Submission Categories

There are three main categories for submissions which are the same for both students and professional entrants; commercial, non-profit and methodology. Entries in the Methodology category are for work where the process and tools are demonstrably new or different and more significant than the business result. Students will receive a reduced entry fee, only the projects that are created in a collaboration with external clients can be accepted. The submission criteria is identical with that of the professional award.

1. Professional 
• Commercial
• Non-profit / public sector
• Methodology

2. Student
• Commercial
• Non-profit / public sector
• Methodology 

Submission costs

Earlybird Entry: February 16th - April 12th 2017

Professional SDN members: 120 Euro
Professional non-members: 180 Euro

Student SDN members: 40 Euro
Student non-members: 60 Euro

Regular Entry: April 13th - June 15th 2017

Professional SDN members: 190 Euro
Professional non-members: 250 Euro

Student SDN members: 60 Euro
Student non-members: 80 Euro

*There is an additional 7% VAT charge for entrants within Germany
**There is an additional 7% VAT charge for entrants in Europe, except those with a VAT number


What to Submit

An entry consists of four separate parts:

  1. submission report with a maximum length of five pages (Manifestation can be excluded from the five pages. Save as a single PDF)
  2. single-page summary for media coverage purpose
  3. poster for exhibition purpose (300 dpi, CMYK version)
  4. Five to ten photos or graphics about the project (high resolution, RGB, single PDF)

All parts of the entry must be uploaded to the entry system. No physical entries are accepted. Check the Award timeline for key submission dates and find further details about the entry requirements below.

Submission Part 1: Submission Report Format

The submission report must have the following format:

  •  A4 or Letter-sized, with a maximum length of five pages 
  • Text size should be 11 points Helvetica/Arial at 1.5 line spacing
  • Written in English
  • PDF format. Maximum single document file size is 15 MB

If the entry exceeds five pages, then the additional pages will not be considered by the jury. 

In the submission report, the following information must be given:
1. Manifestation: Please submit a statement signed by the external stakeholders in order to validate the project (for students, it can be a reference from the school).  Please  make mention of any confidential information which you do not want to be made public.
• Validation of the project by the external stakeholder 
• Agreement on sharing the project in public  by the applicant
•  Statement of any  confidential information

2. Process: Please concisely explain and illustrate the entire end-to-end service design process/ project development.
• Describe the design tools or methods and the process used
• How did you gather (customer) insight?
• How did you test the product/service concept?

3. Output: Please provide visual examples of the outputs at each stage of process, final deliverables to the client and the final user-facing outputs of the project. We would like to isolate what you supplied from what the client finally delivered to market.
• Describe where/how design adds value to the service
• Benefits for the customer?
• Effects for the organisation?
• Benefits for the competition/market?

4. Impact: Your submission contained statements on the impact of your work. We would like to see a written statement from your client independently acknowledging the information supplied. This statement should be signed by your client, and included up-to-date contact details for them.
• Describe cause and effect related to the project
• Describe the scale of impact

Validation of results must include before and after quantitative or qualitative data. In case of Methodology that has not been applied yet, please specify the hypothetic impact based on your case study. 

Submission Part 2: Single Page Summary

The summary of the project is a condensed report of the project suitable for publishing in media both online and offline. Importantly the summary may not contain any confidential information. It must be uploaded in PDF format. Maximum single document file size is 15 MB.

• Overview on the project includes the objective, the target market and industry sector

• Describe the service before the project (industry sector, target audience etc..), if applicable

Submission Part 3: Poster Format

A one-page poster must be provided for exhibition and publication purposes, which includes around five photos or illustrations (which are separately required as well) and the project summary. You are free to layout the poster with the template provided. The poster will be used in the global exhibition of entered work as well as for promotional purposes.

