Innovation By Design Awards Official Rules

Last updated January 2019.

Innovation By Design Awards Official Rules
[Photos: Celine Grouard for Fast Company]

ELIGIBILITY: The Fast Company 2021 Innovation by Design Awards Competition (the “Competition”) is open to all organizations and individuals involved in designing a product or service that was made public or came to market between April 30, 2020, and April 30, 2021. Entries do not, however, need to have been designed during that time period, and some exceptions can be made. (Email us if you’re unsure:


An Entry is made in 1 of the 37 categories listed here.

There is no limit to the number of entries that may be submitted by any entrant, nor is there a limit to the number of categories you may enter. A completed online application and fee must accompany each entry.

Employees or agents of Mansueto Ventures, LLC (“MV”) (the “Sponsor”) and of the Sponsor’s parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising/promotional agencies, and the members of their immediate families and households are not eligible. Entrant must have a valid email address to enter. Void where prohibited by law.

Unacceptable Material

Entries that contain pornographic material, propagate “hate” messages, make defamatory statements, or which are otherwise extraordinarily offensive are not eligible.


Ineligible entries may be disqualified at any phase of the Competition without notification.


Acknowledgment of Entries

Entrants will receive an email acknowledgment when an Entry has been received.

Terms and Conditions of Entry/Usage

The Competition assumes all entries are original and the Entrant either owns the work or has permission from a client or other appropriate party to enter the work, with all rights granted therein. In the event that an Entrant without such rights submits an entry, the entrant will not be eligible for the Competition. The Competition is not liable for any copyright infringement on the part of any Entrant.

Submission of any Entry acknowledges the right of Fast Company to use it for exhibition, promotion, and publication purposes in any medium.

Timely submission of an Entry meeting the eligibility requirements and payment of the Entry Fee as stated herein ensures that an Entrant’s work will be reviewed and considered for recognition. No other representation or warranty is made by the Competition concerning Entries and all implied warranties are hereby expressly disclaimed.

If an Entry receives an award, the manner and details of announcing such nomination and award is strictly within the discretion of the Competition. Entrant understands that all awards may not be given or publicized in the same manner and some might be presented in a ceremony and others might not.


Entry Fees

Early Rate Deadline: March 12, 2021 ($295)
Regular Rate Deadline: April 30, 2021 ($395)

With the exception of the student category which is $40 before March 12, 2020, and $50 after.

Detailed Entry Instructions

Entrants must complete and submit the Official Entry Form on this page between 12:00:01 AM (EST) on January 22, 2021, and 11:59:59 PM (EST) on April 30, 2021 (“Entry Period”). An Entry is considered processed after a completed Entry Form is received by the Competition and payment for the Entry Fee is received. The Competition reserves the right to recategorize Entries and to create new Categories if appropriate.

The Entry Form requires the Entrant to select a Category for the Entry, to provide name, address, email address, phone number, date of birth; up to 7 .JPG images of the product or service; and a written statement not to exceed 500 words describing the product or service and explaining why it deserves the Innovation by Design Award. Entrants in the Student Category must include in the statement the year in which they graduated. A video no longer than 3 minutes that explains or demonstrates the product or service is not required, but recommended.

Entries delivered in person, by mail, by fax, or by any other means will not be accepted. By entering the Competition, Entrants acknowledge that they are aware of and agree with Fast Company’s privacy policy located at



For questions or comments related to the Fast Company Innovation By Design Call for Entries, please contact The Sponsor is not responsible for malfunctions of electronic equipment, computer hardware, software, malfunctions of the Entrant’s email provider, lost, late, incomplete entries, or entries not received in time for the judging. Entries not containing the required information and entries submitted or received after the Entry Period will be disqualified. Any attempted form of entry other than described herein is void. The Sponsor is not responsible for problems downloading or accessing the Entry Form from the website or for any other technical problems related to website entries. The Sponsor reserves the right to modify, suspend, or terminate the Competition in the event that it becomes infected by a computer virus or is otherwise technically impaired and award prizes from among all eligible entries received prior to cancellation or termination. In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of the person submitting an online entry, the entry will be deemed to be submitted by the person in whose name the email account is registered. Normal Internet access and usage charges imposed by your online service will apply.

JUDGING/SELECTION OF WINNER: Finalists in each Category will be selected from all eligible entries by Fast Company editors and up to three individuals active in the corresponding industry. Entries will be judged on their business impact, beauty, originality, functionality, social impact, and depth of user insight.

Design critique, like design development, is not an exact science. Accordingly, the weight given to each criterion will vary with the goal of each product or service. The Honorees will be announced in Fast Company‘s October 2021 issue. The winners will be celebrated at Fast Company‘s Innovation Festival in the fall, and on the web at

GENERAL: Neither the Sponsor nor its parent, subsidiary, or affiliate companies, nor their respective promotional agencies shall have any obligation or responsibility with regard to (i) entries that contain inaccurate information or that do not comply with these instructions; (ii) entries or notifications that are lost, late, incomplete, illegible, unintelligible, damaged, or otherwise not received by the intended recipient, in whole or in part, due to computer or technical error of any kind; (iii) telephone, electronic, hardware, software, network, Internet, or computer malfunctions, failures, or difficulties; or (iv) any damages or losses of any kind caused by any award or resulting from the acceptance of any award. The Sponsor in its sole discretion reserves the right to disqualify any person tampering with the entry process or otherwise disregarding these instructions. Sponsor further reserves the right to cancel, terminate, or modify the Competition if it cannot be completed as planned because of infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, or technical failures of any sort. Entry materials/data that have been tampered with or altered are void.

RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES: This Competition is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations and is not available to those residing in jurisdictions where such competitions are prohibited. Issues concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules shall be governed by the laws of the State of New York. All disputes arising out of or connected with this Competition will be resolved individually, and without resort to class action, exclusively by binding arbitration under the auspices of JAMS (Judicial Arbitration and Medication Service) in New York, New York. These Official Rules will bind all entrants, and their respective heirs, representatives, successors, and permitted assigns. These Official Rules supersede any prior oral or written agreements relating to rules or procedures for the Competition. These Official Rules may be changed at any time, but only by the Sponsor and only by posting new rules at These Official Rules will not be construed to impose upon the Sponsor any obligations for any losses, debts, or other obligations incurred by any entrant.


Please see the awards page and the FAQs for further details.