New Zealand's Best

Enter the Awards.


Entry Process

Key Dates 2016

Call for Entries – 4 April
Close of Entries – 1 July, 6pm
Late Entries – 6 July, 6pm
Supporting Material - 8 July 
Products as Supporting Material - see below re Supporting Material
Judging – 31 July - 6 August
Awards Night – 14 October 

Online Entering

Is your work eligible?

  • If work is commercially released within the year of the awards, and a production sample accessible for the judges, then an entry is eligible for entry to the 2016 Best Awards
  • You may enter your work in more than one category, or subcategory, where appropriate

How to enter your work

  • Upload 10 images online in the order you want to present your work
  • Hero Image to be your first image
  • 300dpi RGB jpegs sized 210mm x 148mm high
  • Images are resrticted to a maximum of 8MB each
  • For all categories except Student and Concept/Experimental, all images MUST be photographic
  • Photographic images must be of production product, images of rapid prototypes and models are not acceptable
  • CAD rendered images may be used ONLY to explain operations or details not evident in external photographs of the product

Explain your project

  • Explain your project so the judges understand the brief and context, the thinking, the concept and the execution – refer Evaluation Criteria
  • Up to 400 words 
  • 11pt font size

Sustainable Product Award

  • All entries for the Sustainable Product Award must also be entered in one of the other product categories
  • Only products accepted as finalist for those categories will be eligible for the Sustainable Product Award

Keeping your work anonymous
It is critical that the name of the entrant / studio / tertiary institution is not visible anywhere on the online entry, explanation or supporting material.

Supporting Material

The judges encourage you to send additional material such as product samples.

Delivery of supporting material: 

  • An email (EDM) will go out to Product Entrants on the 20th July advising when and where to send their Product samples 
  • Judging will be at AUT WA224A and 224B - a map will be provided on the EDM as to the exact location of the judging rooms
  • Delivery of the product samples will be Wednesday 3rd August between 2.30pm and 4.00pm
  • PLEASE NOTE it is a MUST that a finished example not a protoype is sent for judging (unless Concept & Experimental). Judges WILL look at the quality of how the product is finished.
  • The Entry Number must be attached to the supporting material
  • It is the responsibility of the entrant to have the entry delivered & collected at their own expense
  • Students are NOT required to submit product samples

Pick up of supporting material

  • Ensure the freight/courier compamy knows what item they are picking up for the DINZ team to locate
  • Any Product samples not picked up by 5.00pm Friday 5th August will be left and any cost to AUT to dispose of them will be forwarded to the entrant

Keeping your work anonymous
Once again, it is critical that the name of the entrant / studio / tertiary institution is not visible anywhere on supporting material.

Video as additional Supporting Material

  • Short 90 second video
  • Flythroughs, renderings or videos which explain usability, context or functionality
  • Simply upload your video to vimeo or YouTube
  • Include a URL as part of the entry process- Ensure the link is still live for the judging in August

Keeping your video anonymous
Once again, it is critical that the name of the designer / studio / tertiary institution is not visible anywhere on the video.

Credits Online

Enter the names of the:

  • Design Director(s) 
  • Creative Director(s) 
  • Design Team Contributors 
    - List either an individual's name or the company name
    - Do not include their roles 
  • Client

Enter the names of the:

  • Designer 
  • Design Team 
  • Contributors
    - List only the individual name or company
    - Don’t list the ‘role’ of the contributor 
  • Lecturer(s)

Check before you submit

Before you submit your entry online: 

  • Confirm all credits with your Design Director / Lecturer before you do the final entry submission
  • Any names you leave out cannot be added once your entry has been submitted

Sorry, we WON'T make changes once you have submitted the entry

Entry Fees

  • Non Members $289 per entry
  • Designers Institute members $189 per entry 
  • Design Institute of Australia member $189 per entry
  • Australian Graphic Design Association $189 per entry
  • Students $99 per entry

If you join the Institute before you enter the Best Design Awards, you will be able to benefit from the membership rate.


  • By credit card
  • We accept Visa or Mastercard processed online securely through DPS

Expect Email Confirmations:

  • A GST invoice / receipt after confirmation of payment
  • Entry Number

Awards and Categories

Awards Criteria

Purple - Best of the Best
Gold - Best entry in category
Silver - strongly considered for Gold
Bronze - worthy of award recognition   
Finalist - meritorious

Criteria for Product

Concept design creativity and innovation

  • Is the product prescient, does it pioneer or lead the market?
  • Does it anticipate latent* user needs and emerging trends in similar or related products, services or technologies?
    *(existing but dormant or not yet developed or not yet realised)
  • Is the design novel and creative in relation to its competitors?

 Fit for purpose and ergonomics?

