Innovation By Design Awards


The entry period for the 2021 Innovation by Design Awards is now closed. Please click here to sign up for future award notifications.
The 2021 Innovation by Design Awards honor the designers and businesses solving the problems of today and tomorrow. The competition, now in its 10th year, has featured a cross section of blue-chip companies, scruffy startups, and hungry young talents. It is one of the most sought-after design awards in the industry. There are 37 categories, and the judges include renowned designers, business leaders from some of the most innovative companies in the world, and Fast Company’s own writers and editors. Entries are judged on the key ingredients of innovation: functionality, originality, beauty, sustainability, user insight, cultural impact, and business impact. For full competition details, see the rules, FAQs, and last year’s honorees.


Every entry will be seen by Fast Company editors. Winners will appear in the October issue of Fast Company magazine and on our website and all honorees will be featured on And winners will be celebrated at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival this fall, and receive a complimentary pass. We also have some exciting things in store to celebrate Innovation by Design’s 10th anniversary. Stay tuned for details


Advertising (New)The most creative ads in print and digital, and other media.
Apps and GamesInnovative interfaces built for phones, tablets, and touchscreens.
Best Design Asian-Pacific RegionThe most innovative designs overall in the Asia-Pacific region.
Best Design Europe-Middle East-Africa RegionThe most innovative designs overall in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Best Design Latin America RegionThe most innovative designs overall in Latin America.
Best Design North America RegionThe most innovative designs overall in North America.
Branding (New)Innovative approaches to creating or growing a brand.
CitiesBuilt projects that improve cities and neighborhoods, including architecture, landscapes, urban and civic design, apps, and platforms.
Data DesignProjects that harness the power of data to create better experiences for users, whether it’s an algorithm, a visualization, or an interface.
Design Company of the YearThe most innovative design company of the year. Companies will be judged on the quality, breadth, and ambition of their submitted work.
ExperimentalConcepts, prototypes, and pioneering designs intended to push the boundaries of what’s possible in an industry and excite the imagination.
Fashion and BeautyProducts, environments, and services that reflect—and enhance—who we are and what we wear.
FinanceBanking apps, trading tools, and other products and services that use human-centered design to help people manage their money.
General ExcellenceThe most innovative contemporary designs with no category restrictions.
Graphic DesignVisual design, whether static or interactive, that has social, cultural, or business impact.
HomeInnovative products, services, and environments for better living.
HealthProducts, services, and environments designed to improve people’s health and solve problems in the healthcare industry.
LearningProjects that use human-centered design to engage learners and promote excellence in education.
Impact (New)Any design move, no matter how big or small, that has a major impact.
MobilityProjects that dramatically improve how we get around, including apps, vehicles, and transportation networks.
Materials (New)Material innovations that lead to greener, better products.
Pandemic Response (New)Designs meant to mitigate either the health effects of COVID-19 or the economic effects of lockdowns.
PackagingInnovative uses of materials, graphics, and industrial design to solve packaging problems.
Real Estate (New)Creative approaches to real estate design and development.
ProductsHardware and industrial design geared toward mass consumers and niche markets.
Social GoodProducts, services, systems, and platforms that help underserved communities or developing countries.
Retail InnovationsBrand activations, digital platforms, and other retail concepts that bring a company, service, or product to life.
Sports and RecreationProducts, services, and environments designed to elevate the game whether for athletes, amateurs, or fans.
Spaces and PlacesInnovative buildings, structures, and interior designs that solve problems in the built environment.
SustainabilityProjects that use inventive design to meaningfully reduce harm to the environment.
StudentsInnovative design work created while attending either an undergraduate or graduate program, or within a year of graduation.
WellnessConsumer products, services, and environments that use innovative design to promote a healthy lifestyle.
User ExperienceProjects that consider a user’s journey, from beginning to end, whether in an app, a physical product, or a brick-and-mortar experience.
Years in Business (New)Be honored in a special list that recognizes projects by companies of similar ages: On The Rise (0-4 years), Established Excellence (5-19 years), Enduring Impact (20+years)
WorkBuildings, interiors, furniture, desk accessories, and tools built to make workers happier and more productive.


Hartmut Esslinger Founder Frog
Nathalie de Vries Cofounder and Principal Architect MVRDV
Dantley Davis Head of Design and ResearchTwitter
Kelly Wearstler Founder and Principal Kelly Wearstler design studio
Ji Lee Creative Director Facebook Creative Shop
Vanessa Cho Design Partner GV
Giorgia Lupi Partner Pentagram
Elijah Meeks Data Visualization EngineerApple