Best in Design

Sean Morris Updated by Sean Morris

What is Kavyar’s Best in Design?

Best in Design is a category dedicated to publishers who exhibit both excellent and unique design that distinguishes themselves from other publishers.

How is this created?

This is a human-curated category judged by a standardized set of criteria. Publishers can apply for consideration via an online form.

Are there any other factors besides design that might help my application?

Design is the only factor considered. The following have no impact on your consideration:

  • Social following
  • Years in business
  • Years on Kavyar
  • Personal connections with account representatives
  • Account-level or any other financial considerations

It’s important to keep in mind:

  • Good design is not enough: There are a number of well-designed publications on Kavyar’s platform that any contributor would be happy to have their work in. However, this particular category is for more than a well-designed publication. It's for publications with an exceptionally great design that have something that differentiates them from others.
  • You may disagree with our selection: Art and design are somewhat subjective. Disagreements will be common. We all have different perspectives. Kavyar is leveraging years of experience reviewing thousands of publishers along with our team's extensive design expertise.
  • You can re-apply in 90 days if not accepted: Kavyar hopes that this is a constructive exercise for those who desire selection. If you’re not accepted, please consider making adjustments and re-applying. It is only going to make your publication better which is the most important thing.

Review Criteria

Our review team looks at the following criteria when considering a publisher for Best in Design. A publisher does not need to meet every criterion but should understand these are the main factors we consider.

Creativity, Originality, and Innovation

This criteria is about the quality and quantity of positive unique aspects of the design that makes it different from other designs in the same category. 


  • Does it remind the reviewer of other designs?
  • Does it incorporate a unique approach? 
  • Does it use a new medium or material? 
  • Is it technologically innovative, and forward-looking? 
  • Is this design original? 


The issue (publication) will be reviewed for structure, flow, and pacing. The creation of an issue is an art form in itself and separates magazines that are well-thought-out from magazines that are loosely slapped together without much thought. 


  • How do the issues flow?
  • Is it just a basic photobook without style or composition?


The curation as a whole will be reviewed to judge the editor's viewpoint. Curation is at the core of an editor's role. Without proper and coherent curation it’s incredibly difficult to have a beautifully designed publication. Poor curation will be in conflict with the design and overall brand.


  • How consistent is the curation?
  • What’s the curatorial aesthetic? 
  • How does the curation complement the design and brand?


Having a focused point of view and market niche helps produce a coherent aesthetic, brand, and ultimately exceptional design. Having a focused niche rather than a more generalized one helps distinguish your publication from others. 


  • What's the niche?
  • Do we feel comfortable promoting this niche to our community?
  • Is the publisher maintain a consistent focus on the niche or are we confused? Example: Is this niche overly explicit? 

Exclusivity (# of monthly volumes)

In most cases, publishers who produce a number of monthly volumes may struggle to maintain quality design. While this doesn’t disqualify a publisher, it is considered during the review and may require additional time to review multiple issues. This selection is about the magazine as a whole and not on any single issue. 


  • How many volumes are released each month? How exclusive is it?
  • Can we confident be confident that the publisher maintains design integrity through each issue?

Inclusivity, Diversity, and Cultural Sensitivities

Kavyar is committed to building a platform where people from all backgrounds, cultures, body types, and identities feel protected, respected, and safe as well as fairly represented in the industry. We don’t promote publishers who engage in insensitive practices such as cultural appropriation or grossly and purposely underrepresenting groups due to culture, skin color, body type, or similar reasons.

How to apply

  1. Read the full set of criteria (above) 
  2. If you have digital issues to share, please add links to your application form and/or email them to with the subject “Best in Design”.
  3. If you have print issues for us to review you can mail them to the address below:

Mail issue(s) to: 

Kavyar (attn: Best in Design)

260 E. Main Street, Suite 6402

Rochester, NY 14604

Additional FAQ's

How do I know if my application was accepted or not accepted?

You will receive an email notifying you of our decision within 30 days of the application date. It will be sent to the email address you provided in your application. 

If my application was NOT accepted, can I re-apply?

You can re-apply again 90 days after the original application date and after you have made changes.

How often are publisher applications rejected? 

98% of publisher applications for Best in Design are rejected. The standards are incredibly high.

If my application is not accepted, am I able to get constructive feedback from the review team?

Unfortunately, we are unable to give detailed feedback at this time. 

Our most common rejection reasons are:

  • Design quality does not meet our standards
  • Design quality is good but is similar to many other publishers. 
Is getting into the category worth rebranding or hiring a new design team?

While this is currently a prominent section that has a great deal of exposure, it may not be worth an obsessive amount of time to get into. 

It’s also a new section and data is limited to how effective it is. It’s very important to remember that the best design doesn’t mean the most successful publisher. Making your business successful overall is more important than focusing on a single factor.

It can be very difficult to improve your design. Most often it would involve making new expensive hires and critical time that can be spent in other areas.

How did we do?

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