Enter the Cincinnati Design Awards and showcase your best design work! Projects completed within the past five years in the disciplines of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, urban planning and experiential graphic design are all eligible for consideration.

The Cincinnati Design Awards (CDA) promote the best in environmental design by Cincinnati-area creative firms, and new to 2022, local University design students! It is the goal of this program to recognize local and regional designers and design firms for their outstanding work in the community and also to educate the general public to the benefits of supporting quality design. All entries will be judged by a common jury of distinguished guests connected to all facets of the design profession. The awards are announced at the annual CDA banquet with a panel of guest jurors.

Professional projects completed within the past five years in the disciplines of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, urban planning and experiential graphic design are all eligible for consideration.

Please see the ‘Sample Entry Form’ below, which outlines the required information, and other important information (such as the 2MB image size limit for photos).

Sample Entry Form

Login to Submit an Entry

After you have read all the information below, please use the button above to login/register, manage your entries or purchase new ones (buttons will only be available during the submission timeline).

If you have questions regarding the program itself or your entry (requirements, categories, etc.), please contact Michelle VonderBrink ( by email.

Good Luck to all CDA entrants!


2023 Important Dates

This year we will be celebrating again together in person! The Award night is scheduled for November 3rd, 2023 – to be held at Memorial Hall, from 6:00-9:00.


  • The online awards submission system opens for professionals on August 30th, 2023.
  • This year’s entry deadline will be September 29th, 2023 October 6th at 5:00 pm EST.


  • Submissions:  The web portal will be open to accept student submissions starting May 1st, 2023. The portal will close August 31st at 5:00 pm.
  • Judging of the projects and notifications of the winners will occur prior to the event.

2023 Categories

Building Architecture: projects submitted in this category may include New Construction, Adaptive Reuse, Preservation, Additions, Urban Design and are evaluated against peer projects of a similar scale

  • Large Scale = >10,000 sf
  • Small Scale = <10,000 sf

Interior Architecture: projects submitted in this category may include New Construction and Renovation of Interior Projects

  • Large Scale = >5,000 sf
  • Small Scale = <5,000 sf

Landscape Architecture & Community Planning: projects submitted in this category may include Residential, Parks, Urban Design, Campuses, Streetscape, Hospitality, Landscape Art, Interior Landscapes, Gardens, Green/Blue Infrastructure, Green Roofs, Trails & Recreation, Community and Comprehensive Plans, Open Space Networks, Neighborhood Improvement/Revitalization Plans.

  • Planning & Analysis Projects = evaluating the rigor and soundness of analysis and planning projects that contribute to a unique sense of place.
  • Implementation = results of a plan or a built project of unusually high merit contributing to an improved quality of life.

Experiential Graphics: projects submitted in this category may include Wayfinding, Branded Environments, Placemaking, Interactive Experiences, Exhibition Design, Individual Signs

  • Large scale = environments or systems
  • Small Scale = features or elements

In addition to awards for the categories above, at their discretion, the jury may award any number of projects for additional honors for the following:

  • Community impact: More than ever, we hope that our roles as project designers impact our communities beyond simply fulfilling immediate programmatic needs. If you think that your project has far-reaching impacts into the community above and beyond the norm, it may be eligible for this award.
  • Historic Preservation: Preservation of our places, spaces, and communities is paramount, both to preserve and celebrate our collective identities, and as a bedrock of sustainability. You may be eligible for this award if your project team went above and beyond to preserve elements of cultural or historic significance.
  • Interdisciplinary: While most projects are interdisciplinary in nature, this award honors projects that illustrate an exemplary amount of detail and seamless coordination between different design disciplines. For this award, the project should show that the work of individual design disciplines not only fit into the parti of the entire project, but each discipline enhanced and elevated the other’s work, so that the project on the whole became more successful.
  • Innovation in design: Every project is an innovative solution to a project prompt. However, some projects provide opportunities to dig deeper and come up with never before seen solutions, products, and materials. If your project represents such an opportunity for cutting-edge research, methods, or performance, whether built or just conceptual, it may be eligible for this honor.

Note: The number of awards in any category is subject to the discretion of the jury. The jury also has the right not to award any projects in any given category in any given year if the work is not deemed of sufficient quality.



  • The submitting firm must be the Design Firm.
  • The Design Firm must have an operating office within the service boundaries of the participating professional organization’s local chapter.
  • Submitted project must have been substantially produced in the above location.
  • Projects must have been completed within five calendar years of the CDA submission deadline each year.
  • The submitting firm must be the Design of Record, responsible for the overall design of the project concept.
  • Submissions by design teams and joint ventures shall be eligible for the member fee only when the Designer of Record is a local member.
  • Non-members may submit at a non-member rate.
  • The Committee has the discretion to eliminate submissions that do not abide by these requirements prior to judging.


  • Submitting students must be either currently enrolled or this year’s graduates majoring in Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Landscape Architecture or Planning at accredited universities within the Cincinnati area.
  • Any student design work third year and above. Group projects are also eligible, please include all participants.
  • Student submissions are limited to two projects per student
  • Group or team projects are permitted, please identify each team member


2023 Entry Fees


Member entries: $150
Non-member entries: $300


There is no fee to enter student work.