Award Descriptions

All artist or company based awards require that the individual or brand was active within the eligibility period (January 1st to December 31st of last year). Unless specified otherwise, all specific release based awards require that — within the same eligibility period — the platform in question was either initially released, had a significantly modified version released (such as with a new head), or had new paint scheme applied to it (such as a Dunny or Android).

Unless specified otherwise, the term designer toy indicates a release that credit the artist and actively marketed the piece as the artist's creation.

Artist of the Year & Artist of the Year: Fan Choice

Recognizing a single artist, artistic duo, or collective who designed and/or produced a variety of outstanding new releases last year as well as garnering a strong base of followers and a steady demand for new material.
Requirements
• Active and productive since the beginning of last year by creating original works and/or designing pieces for production.
• Must have designed and/or created at least two (2) designer toys, including customs, last year.
• Must have designed and/or created at least one (1) designer toy, including customs, last year that was issued in an edition of 10 or greater.
• In addition to sole artists, those working under an established duo or collective name during last year are eligible as well.

Brand of the Year

Celebrating a designer toy company whose product releases last year have been consistently outstanding, of high quality, and had a breadth of diversity. While their toy releases are the most important other aspects will be considered, including events, sponsored promotions, and other supportive contributions to the Designer Toy community.
Requirements
• Active and productive since at least April of last year by releasing Designer Toys pieces.
• Must have released works by at least two (2) different artists during last year.
• At least half of the brands output must have been designer toys.
• Brand can not be a vanity business, meaning that it cannot by owned & operated by the sole artist (or artist duo/collective) that releases through it.

Custom of the Year & Custom of the Year: Fan Choice

Recognizing a single artist, artistic duo, or collective who transformed an existing Designer Toy into an individually expressive art object. Consideration will be based on the custom's merits of concept, paint execution, additional sculpting (if applicable), and overall attention to detail.
Requirements
• Custom must have been completed and debuted last year.
• The custom must have a production toy base, regardless of whether vinyl, resin, or any other primary material.

Toy of the Year & Toy of the Year: Fan Choice

The Toy of the Year recognizes a singularly outstanding platform, whose design and manufacture was of the highest quality and execution. This award celebrates a Designer Toy that captured the imagination of the fans and became a popularly demanded item.
There are no nominations for consideration directly in this category. Finalists will be selected by the Nomination Committee from the following categories: Best Media Tie-in, Best Mini-Series, Best Plush & Other Non-Plastic, Best Resin, Best Sofubi, and Best Vinyl.

Break-through Artist

Presented in recognition of an artist who gained significant field-wide notice last year. While they could be relatively new to the scene or a professional who struggled for years, their dedication to Designer Toys and making a place for themselves within the community is honored with this award. Not only should they have had a variety of outstanding releases last year, but also an increased fan base and overall visibility.
Requirements
• Active and productive last year by creating original designer toy works and/or designing pieces for production.
• To be considered for Breakthrough Artist, the artist can not have had a designer toy release prior to last year with an edition size greater than 50 pieces.

Best Blog

This award recognizes outstanding work by any news outlet with a main focus on Designer Toys. The category is not only open to traditional blogs but also podcasts, video blogs, or any other online resource for news regarding the art field. Nominated websites should have brought intelligent, informed, and diverse reporting to the Designer Toy niche.
As organizer of these Designer Toy Awards, Clutter has recused themselves from being nominated in this category.
Requirements
• Active and productive since at least April of last year.
• Must have been consistently active throughout last year, with no hiatuses longer than one month.
• At least half of the blog's content last year must have been regarding designer toys.
• While the name implies only blogs are applicable, this category is open to any online resource specializing in the designer toy industry.

Best DIY Platform

DIY Platform toys are one of the art field's greatest additions, allowing artists from every walk of life to use the form as a canvas. This category recognizes the best platform toy that is sold as a blank toy, without any paint applications or graphic designs. The DIY platform toy must have been actively sold last year and it must have become (or remained) an important part of the customizing community.
Requirements
• This category is open to any blank designer toy release, those without any paint application or graphic designs, that was actively available during last year; it need not have been initially made available during last year to qualify.
• The company that released the piece must be an indie toy company (one that is not publicly traded).
• Release must have been intended for Do-It-Yourself customization and not merely be an unpainted edition of a figure.

Best Licensed

Presented to an outstanding Designer Toy release with a design derived from an officially licensed (or creator approved) entertainment property: film, television, video game, or anything else. Nominees in this category will be judged not only on their quality as a toy but also their representation of the original property.
Requirements
• Release must be a brand new designer toy, or a significantly modified version of a previous release, that debuted last year and the design must have been derived from an officially licensed (or creator approved) entertainment property.
• This category forgoes the requirement that the release actively uses the designer or artist's name in marketing of the piece.
• The release must've been produced by an indie toy company (one that is not publicly traded).

