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Cost of a Design Awards Program

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This page provides an overall understanding of costs that relate to award organization.

An estimate of the cost of conducting a design awards program may be calculated by assigning costs to the following essential items that are required during award organization: Overheads, Content, Consultancy, Jury, Publicity, Awards.

General Overhead Costs: These are time and resources required for in-house organizational personnel involved with managing the award. For a small award, you will need at least three personnel; to deal with jurors and press members, to promote competition, and to follow issues of entrants. The overhead costs also include costs for the award office, running errands, communication, energy and travel costs.

Content Creation: You will need a writer to prepare call for submissions, the award text, and all communications furthermore you will need a good web developer who can help you set-up a platform to collect entries or to present the competition. Before the web-developer is found you must already have jurors, advisory board and you should set-up the estimated budged. You could potentially have sponsors, but for this you will need to assign a staff as well. Legal fees: You will need someone to write the terms and agreements, and a lawyer that could help you in case of intellectual property issues.

Advisory Board or Consultancy: A good design award should hire at least one professional advisor to lead the award organization. This person will result in 3 different costs: Direct fees paid to her (Fees: Time Rate, Contract Fee), Her expenses related to organization such as for travel, communications and accommodations, as well as clerical assistance needed; i.e. you must assign a secretary for this person to follow her requests. A good design competition will have at least several advisors or consultants to ensure the event is organized professional and ethically. Jury members could be helpful, but they shall be paid for this added involvement.  

Publicity and Publications: Publicity is the most important element for a good design award, if you organize a bad design award, you will spend all your publicity budget for call for entries, however a good design award should deliver results to winners, therefore you must split your budget in accordance for both pre-competition and post-competition publicity. These costs can include direct publicity costs paid to advertising platforms, costs for publications and printing, costs for sending e-mails or snail mails, as well as a concierge to manage all these for you. Your press concierge should also prepare press-kits, press releases and press-contacts. In some cases, you will want to organize a press conference, for this you would need venue, a speaker, and several people to coordinate invited press members. You will also need significant time to figure out where to advertise so that the advertising budget is well spent, add this to your costs. You will need a person or additional time to set-up press partners. If you print a yearbook, there will be costs of pagination, printing, proofreading and shipping.

Award Jury: A good jury is essential for the prestige of any design award, therefore you must arrange at least five (5) jury members who would need an incentive, the incentives for jury members could be fees, honoraria (certificates for jury, trophy for jury) as well as travel and accommodations. In addition you might need to pay allowance for any costs to be incurred. You will also need a meeting venue or platform for jury members to vote entries. You will need a personal that will contact jury members and follow-up their communications. For each member, it is important to provide a certificate and trophy, you should add this to costs.

Award Exhibition: You will have to incur costs while receiving designs, handling and storing them. You might need to rent a warehouse or small depot which is suitable for collecting entries, but most importantly you will need a good exhibition space to showcase entries. Exhibition space could be expensive if daily rented daily. For the exhibition you also need a curator who could manage the organization of the exhibition, positioning of works, lighting etc. For exhibition you could also need an exhibition catalog, and a poster. Furthermore you will want to have personal during the exhibition to guard the entries from harm or to answer questions of visitors. For the exhibition, you should also count costs of poster-presentation, decoration of exhibition hall as well as required furniture or display solutions. In the end of the exhibition you should consider costs of returning entries or further space requirements for warehousing designs that were not collected by the entrants.

Award Prizes: Depending on what you promise, you might need to incur costs for preparation of simple deliverables such as trophies, plaques, yearbooks, certificates or any other services. Customized trophies and certificates will require additional personal to ensure they are done correctly. The most cost will relate to award ceremony, you will need to rent ceremonial space which could be significantly expensive, furthermore you will need to have a speaker, and in some cases translators present. During award ceremony, you will also need photographers, video crew as well as photography spots where winners could take images with award logo. If you organize awards ceremony, also add the host fee, security, music as well as catering costs. If you include dinner or if you wish to hold a luncheon as a part of the awards ceremony, these items could be added as additional costs. If you want to provide an original award trophy, count also design of bespoke trophy; could be done by a sculptor (casting) or designer (industrial production methods). You will also need to spend for the set-design, stage and décor of gala-night.  

Table 1. Indicative Professional Design Award Organization Costs
  Micro
Small Medium Regional National International
  0-100
Entrants
€ 100-250
Entrants
250-500
Entrants
€ 500-1000
Entrants
€ 1000-5000
Entrants
€ 5000 +
Entrants
General Overhead € 1.000 + € 2.500 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 + € 50.000 + € 100.000 +
Content Creation € 5.000 + € 5.000 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 + € 50.000 + € 100.000 +
Advisory Board € 2.500 + € 5.000 + € 5.000 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 + € 25.000 +
Publicity and Publications € 1.000 + € 2.500 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 + € 50.000 + € 100.000 +
Award Jury € 5.000 + € 5.000 + € 5.000 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 + € 50.000 +
Award Exhibition € 1.000 + € 2.500 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 + € 50.000 + € 100.000 +
Award Prizes € 1.000 + € 2.500 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 + € 50.000 + € 100.000 +
  € 16.500 + € 25.000 + € 35.000 + € 60.000 + € 320.000 + € 575.000 +

Professional Award Organization is usually done by governments, design event or award organization companies, as well as design associations. Their purpose is to promote designers. They attract established designers as participants.

Table 2. Indicative Amateur Design Award Organization Costs
  Micro
Small Medium Regional National International
  0-100
Entrants
€ 100-250
Entrants
250-500
Entrants
€ 500-1000
Entrants
€ 1000-5000
Entrants
€ 5000 +
Entrants
General Overhead € 0 + € 500 + € 1.000 + € 2.500 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 +
Content Creation € 0 + € 500 + € 1.000 + € 2.500 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 +
Advisory Consultancy € 0 + € 0 + € 0 + € 500 + € 1.000 + € 2.500 +
Publicity and Publications € 0 + € 500 + € 1.000 + € 2.500 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 +
Award Jury € 0 + € 500 + € 1.000 + € 2.500 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 +
Award Exhibition € 0 + € 0 + € 0 + € 2.500 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 +
Award Prizes € 500 + € 500 + € 500 + € 2.500 + € 5.000 + € 10.000 +
  € 500 + € 2.500 + € 4.500 + € 15.500 + € 31.000 + € 62.500 +

The Amateur Design Award organization is usually undertaken by companies to promote their brands in the shade of a design competition or contest. They should be avoided when necessary, and they attract amateur and young designers as participants who are inexperienced about competitions.

Also See
Benefits of Award Sponsorship for sponsoring A' Design Award
Cost of Award Organization as offered by A' Design Award
Cost per Award Participant case study for A' Design Award

 

 

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