The 40th Edition Best of Digital Design competition

The Society for News Design’s Best of Digital Design is a juried competition sponsored by the Society of News Design to recognize journalistic excellence in storytelling, graphics, social media and product design. The goal of the contest is to identify the best of journalism that pushes the boundaries of design and technology. By submitting, you help define the state of the art for our industry and all storytellers.

What’s new this year

We expanded the types of work we will judge this year. Some of the categories have been reworked or the descriptions have been rewritten to give you a better idea of what to enter where, while other categories are brand new.

There is also a new entry portal aimed at improving the process. You will receive receipts and better documentation of your entries for your own records, not to mention assurance that the entry has been received.

Anyone may enter the contest but SND members receive a discount. You can join SND here.

It is always FREE to enter the World’s Best Designed News Experience category.

Deadline

Entries must be submitted here by February 1, 2019 at 11:30 p.m. (GMT -5). Judging will begin the following week, therefore there will be NO extension of the deadline.

The 40th Edition SND Digital Design competition is open to all media publications. You do not need to be a member of SND to enter.

All entries must have been published between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2018.

Judging

Judging for all categories will take place in early 2019 and the results will be announced by the SND Workshop on April 6. A team of judges selected by SND will evaluate each entry on how well it accomplishes its editorial and design objectives. The Digital Design Competition Committee selects judges for these awards. Judges for the competition are journalism, new media and design experts from around the world. There are about 12-17 judges. No judges are assigned entries to evaluate if any conflicts of interest are apparent.

Entries

When submitting entries, it’s important to remember that technology continues to evolve with this competition, and submitting a URL does not always give judges a complete impression of how your site/product/story felt to the reader. In other words, we want to experience your entry as a reader would have experienced it. If the site had live aspects, show us a video of it in play. If we are comparing redesigns, before/after images are necessary and if judges need specific hardware to view the story, please say so. The judges understand this tricky dilemma and will look at an assortment of materials before making their decisions. The key is always going to be overall user/reader experience.

For non-English entries, give a thorough summary of the story/project in English. SND will try to have a translator if needed, but the more information you give judges about the story and how to navigate the experience, the better. Some organizations have submitted an English language version of their work alongside the original.

Entrants may enter a single piece of work in as many “single page” categories as make sense and also as part of “line of coverage” submissions. Remember that judges will evaluate portfolios and “line of coverage” submissions on the strength of the entire package. Be selective and enter your strongest pieces.

Single Page
For work in a single news cycle and should be as close to the event as is practical. Work that spans multiple days or cycles should be entered in ‘Line of Coverage’.

Line of Coverage
For an ongoing body of work submit three to seven URLs. The work does not have to be done on consecutive dates and may be planned or unplanned as the category requires.

The competition retains the right to move an entry into another category if they think it would fair better in another category or disqualify an entry if it fails to meet the rules.

Awards

Winning entries will receive bronze, silver or gold medals for outstanding work, pushing the boundaries of design and technology and helping define the state of the art for the industry.

Categories

1. World’s Best Digital News Experience

Each year, the highest goal of this competition is to identify work that has fundamentally shifted or improved how news and information is delivered across digital platforms. This award has been given to websites and apps, but also to overall experiences or organizations.
We encourage individuals, teams, and organizations to nominate themselves or any worthy websites, apps, experiences and organizations. When submitting, make sure to explain how the work has influenced digital design over the last year. The best entries should challenge the industry, stretching the notion of creativity visually and technically. Winners should make a statement to the design community.

To encourage the widest field and most diversity of entries, it is FREE to submit World’s Best entries. Think broadly about what could be included.

2. Story Page Design

A. Breaking News

These entries are produced for a breaking news or special events like natural disasters, accidents, crime, war, terrorism and issues of public order. This category is for work done on daily or same-day basis about a topic that could NOT be planned. Planned coverage around breaking and hard news topics should be submitted in “B. News Features or Planned Coverage.” Planned coverage about the World Cup, elections and the Olympics should be submitted in the Special Events categories.

  • International
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • National
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Local Issues
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Other/Editor’s Choice — Please include a note explaining why the entry does not fit into one of the listed categories.
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage

B. News Features or Planned Coverage

These non-deadline entries ARE planned. That does NOT mean that the topics cannot be serious and include hard news but that could be planned out in advance — such as court decisions, sports and investigative projects.