  • Is it highly likely to satisfy the requirements of stakeholders in the value chain from manufacturing to the end user?
  • Is the product fit for its intended purpose?
  • Is it safe to use, does it comply with appropriate standards and is it intuitive and easy to use?
  • Does it comply with ergonomic requirements in terms of operation, experience, convenience and well-being 

Aesthetic / Appearance and style

  • Is the product form, shape, size, proportions, compositions, colour, texture and graphics appropriate for its intended purpose and context of use?
  • Is there harmony between the technical, functional (including user interaction) and aesthetic resolution of the product?
  • Does the design express appropriate brand qualities including product identity and differentiation frrom others of its type? 
  • Is the product aesthetic meaningful, attrative and desirable and is it structually convincing with no unwanted visual disturbances?
  • Does the design appropriately stimulate our intellect and senses?

Technical resolution, sustainability and quality

  • Is the product made to a high standard of construction, fit and finish? 
  • Does it satisfy appropriate performance and quality standards? 
  • Does it use materials, processes and technology in innovative, sustainable and desirable ways?

On a case-by-case basis, the above criteria may need to be supplemented by additional product specific considerations as deemed appropriate by the judges.

The Sustainable Product Design Award (SPD)

This award recognises outstanding examples of sustainable product design.

The SPD award winner(s) will be chosen from across finalists in all product design categories to ensure that products addressing sustainability issues also meet award winning standards of design.

Claims about sustainability performance and compliance must be supported by verifiable evidence.

Judging will consider functional, economic, environmental and social impact factors.

Consideration will be given to product improvement, product redesign, function innovation and system innovation.

Entries should demonstrate a clear understanding of the product life cycle impact and have successfully integrated SPD within the business enterprise and value chain.

The following criteria will be considered:

  • Product life cycle analysis and impact 
  • Environmental impact (does product carry Eco label)
  • Energy efficiency
  • Product life extension
  • Avoid/Eliminate waste, toxicity and pollution 
  • Reduce size, weight, materials, transportation and packaging 
  • Recycle, reuse, repair or safe disposal (are appropriate standards communicated) 
  • Socially responsible life cycle (Financial responsibility, human rights, health and safety, diversity and inclusiveness, enhanced community, ethics and business conduct) 


The award recognises the outstanding and innovative application of colour in product design. Consideration will be given to the following criteria:

  • Enhance brand recognition and desirability  
  • Enhanced usability, ergonomics and or safety  
  • Aesthetic innovation  
  • Awareness of issues concerning contextual, environmental and experience over time

Concepts and experimental designs which have not been implemented. 

Product for the retail market including appliances, electronic, household items, sporting and recreational products.

Domestic consumer objects, artefacts and products that are produced in a low volume series or at least in part made by the designer.

Domestic, commercial and office furniture, kitchen and bathroom 'furniture'.

Domestic and commercial lighting products intended for either interior or exterior applications.

Lighting products can be either mass produced, one offs or low volume batch produced.

Including agricultural, industrial, heavy equipment, transport, professional and medical products.

Refer to criteria section for details.

The overall 3 dimensional design, form, structure and ergonomics of structural packages used for distributing, protecting, and marketing at point of sale products including, but not limited to, manufactured goods, cosmetics or food.

Emphasis in this category is the 3 dimensional structural design content of the package.

Graphic content will only be considered where this is an integral part of the structure of the package. 



Convenor and Judges

In each discipline judging criteria differs, but across all disciplines work must be:

  • Original 
  • Well executed 
  • Relevant to its industry and context 

We take judging seriously and strive to keep judging fair and balanced.

The Designers Institute Head of Judges, the CEO, works with the Convenor of Judges, Tony Parker, FDINZ, to select individual judges. See link for Head of Judges and Convenor of Judges roles.

Judges are selected on a good cross section from the following broad based criteria:

  • Respect in the industry
  • Past winners known for the high calibre of their work
  • Able to be objective
  • Those that have had a significant role to play in the industry from related organisations in the industry or from offshore (eg: AGDA, DIA, Icograda etc)

Judging Week

Judging week is at The Designers Institute of New Zealand office.

Judging for product is held over two days.

The entries submitted online are printed by the Designers Institute as four A3 pages onto quality paper.

These are laid out in their categories on large tables for the judges to evaluate. 
Additional supporting information is placed with the entry.

The Convenor of Judges will give a full briefing before judging commences on the role the judges, the criteria, the process and the rules.

The judging is private and silent with a scoring system of 1-15 – refer to the Evaluation Criteria.

The entries are then ordered by their scores.

After each category, judges are given the chance to discuss the work before final selections are made.


Transparency of Judging

The Convenor of Judges manages conflicts of interest during the judging process.

Individual judges (including the Convenors) with conflicts of interest around a specific entry are required to remove themselves from the room during the final assessment process.

Conflicted judges cannot enter into discussion with other judges and must not influence judging of either the specific entry they are conflicted by or other entrants in that category.

The Head of Judges may temporarily take over the Convenors role in cases where the Convenor has a conflict of interest to ensure judging fairness is maintained.

If judges reach a point of disagreement, then the Convenor can assist judges with their discussion to reach agreement or an acceptable compromise.

In the case where the judges scores are tied, the Convenor of Judges may make the casting vote with the judges consent to do so.

The Convenor is also responsible for keeping the judging fair and consistent and will manage ‘strong willed’ judges from unfairly influencing the overall results of the panel.

Click to Enter.