Poster Specifications 
  • The size of the poster must be 850mm wide x 2000mm in height (portrait orientation). 
  • All text on the poster must be written in English.
  • Posters must be submitted as a PDF file, 300 dpi, CMYK
  • The contents are basically identical to the submissions (overview, process, benefits and impact). You must respect the order of the contents, but you are completely free to design the poster within the four sections. Ensure that you do not include any confidential information which you do not want to be made public.
  • Your poster must include around five images/photos or diagrams that are related to the  text. The  images should be JPG format, 300 dpi - high quality compression.
  • Avoid too much text - a  good example would be approximately: 20% text, 40% graphics and 40% images and empty space.
Font Size
  • Title headings should be 90pt
  • Subheadings should be 50pt 
  • Actual text should be 30pt 

See the poster template in pdf

Download poster template .ai
Download poster template.eps
See posters by the 2016 winners and finalists

Submission Part 4: 5-10 Photos/Images about the Project

All entrants must supply five to ten images of the project in a combined PDF format, 300 dpi - high quality compression (8 in Photoshop, around 80% quality), in A4 format (210 by 297 millimeter or 8.27 in x 11.7 in). If you include any context-setting images which feature someone else’s work, these images must be labelled. Maximum single document file size is 15 MB.

Keep in Mind:

Importance of the English Language

This is as an international award and all submissions must be in English. Ensuring the entry is written by a native English speaker significantly improves the chances of the entry being shortlisted and perhaps even winning an award.

In order to ensure a consistently high level of quality for all entries, all early bird entries will be reviewed by a native English speaker to gauge whether or not the language quality is good enough for the work to have a chance. Note, however, that a review of language is not a review of content and the reviewer will give no feedback on it. Whether or not to accept the reviewers recommendations for language improvement is voluntary.

Clarity of Presentation 

How well-written, structured and presented. Clear, concise entries will deliver a stronger message to the jury.  Additionally, please try to make the single-page summary as interesting as possible. This document is preferentially reviewed among your materials. An excellent summary can certainly get  the Jury members more into your submission.

Cause and Effect 

Proof beyond reasonable doubt of a cause and effect between the service design and the results. Evidence of targets set in the original brief against the results achieved.

Clarity of Results 

The jury is looking for evidence of what results were achieved, not why a particular approach was chosen.

Scale of Effect

Analysis of all effects, not just the primary effect as detailed in the brief. Often a better customer experience also includes more satisfied employees and better financial results. However, keep in mind that all the effects must be documented and substantiated.

Other Entry Criteria

  • Disqualification

Entries submitted to the Award must be honest and comply to the rules. Any entry that is found subsequent to judging or the Award Ceremony to have included false or misleading information may be disqualified and have its Award withdrawn.

  • Right of the judging panel

The judging panel's decision is final. The jury reserves the right not to accept an entry if the rules have not been strictly complied with. The jury has the right to move an entry from one category to another if they think it appropriate.

  • Confidential information 

Where submitted materials contain sensitive or confidential information that must not be disclosed, then you must clearly label those aspects of your submission that are confidential, as so. The summary poster of the project must in any case be devoid of confidential information.

  • Copyright

By submitting written or artistic work, each entrant guarantees that approval of the client and or consultant has been obtained and entrants (on behalf on themselves and their clients/consultants) give the organisers as part of the Service Design Network and Service Design Awards the right to reproduce all or part of their entry (except for that labeled confidential) at any time in the future.

The organisers reserve the right to give permission to third parties to publish the whole or any part of submitted material as part of the Award or reporting thereon.

Frequently asked questions

1. When should the project have been launched?

Often it takes time to gather the relevant result-data, so don't just consider your current projects. Show us if the results of older projects are just now becoming apparent! 

2. What is the format of submission? 

PDF or JPEG. You can upload total 6 files on the online registration system. You must upload minimum four files (summary, report, photos, poster- each file should be a single PDF). You can upload two extra materials if you have anything to show us. 

3. Do I need to include picture to submission report?  

It’s your choice to combine pictures to your submission report. People normally create it text-only because of the volume limitation (total 5 pages). Please note that Jury members can also refer to your poster which contains  visuals + description of your project. 

4. What if my methodology does not yet have an actual measurement of the application?

  In case of Methodology that has not been applied in a real business, please specify the hypothetic impact based on a case study that you’ve done while developing the Methodology.  Impact is not the only criteria to evaluate submissions, but it is important to make your project as tangible as possible.