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Raphael Grignani
Sep 13, 2012
Just Do It! Tips on How to Create an Award-Winning Submission from 2012 Winner, Huge

Guest Post By Michal Pasternak, partner and head of user experience at Huge

Here at Huge, a global digital agency based in Brooklyn, we were honored to be selected as a winner for two client projects at the inaugural IxDA Interaction Awards this year. We worked on both the Pepsi Refresh Project, which was named “Best of Category” for Connecting, and HBO GO, which was chosen as a winner in the Engaging category.

For those of you thinking about submitting for an award, I’ve put together some tips to get you started.

Tip #1: Think about your audience.
Remember: before any entries go to the jury, they are reviewed by your peers. As a peer reviewer for the awards last year (I didn’t review any Huge work, of course), I looked at a bunch of submissions and the entries that really stood out to me weren’t necessarily the highest video production value or the snazziest interface. The strongest entries solved a design challenge in a new and interesting way but they also told a clear story of what they set out to do, how they achieved it (or didn’t!) and what the impact was.

When we developed our entries last year, we made sure to focus on communicating each project’s most impressive results. We asked ourselves questions like:

• What design problems did the team successfully solve?
• What made this project different from others that have come before?
• What impact did the project have on its target audience?
• What specific business goals did the project achieve for the client?
• How did this project make users’ lives better?

We made sure to communicate these points clearly in both the written entry and the video. Great design work does speak for itself, but remember the judges are evaluating you on context, impact, and craft –it’s important to give the judges a behind-the-scenes look at what went into creating the project in order to provide context on how problems were solved.

Tip #2: Pick the right category.
The work you submit is compared to other submissions in the same category so picking the right category is pretty important and can determine if you win or lose. The categories are broad: Empowering, Engaging, Optimizing, Expressing, Connecting or Disrupting. In an ideal world, a project would achieve all of those things so you should pick the category that fits with the biggest impact your project made.

We ended up submitting the Pepsi Refresh Project under Connecting, because it’s biggest impact was facilitating communication between people and communities. We submitted HBO GO to the Engaging category, but we could have also gone with Empowering, Optimizing or Disrupting. We decided that at its core, the HBO GO product is a way for viewers to engage with HBO’s quality content, whenever and wherever they’d like.

Tip #3: Just do it.
It can seem daunting to summarize a project you’ve poured so much time into a short video with some descriptive paragraphs but it’s a very rewarding experience whether you win or lose. It’s a good chance to reflect on your proudest work and what made it so great. And, the video can come in very handy in the future if you’re giving a talk or posting it in your portfolio.

We’re excited to see the best work in the industry on display when next year’s winners are announced. Good luck to the entrants of 2013!


Interaction Awards is an initiative of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), a global community of over 100,000 individuals worldwide dedicated to the professional practice of Interaction Design. Find out how to join your local group and get involved at

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