Each year, hundreds of newspapers and magazines from around the world submit their best work of the year to be judged by the Society for News Design in the annual Best of Design competition. This year, over 9,500 entries were received, and 27 judges have the task of evaluating that work this coming weekend.
The 27 judges are broken into five groups — news, features, long form, visuals, and World’s Best — along with two conflict judges. These five teams will spend three days poring over the entries, voting on each one until the tables are empty and the best work of 2014 has been determined.
The process itself is simple — entries are placed on long rows of tables, and judges put a chip in a “yes” cup or a “no” cup. After each entry has been judged by all five team members, the votes are revealed.
Award of Excellence: This should be granted for work that is truly excellent. This award goes beyond mere technical or aesthetic competency. It is appropriate to honor entries for such things as being daring and innovative if the entry is outstanding but less than 100 percent in every respect.
Silver Medal: This award should be granted for work that rises above excellence. The Silver Medal can be given for work that represents an elevated level of execution, originality of concept, or high end work done with a high degree of difficulty. Even among Award of Excellence winners, these entries should shine.
Gold Medal: This award should be granted for work that clearly stands out even among Silver Medal winners. It should be nearly impossible to find anything deficient in a gold-winning entry. These entries will define the state of the art.
Judges’ Special Recognition: This honor can be awarded by a team of Judges or by all Judges for work that is outstanding in a particular respect not necessarily singled out by the Award of Excellence, Silver or Gold award structure. This recognition has been granted for such things as use of photography, use of informational graphics and the use of typography throughout a body of work. This body of work may be a particular publication, section or sections by an individual or staff. The special recognition does not supplant any Award of Excellence, Silver or Gold and should be seen as an adjunct honor.