Gov.uk wins Design of the Year 2013

Screenshot of a page from the gov.uk website , landing on the welcome to gov.uk page
Gov.uk - a website that combines all of the UK government's online domains into a central hub - has won the Design Museum's Design of the Year 2013, as well as scooping the top prize in the 'digital' category of the awards
(Image credit: TBC)

Happy faces might be rare at London's Number Ten these days, but there will be smiles all round at the news that Gov.uk (opens in new tab) has won the Design Museum's (opens in new tab) Designs of the Year Award 2013 (opens in new tab). In fact, no matter what your politics, this groundbreaking website designed by the Government Digital Service (opens in new tab) is truly worth celebrating. Already being held up as a benchmark alongside such other British graphic icons as Margaret Calvert (opens in new tab)’s road signs, and Harry Beck (opens in new tab)’s tube map, the new Gov.uk has achieved the seemingly impossible: making interacting with government straightforward.

An exercise in sophisticated simplification, Gov.uk combines all of the UK government’s websites into a single domain. Where most websites look to keep visitors reading as long as possible, design director Ben Terrett (opens in new tab) explains that here, the opposite is true. 'We want the experience to be fast and easy, so if people are spending ages on one page, it’s not working,' he says.

Among a host of initiatives to make politics more transparent, the website adheres to a strict style guide. Visitors will no longer be baffled by words such as ‘tackling’ (unless the context is about rugby), ‘deliver’ (unless it’s about pizza or post, not policies), and ‘disincentivise’. The winning design was chosen from 98 entries to claim the overall prize, and the award was collected by Terret and Mike Bracken, executive director of Government Digital Service.

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader said: 'For the first time, people can find out what's happening inside government, all in one place, and in a clear and consistent format. It is just another example of Britain's world class design talent standing out on the global stage.'

Six other projects were also awarded as category winners, including the Tour Bois-Le-Prêtre (opens in new tab) in Paris, designed by Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal for the architecture category; and Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s 'Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel (opens in new tab)', for fashion. Konstantin Grcic (opens in new tab) picked up the award in the furniture category for his Medici Chair for Mattiazzi (opens in new tab), the Venice Architecture Biennale (opens in new tab) identity by John Morgan Studio won best graphics, and Kit Yamoyo by ColaLife (opens in new tab) and PI Global (opens in new tab) won best product. Finally in the transport category, Vitamins (opens in new tab) won with the Morph Folding Wheel. They have reinvented the wheel, and in doing so – like the Government Digital Service – they’ve proved that going back to basics is the key to great design.

Screenshot of a page from the gov.uk website , with the topic 'UK bank holidays'

Overall and digital winner: Gov.UK Website, by Government Digital Service

(Image credit: TBC)

Screenshot of a page from the gov.uk website , landing on the ministry of defence page

Overall and digital winner: Gov.UK Website, by Government Digital Service

(Image credit: TBC)

Screenshot of a page from the gov.uk website with the topic 'Starting up a business'

Overall and digital winner: Gov.UK Website, by Government Digital Service

(Image credit: TBC)

Multi-storey building with trees around, captured during the day from a distance

Architecture winner: La Tour-Bois-Le-Prêtre, Paris, by Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal

(Image credit: TBC)

A storey building with glass balconies, photographed during the day behind trees

Architecture winner: La Tour-Bois-Le-Prêtre, Paris, by Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal

(Image credit: TBC)

A movie poster with the image of a woman and the name DIANA VREELAND written across

Fashion winner: 'Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel', by Lisa Immordino Vreeland

(Image credit: TBC)

A woman having a conversation with a man at a party with her hands dressed in white gloves on his chest

Fashion winner: 'Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel', by Lisa Immordino Vreeland

(Image credit: TBC)

Black and white image with a man smoking in a room with a wall filled with pinned pictures on the wall behind

Fashion winner: 'Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel', by Lisa Immordino Vreeland

(Image credit: TBC)

A woman in a red outfit , sitting on a red printed sofa with matching decor in the room.

Fashion winner: 'Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel', by Lisa Immordino Vreeland

(Image credit: TBC)

Two yellow and Two Grey chairs photographed against white background

Furniture winner: Medici Chair, by Konstantin Grcic, for Mattiazzi

(Image credit: TBC)

Two men outside a building with brown brick walls, putting up a sign with white background and black text. Photographed during the day

Graphics winner: Venice Architecture Biennale Identity, by John Morgan Studio

(Image credit: TBC)

Black text on white background photographed upclose

Graphics winner: Venice Architecture Biennale Identity, by John Morgan Studio

(Image credit: TBC)

White screen with the texts 'Common Ground' written in black text

Graphics winner: Venice Architecture Biennale Identity, by John Morgan Studio

(Image credit: TBC)

Miniature white sculptures against a white wall with black texts

Graphics winner: Venice Architecture Biennale Identity, by John Morgan Studio

(Image credit: TBC)

Black wheels photographed against a grey background

Transport winner: Morph Folding Wheel
, by Vitamins, for Maddak Inc. Our eagle eyes first spotted a prototype of this design back in 2010 - then titled the 'Crossbred Folding Wheel' by designer and Vitamin co-founder Duncan Fitzsimons. It featured in our Next Generation Issue (W*130)

(Image credit: TBC)

A hand holding the handle of a black luggage bag, photographed against a grey background

Transport winner: Morph Folding Wheel
, by Vitamins, for Maddak Inc

(Image credit: TBC)

Black wheelchair photographed against a white background

Transport winner: Morph Folding Wheel
, by Vitamins, for Maddak Inc

(Image credit: TBC)

Filled red crate of coca cola photographed from above against a white background

Product winner: Kit Yamoyo, by Colalife and PI Global

(Image credit: TBC)

A bicycle packed outside with two filled red coca cola crates attached (behind the seat). photographed outside a building during the day

Product winner: Kit Yamoyo, by Colalife and PI Global

(Image credit: TBC)

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