Innovation by Design is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Enter today!

Enter today for an early-bird discount.

Innovation by Design is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Enter today!

We’re delighted to announce that we are now accepting entries for the 2021 Innovation by Design Awards.


We started Innovation by Design in 2012 to honor design solutions that don’t just win beauty contests; they transform businesses, organizations, and society. As then-Co.Design editor Cliff Kuang wrote at the time:

Design isn’t the gloss applied at the end of the innovation process. Design is the innovation process itself. It begins with a keen insight into how people live and what they need; ideally, it ends with a product or service that’s so intuitive that it seems inevitable.

And though the world has changed dramatically since then, our commitment to elevating design is as steadfast as ever. This year’s competition has 37 categories that reflect the vast array of challenges facing designers today, including several new categories:

  • Pandemic Response recognizes designs that mitigate either the health effects of COVID-19 or the economic effects of lockdowns.
  • Advertising honors the most creative ads in print, digital, and other media.
  • Branding honors innovative approaches to creating or growing a brand.
  • Materials highlights material innovations that lead to better, more sustainable products.
  • Impact recognizes any design move, no matter how big or small, that has a major impact on a business, an industry, or an aspect of society.
  • Real Estate honors creative approaches to real estate design and development.
  • Years in Business honors design work undertaken by companies of similar ages: On the Rise (0-4 years), Established Excellence (5-19 years), and Enduring Impact (20 or more years).

Every entry will be vetted by Fast Company editors. Winners will be featured online and in the October issue of Fast Company magazine. They’ll also be celebrated at the Fast Company Innovation Festival in the fall. (See last year’s honorees here.)

We have more exciting things in store to celebrate Innovation by Design’s 10th anniversary, so stay tuned. Thank you for your support of the only competition to honor creativity at the intersection of design and business. We can’t wait to see your entries!

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D