  • International
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • National
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Local Issues
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Business/Finance, Science, Technology, Transportation, Environment & Health
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Sports
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Arts, Entertainment, Food, Travel & Lifestyle
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Gender/Identity & Society
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Long-form Narrative (Magazine-style)
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Other/Editor’s Choice
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage

C. Format

  • Use of Original/Commissioned Illustration in Digital Storytelling
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Use of Multimedia in Digital Storytelling
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage

3. Information Graphics

A. Breaking News

The focal point of these entries are graphics or the combination of data and graphics produced for a breaking news or special events like natural disasters, accidents, crime, war, terrorism and issues of public order. This category is for work done on daily or same-day basis about a topic that could NOT be planned. Planned coverage around breaking and hard news topics should be submitted in “B. News Features or Planned Coverage.” Planned coverage about the World Cup, elections and the Olympics should be submitted in the Special Events categories.

  • International
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • National
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Local Issues
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Other/Editor’s Choice
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage

B. News Features or Planned Coverage

The focal point of these non-deadline entries are graphics or the combination of data and graphics that ARE planned. That does NOT mean that the topics cannot be serious and include hard news but that could be planned out in advance — such as court decisions, sports and investigative projects.

  • International
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • National
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Local Issues
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Business/Finance, Science, Technology, Transportation, Environment & Health
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Sports
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Arts, Entertainment, Food, Travel & Lifestyle
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Gender/Identity & Society
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Other/Editor’s Choice
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage

C. Format

  • Use of Maps
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Use of Data
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Use of Multimedia (including at least one of the following: video, animation, GIF or audio)
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage

4. Special Events

Submit any combination of story page, information graphics, social media and product design pieces.

A. World Cup

  • Single Page
  • Line of Coverage

B. Elections

  • Single Page
  • Line of Coverage

C. Olympics

  • Single Page
  • Line of Coverage

5. Social Media Design

Submit the URL or file from any social media platform (no more than five examples).

A. Shared Image and Card Design

Single Subject
Line of Coverage

B. Social Media Stories or Thread Design

For stories told on social media. Examples: Twitter thread, Instagram stories, Snapchat.

  • Single Subject
  • Line of Coverage

C. Format

  • Use of Multimedia (including at least one of the following: video, animation, GIF or audio)
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage
  • Use of Information Graphics
    • Single Page
    • Line of Coverage

6. Product design

Submit work that demonstrates the use of thoughtful or innovative design experiences concentrating on user experience or user interface design. This could include such things as newsletters, native apps, special sections, internal tools, design systems or experimental categories. These can be submitted as screenshots, a URL or a URL to a download page. In other words, please supply us with the materials you think are needed to explain this entry in the best way possible.

  • Best home page
  • Best blog, live coverage
  • Website design (New or redesign)
  • Mobile app design (New app or redesign)
  • Newsletter design
  • New product design
  • News tools

7. Experimental design

Submit work that does not fit other categories. Do you have a product that doesn’t necessarily fit with these categories? Did you create something for virtual reality or a wearable product this year? Please submit anything you can to show us your work. This could include a URL to a download page or a video showing it in use. Please include as much pertinent information as possible to give judges the best opportunity to see your work how a reader/viewer would see it.

8. Portfolio

Submit a portfolio of work for three to eight URLs. An ‘Individual’ portfolio should be designed completely or primarily by a single submitter. An ‘Organizational’ portfolio should be designed by different people as a staff efforts. You may enter more than one ‘Organizational’ portfolio. Please do NOT submit a ‘Portfolio’ entry that could be entered in any ‘Line of Coverage’ subcategory — like ‘Story Page Design’ > ‘National’ > ‘Line of Coverage’. An ideal entry would cross topics — like a portfolio containing National, Sports and Entertainment coverage.

  • Story Page Design
    • Individual
    • Organization
  • Information Graphics
    • Individual
    • Organization
  • Social Media
    • Individual
    • Organization
  • Overall (Any combination of work)
    • Individual
    • Organization

FAQ

Do I need to be a member of SND to enter?

No, the competition is open to everyone, but members receive a discounted submission price of $25. Non-member pay $40 per submission. Students pay $5 per entry. World’s Best submission are free for everyone.

What is the Federal tax ID number for SND?

23-2129331

What happens if I want to modify my entry?

After submitting, you will receive an email from Screendoor that allows you to submit modifications for your submission.

What will get my entry disqualified?

Reasons for disqualification include: Duplicate entries, incomplete entry forms, not following directions for subcategories, submitting as a member when you are not.

How to reach us

Email us at [email protected]!

Previous winners

Go to snd.org/bodd for a comprehensive listing of past winners, with active links.