Deep down, designers know that design awards are nothing special, and they don’t validate you as a designer with real talent (unless you win one!).
One exception, IMHO, is the Pixel Award. It’s a new design award (started by an actual designer) that showcases some great talent, and they give trophies that are works of art (literally—works of art).
MailChimp was a sponsor last year, so we got one of their cool robot/space invader plaques to hang on our wall. When people visit, they pass by all our other trophies (and our animatronic monkey head) and go straight for the Pixel Award. It’s just too cool.
This year, they’ve got an artist (Tsega Dinka) making individual awards for each category. Very nice. Check out the different 10" x 10" paintings over at the Pixel Awards website:
If you’re one of those creative agencies that already has countless plexiglass trophies and golden pencils out in your lobby, you should try to win a Pixel Award this year. There are 20 categories, like "Fashion" and "Animation" and "Non-profit" and "Vegetarian" and "Weird."
We’re a sponsor this year, too. Besides their nifty works of art, you’ll also win 500 MailChimp email credits. If you win, you could use MailChimp to take a picture of yourself holding your prize, and email it in a newsletter to 500 friends, family members, and clients. Not to gloat or anything. Just because they’d probably be happy for you. :-)