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10th Icelandic Web Awards

7th February 2011

Last week I had the pleasure of providing the keynote and giving out the trophies at the 10th Icelandic Web Awards in a stormy, snowy Reykjavík. I thought it’d be nice to share with you the winners on the night; a chance to see what cuts the mustard in a less familiar territory.

The show was intimate; maybe 250 people, mostly nominees and industry supporters and so on. I loved the whooping and hollering as the nominations and winners were listed, and this behaviour continued long into the night around various bars, as I expected.

I first wrote about Icelandic web design back in 2004, and I’m delighted to see it is stronger than ever. Ultimately, I think the standard across all nominations this year was incredibly high, and there was some truly fantastic work up for the awards. Well done to the judges (who included Brian Suda) for selecting the following stand-out champions.

The winners

It’d take me forever to accurately translate the purpose of these sites and the judges’ opinions, so you’ll just have to take them on face value. Sorry. If you want specific details, ask me in the comments or something.

Meniga voted Best Icelandic site:


Gítargrip voted Best Look and Feel:


Data Market voted Best Service and Information site (also won the Most Interesting award):

Data Market

Bestu Lögin voted Best Entertainment or News site:

Bestu Login

Nova voted Best Sales and Promotional site (more than 50 employees):


North Sailing voted Best Marketing and Promotional site (fewer than 50 employees):

North Sailing

Iceland Wants To be Your Friend voted Best Marketing Campaign:

Iceland Wants To Be Your Friend

Legends of Valhalla voted Most Original website:


Other winners included Best Mobile site and Best Blog. Hope you find some of these as interesting and worthy as I do.

Thank you

So, thanks to Einar Þór Gústafsson for the invite, to Brian Suda for being a nice chap, to Icelandair for the hospitality, Iceland Wants To Be Your Friend for the friendship, and to all the winners and nominees who filled me with alcohol on Friday night. Takk fyrir.



# Candi responded on 7th February 2011 with...

It’s good to see great design. Simple and easy to navigate.

# Iceland responded on 7th February 2011 with...

Halló Simon.

Takk very much for coming back to visit me and my people and my cats, and walking around in my snow. (I hope you did not get very cold.)

Bless bless,
- Iceland

# Fraser Hannah responded on 8th February 2011 with...

I loved the Gítargrip website and the Legends of Valhalla, but was not at all sure about the Iceland Wants To be Your Friend one. It was charming in its simplicity but perhaps too simple for my taste, but what do I know as it must have worked otherwise it would not have been up for, and won an award.

# Mary Harrington responded on 8th February 2011 with...

It’s interesting to see how drastically different their perceived “best” is versus our.  It’s obvious that best is determined by trends.  Obviously the best in the English-speaking countries is paper-craft style sites where as the Icelandic sites appears a lot like what was popular 3 years ago here though maybe a little more modernist.

# Simon Collison responded on 9th February 2011 with...

Fraser: The thing with Iceland Wants To Be Your Friend is that it didn’t win because of the design, it won the marketing prize. I have to agree that the use of “social media” (can’t believe I said that) and personality to sell the country to the world has been incredibly successful. Truly a brilliant marketing idea.

# JP responded on 11th February 2011 with...

You know what I found interesting about this post? Even though I don’t speak, read or understand a word of Icelandic, I can still appreciate the awesome design features and creative qualities of the award winning sites.

Like the placement of the guitar on the Gitargrip site; it’s placed almost awkwardly off-centre on the page and this coupled with the popping quality of the shadow brings an unmistakable distinctiveness to the page which I can’t help but appreciate.

Thanks for the post – in an industry often dominated by content, this blog says something different about the international accessibility of good design.

# Sean J. McGehee responded on 26th February 2011 with...

Obviously my 4 yr-old daughter likes the Legend of Valhalla web site. I would have to say that I agree with her, having watched the movie Shrek so many times. Seriously though, I feel all the designers pushed the envelope to produce these pieces. Even the minimalistic Iceland design was unique.

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