for over 30 years, and is judged by a panel of senior bods from global 'household name' brands. Twenty-three categories, including 'Communicating Brilliantly', 'Making a Difference' and 'Brand Revitalisation.' Highly reputable, and well worth winning.
Entry fee of £380 for members and £500 for non-members.

Check out the categories

The One Show

Annual New York City awards show recognising the best creative work in advertising, interactive, design and branded entertainment. Super prestigious, with around 100 categories covering all aspects of data, digital and design.
Entries start around $300.

Check out the categories here

American Association of Advertising Agencies Partner Awards

For companies that engage in creative partnerships – for anything from a campaign to a cheeky stunt. Part of the 4A's mission is to "salute those that put their egos aside for the greater good of properly servicing the client and creating meaningful work." Entries are made by case study video.
Eight categories/entry from $325.

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Cresta Awards

Running for 23 years, the Crestas are fought out by advertising agencies, advertisers, studios and production companies worldwide. Fifty-nine categories, for all manner of 2D and 3D design, photography and film craft – e.g. art direction, editing etc.
$395 to enter.

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Penguin Design Award

Competition where art and design students create a a book cover to a brief, in the hope of winning an internship at the world's biggest publisher, Penguin Random House – and a cool £1,000 cash.
Free to enter.

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D&AD New Blood

Open to anyone aged 18-23, and students and recent grads of any age. Pick a brief from the selection, unleash your boundless creativity and take a £20 punt on kickstarting your future… if you're studying art/design, you really should be entering this.

See the 2015 briefs

Creativity International Awards

One of the longest-running independent international advertising and graphic design competitions. 2016 will be its 46th year, and ad agencies, web designers, developers, graphic designers, photographers, freelancers, producers, marketers, app developers and corporate art departments will all clamour to win. 100+ categories across print, media and interactive.
A very reasonable $115 to enter, $45 for students.

Check out the categories

Communicator Awards

Design, marketing and PR awards, rewarding every creative aspect of the marketing mix, via 100 distinct awards in fifteen categories. Been running 20+ years and prides itself on picking out the big ideas in marketing communications, with judging by top-tier pros from the International Academy of the Visual arts, whose members inc. Disney and MTV.
Entries start at $95.

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PCRA Dare Awards

Five UK regional awards ceremonies, ten gongs in each. Strictly PR, with only a dishing of digital execution on the menu. Open to PR consultancies, in-house communications teams, digital agencies, marketing teams and media owners.
Entry starts from £80.

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Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

Nothing perks up your career like a Cannes Lion – this is one all the big boys want to win. With creative discipline categories including fiction, film, craft, cyber, design and loads more, each with a seemingly never-ending torrent of sub-niches – yes, competition is fierce but competition is fierce everywhere. With so many awards to choose from, one of them might have your name on it.
Entries start at €450.

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Red Dot

Identifying good design since 1955, last year the Red Dot Design Award received more than 16,500 applications from 70 countries. Entries undergo "blind" adjudication, where the identity and circumstances of the competitor are secret from the jury, affording impoverished students a level playing field with big-spending global agencies. Thirty-one categories, e.g. 'Mobility,' 'Energy' and 'Public Space', are all deliberately vague, so as to stimulate the imagination. And the grand finale is in Singapore.
Entries around £70.

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Summit International Creative Awards

Another blind judging process, the SIAs give out advertising awards to firms with 'limited billings' - strictly under $30 million! Entries start at an affordable $95, with well over 100 design, PR and craft/technique awards to be won. Running for 21 years, the SIAs are highly credible, and happily free of intimidatingly supermassive agencies cramping your style.
Enter from $95.

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AMEC Awards 2015

Running for thirteen years the – deep breath – International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication - has a bunch of new categories for PR professionals to enter… such as 'Most Effective Consumer PR Campaign', 'Most Effective B2B Campaign' and 'Best Not-For-Profit'.
Entry starts from £133.

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Facebook Studio Awards

Facebook Studio Awards 'set the bar for the creative growth and evolution of Facebook' and they're free to enter. There are just six categories: Integrated Campaign, Craft, Social Tech, Media Strategy, Facebook for Good and New Frontiers, so it could prove a tough nut to crack, but if you've been doing awesome work on Facebook, it'd be silly not to enter…
Free entry.

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The London International Awards

Founded in 1986, the LIA began by honouring international advertising in in cinema, television, print and radio, and has evolved into covering the full canon of modern media, inc. music video, branded entertainment and digital, with many graphic design categories running alongside.
Entry starts at $325.

Check out the categories


So there you have it. Some awards are more expensive than others, but there are lots of gongs worth winning you can enter for under a hundred quid. Of course, the costs of winning may ultimately work out a lot more, because if you're shortlisted you'll have to attend the ceremony… but the benefits could turn out be enormous.

To avoid disappointment, please be sure to check exact dates/terms and conditions before you start crafting your entry. Good luck. Get stuck in.

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