The Best Design, Illustration, Animation and VFX Awards of 2017

Better Shelter - a flatpack home for refugees - won the Beazley Designs of the Year Awards 2016.

Awards are a wonderful time to celebrate the diverse talent of the creative industries – whether you're a student, aspiring artist or industry professional, there’s plenty of chance to have your work recognised. 

Although some major awards have already passed, such as the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year Awards and the VES Awards (both of which we’ve still mentioned here), there’s plenty more for you to enter. 

If your expertise is design, illustration, animation or VFX, we’ve put together the awards worth entering in the UK and US. Many entry deadlines close in February or March, so you better get in quick. 

Of course, we had to include The Oscars and BAFTA Awards for a little (or a lot of) inspiration.

Read on to find out entry closing dates, ceremony dates, entry details and fees. We'll definitely be adding more awards to the list, so keep checking in. 

Design Awards 2017

Design Museum’s Beazley Designs of the Year

We always look forward to these awards, which really bring out a wonderful variety of design talent. The Designs of the Year Awards focus on design that brings about change and improved access, with 2016’s nominees and winners having a heavy focus on the refugee crisis. 

The winner’s for the Beazley Designs of the Year 2016 have recently been announced, and there was some huge talent in the running.

Better Shelters, a flat-pack refugee shelter was the overall winner (as seen in this image), designed by Johan Karlsson, Dennis Kanter, Christian Gustafsson, John van Leer, Tim de Haas, Nicolo Barlera, the IKEA Foundation and UNHCR.

Other category winners including David Bowie’s Blackstar album cover, a coffee cup for space, and an integrated bike helmet. 

This year the nominees were displayed in an exhibition at the Design Museum's new location in South Kensington. We went along and saw everything from DIY open surgery tool to a new Adidas running shoe made from ocean plastic debris.

Keep an eye out for when entries re-open. 

Clio Awards

Probably the most well known of the advertising awards, and rather Mad Men-esque, the Clio awards have been celebrating innovation from advertising agencies since 1959.

Last year winners included Havas Worldwide NY for their work with Heineken, , We Believers for Saltwater Brewery’s edible six-pack rings and Framestore's The Field Trip to Mars (as seen in this image).

The date for the 2017 Clio awards show has been set for September 27 in New York City. The first deadline for entries is April 28, followed by May 26 and June 30, but entry fees for the latter two dates will increase. The shortlists will be announced on August 21 and September 5 and the Bronze, Silver, Gold & Hall of Fame winners will be announced on September 11.

For more information on how to enter and entry fees click here.

D&AD Awards

D&AD Pencils

The D&AD Awards are one of the most recognised awards for creatives in the UK, and winning a D&AD Pencil is definitely a career highlight for many (check out what these mothers of winners have to say about it, for example). 

There are a four you can enter into – the Professional Awards, Next Awards, New Blood Awards, and Impact Awards.

The Professional Awards recognise excellence in advertising and design. Entering means your work could be displayed at the D&AD Festival exhibition in London in April.

The Next Awards celebrate the next rising directors and photographers, with an award for each discipline. The Next Photographer Award winner is given a $5,000 grant in partnership with Getty Images.

Hong Kong-Chinese photographer Tam Hoi Ying won the Next Photographer Award last year

The Next Director Award is for any filmmakers with less than two years industry experience. Entries can include live action, animation, commercials, documentaries, short films and music videos.

The D&AD New Blood Awards plays an important role of shedding light on fresh new talent. Sixteen brands have issued creative briefs that are available now, covering design, film, illustration, copywriting and campaigns. The winners receive their own New Blood Pencil. 

Entries for the Impact Awards open on May 1. These awards celebrate where design and creativity makes the biggest impact, in areas of community, diversity, education and urban living to name a few. This year’s judges include Jamie Oliver, Tim Brown, Susan Smith Ellis and David Droga.

For more information on fees and how to enter click on the links provided.

Entry close dates are as follows:

  • Professional Awards - March 1
  • New Blood Awards - March 22
  • Next Awards - February 22
  • Impact Awards – June 14

RSA Student Design Awards

2015 winner of the Patricia Tindale Legacy Award Kazuko Morohashi's heritage storytelling project called Walkies

The RSA Student Design Awards challenge emerging designers to improve social, environmental and economic issues through design. Since they founded in 1924 the awards are the longest-running student competition in the world.

The briefs given, developed by industry partners, tackle “real-world problems”. Winners are given cash prizes, paid industry placements and other benefits to kick start their careers. Basically, it’s well worth entering if you're a recent graduate.

There are 12 briefs tackling issues of agile ageing, pregnancy, cultural understanding and home design. It’s worth having a look at previous winners to get an idea of the talent. The final entry date is March 8.