Best Non-Licensed

Presented to an outstanding Designer Toy release with a design derived from an unofficially licensed or bootlegged entertainment property: film, television, video game, or anything else. Nominees in this category will be judged not only on their quality as a toy but also their representation of the original property.
Requirements
• Release must be a brand new designer toy, or a significantly modified version of a previous release, that debuted last year and the design must have been derived from a non-licensed entertainment property.
• The release must've been produced by an indie toy company, or artist. (one that is not publicly traded).

Best Mini Series

Whether a production platform or customized toy series, this category acknowledges excellence in conceptually linked figures that have been produced in multiple quantities. Aspects considered in judging include quality of manufacturing, design, packaging, and even innovative use of thematic series elements.
Requirements
• Released series must be a brand new Designer Toy(s), or a significantly modified version of a previous release(s), debuted last year; significant modification includes differing paint schemes, such as a Dunny series would have.
• Released series must have been branded as a series, even if each piece was available individually.
• All figures in the series must have been released simultaneously.
• The series must consist of at least three (3) figures, whether uniquely designed or variations of one another.
• Custom series are acceptable, as long as the majority of designs in the series were available in quantities greater than one.

Best Non-Plastic

Celebrating the most innovative designer toys made mainly out of non-plastic materials to be released during the eligibility period. These are judged on design, construction, material usage, and overall execution.
Requirements
• Release must be a brand new designer toy, or a significantly modified version of a previous one, that was debuted last year.
• Release must be at least half non-plastic materials, such as plush, wood, or metal. Please note resin pieces would fall under "Best Resin" category.
* Must be a stand-alone release and not part of a series (see Best Mini-Series).

Best Resin

Presented to the best Designer Toy platform cast in resin, this category considers the quality of the finished piece, the sculpted design, and innovative use of color dyes and paints.
Requirements
• Release must be a brand new designer toy, or a significantly modified version of a previous release, that was debuted last year.
• The majority of the release must be made out of resin, rubber, or similar materials.
* Must be a stand-alone release and not part of a series (see Best Mini-Series).

Best Sofubi

Presented to the best Designer Toy manufactured platform using a sofubi (Japanese soft vinyl) style of production. This category celebrates the manner in which Japanese production techniques, factories, and design styles have become a mainstay for the Designer Toy market. The manufacturing quality, sculpting, and innovative color variations will all be considered for this award.
Please note: This category is only open to platforms cast in sofubi. Pieces made out of "Western vinyl" (usually from China) should be entered in the Best Vinyl category.
Requirements
• Release must be a brand new designer toy, or a significantly modified version of a previous release, that was debuted last year.
• The majority of the release must be made out of soft Japanese vinyl.
* Must be a stand-alone release and not part of a series (see Best Mini-Series).

Best Toy Store

This category honors a brick-and-mortar (physical store) retailer that specializes in Designer Toys and has distinguished itself with outstanding activity last year. Nominees will be judged on knowledgeability, the range and selection of products offered, the overall store appearance and presentation, and any special events and/or shows the location hosted.
Requirements
• Active since at least April of last year, and have offered new stock during last year.
• Stores must have a selection of products from various brands and artists.
• The store must dedicate at least half of its inventory to designer toys.
• This category is only available to those stores with a physical, brick-and-mortar location; those without one can only be considered for Best Online Toy Store (assuming they meet the requirements of that category).

Best Online Toy Store

Celebrating the outstanding achievement by an online retailer that specializes in Designer Toys and has been active last year. Criteria for consideration include range and selection of products, overall website presentation, ease of use, and customer service.
Requirements
• Active since at least April of last year, and have offered new stock during last year.
• Stores must have a selection of products from various brands and artists.
• The store must dedicate at least half of its inventory to designer toys.

Best Vinyl & Plastic

Presented to the best Designer Toy platform manufactured using "Western vinyl," which typically means manufactured in China. The manufacturing quality, sculpting, and innovative color variations will all be considered for this award.
Please note: This category is only open to platforms cast mainly in "Western vinyl" (usually from China), but includes other types of wester plastic such as ABS, PVC, etc. Pieces made out of sofubi (Japanese vinyl) should be entered in the Best Sofubi category.
Requirements
• Release must be a brand new designer toy, or a significantly modified version of a previous release, that was debuted last year.
• The majority of the release must be made out of vinyl, not including soft Japanese vinyl (sofubi) which has its own category.
* Must be a stand-alone release and not part of a series (see Best Mini-Series).

Lifetime achievement

Awarded to the individual who's shown long-term dedication, creativity, inspiration, and effort within the community. With a large number of 'unsung heroes' out there, it is our hope that this award will — in some manner — ensure that these tireless artists receive the recognition they deserve.

Hall of Fame Inductees

Some Designer Toys are iconic in the community but were released well before the beginnings of the DTAs. The Hall of Fame will induct at least one toy every year that was released at least 12 years previous and was pivotal in helping form the industry into what it is today.