Design Week Awards

Winner of the Digital Installation category 2016 - Digital Signage by Framestore for Morgan Stanley & Bloomberg

The Design Week Awards - which are highly regarded in the UK - celebrate innovation in commercial design across many sectors ranging from branding to digital, interiors to products.

Individual designers, design groups, agencies or clients worldwide are all eligible to enter the awards, which have been running for 26 years.

Twenty-four categories have been put into five main groups – communication, spaces, digital, products, furniture and special awards. Participants can enter into more than one category and there’s no limit to the number of different projects entered by one entity.

Entries close March 8. The awards night will be held on June 13. Find out how to enter and entry costs.

Illustration Awards 2017

AOI World Illustration Awards

The World Illustration Awards (backed by the Association of Illustrators) is the most significant awards for illustration in the UK, and have since partnered with California-based Directory of Illustration to expand its reach to the US.

Categories include advertising, books, children’s books, editorial, research, self-initiated and site specific. For each there are separate Professional and New Talent awards (New Talent being for current students and those who graduated less than two years ago). 

Entering costs £25/€30/US$33 for a single entry, or £45/€54/$60 for multiple entries. You can enter here before February 20.

The awards have an exhibition of all the entries hosted annually at Somerset House in London. See the 2016 winners here

Cheltenham Illustration Awards

The Cheltenham Illustration Awards are a lesser known, but are open to all students and emerging and established illustrators. And the best part – entries are free.

These awards issue a theme to guide the illustrated entries, which should have a focus on visual storytelling (whether sequential or one image). This year the phrase is 'Tales Through Others Eyes'.

The University of Gloucestershire administers the awards, which are split into two loose sections – Student and Emerging and Established. Last year saw over 1,000 entries. 

The elected work will be showcased in an exhibition in Cheltenham and published in the awards annual, which will be distributed to publishers around the world.

Entries close on June 1. Find out more on how to enter here.

Animation Awards 2017

The Oscars


The Oscars don’t need explaining – it’s one of the most acclaimed awards for actors, directors, animators, writers and filmmakers. And we all love to watch the extravagant event. We feature it here because it recognises the work from some of the best animators, which can be used as inspiration if nothing else.

This year’s nominees for Best Animated Feature include Kubo and the Two Strings, which has already won three VES awards, Zootopia, Moana (which won Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature at the VES Awards), The Red Turtle and My Life as a Zucchini. Last year’s winner was Inside Out

Jimmy Kimmel in Hollywood will host the Oscars on February 26, so make sure you’re watching.

BAFTA Awards

Kubo and the Two Strings

As the British equivalent to The Oscars, the BAFTA Awards celebrate the art of the moving image.

This year’s winner for Best Animated Film went to Kubo and the Two Strings. Nominees were Finding Dory, Moana and Zootropolis.

Also worth noting is the British Short Animation winner - A Love Story. Only seven minutes long, the animation follows two creatures who fall in love but have to fight to stick together when darkness threatens to consume one of them. Other nominees include The Alan Dimension and Tough.

BAFTA Children’s Awards

The Amazing World of Gumball

The British Academy Children’s Awards includes the children’s animation section.

Last year’s winner went to The Amazing World of Gumball by Ben Bocquelet, Mic Graves and Sarah Fell. Nominees for 2017 include Counterfelt Cat, Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas and Stick Man.

Keep an eye out for when the 2017 winners are announced. 

VFX Awards 2017

VES Awards

The Jungle Book

The Visual Effects Society (VES) announced the winners of the 15th annual VES awards last week in Beverly Hills.

Despite Rogue One: A Star Wars Story lined up with the most feature film nominations, it was The Jungle Book and Game of Thrones which came out as sweeping winners with five awards each.

The Jungle Book earned six nominations, and is also Oscar nominated for the best VFX film of 2016 - check out our VFX Oscar nominated films featureKubo and the Two Strings had six nominations under its belt, and it's no surprise Game of Thrones won many awards after its impressive 11 nominations.  

The award-winning VFX teams that worked on The Jungle Book and Game of Thrones include MPC, Weta Digital, IIloura and Rodeo FX. See the VFX breakdown reels for VES award winners and nominees in our feature.

Kubo and the Two Strings took away the animated feature award, and the John Lewis Christmas ad featuring MPC’s Buster the Boxer earned three awards. 

The awards choose nominees in 24 categories, recognising visual effects in film, animation, television, commercial and video games and the people who bring these to life.  

The Oscars

VFX Oscar nominee Arrival. See how Rodeo FX turned gravity upside down in their VFX breakdown

Yep, The Oscars deserve to pop up twice in this list. 

So far a list of 10 of the best VFX film nominees has been released. It includes Arrival, The BFG, Captain America: Civil War, Deepwater Horizon, Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Jungle Book, Kubo and the Two Strings, Passengers and Rogue One; A Star Wars Story.

Jimmy Kimmel in Hollywood will host the Oscars on February 26, so make sure you’re watching.

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