The Dolls Awards of Excellence

The Dolls Awards of Excellence (DAE) competition (also known as the Diamond Awards) recognizes and encourages excellence in the design and creation of dolls. Photos of all the entries are reviewed and rated by professionals within the doll industry, who evaluate each submission on overall aesthetic appeal, excellence in concept, design, and execution, and quality of material and workmanship.

The highest-scoring creations in each category receive the DAE Industry’s Choice Awards and become the nominees for that year’s Public’s Choice Awards. DOLLS readers then vote for their favorite nominee in each category to determine the Diamond Award winners. Show the doll world your talent — enter this year’s competition!


Entries that do not conform to the following rules will not be processed or seen by judges. The period for entering runs from January 11, 2021 through March 31, 2021. If you have questions not addressed here, please email Editor Joyce Greenholdt or call 715-445-5000 ext. 150.


All entries for the 2021 DAEs must have been first introduced on or after January 1, 2020, and made available for sale during 2020 or 2021, provided they were not entered in past DAE competitions. Dolls introduced and made available for sale in 2020 or 2021 which have already been sold are eligible to enter.

Each entry must be a new, original design and not a variation or re-costuming of a previous design. Any substantial changes made in costume, materials, or retail price from the original entry are grounds for disqualification of the entry.

You may enter as many dolls as you wish in any category, but each doll can only be entered once.

Note regarding multiple production runs: It is common practice, especially in the resin BJD market, to use the same sculpt in multiple production runs using different skin colors for each run. In such cases, only one doll from each production run can be entered. For example: Doll X (tan) and Doll X (pale) could each be entered. However, if Doll X (tan) is a limited edition of five, and the artist gave each doll in the edition a different combination of face paint, outfit, and accessories (see Custom Dolls below), only one example of Doll X (tan) may be entered in the competition.

For your protection, please do not submit entries in the image of or with the name of trademarked characters unless you hold a license to create the characters.

If a submission entered into a category is deemed inappropriate by the staff of DOLLS, the magazine reserves the right to disqualify the entry or move it to a different category.


For the purposes of this contest, dolls are defined as jointed or unjointed playthings or collectibles, produced from any materials, in a human image (anthropomorphic designs may be entered in one of the Fantasy categories).


Entries in categories 1 through 12 must be designed and completed by the submitting artist or manufacturer, from original sculpt to finished doll. Collaborations are permitted, provided contributing artists are credited, but dolls made from kits or altered versions of an existing doll must be entered in the appropriate Special Category (see below). The 12 Standard Categories are further divided into three Divisions, each containing four categories.

Divisions: Collectible, Custom & OOAK

The standard categories are divided into three divisions, based on how the dolls are created and completed:

  • COLLECTIBLE dolls are produced in limited or open editions such that the dolls are offered for sale with the same outfit and/or accessories throughout the edition. Minor variations, such as ball-jointed dolls (BJDs) sold with a random pair or eyes or wig, are included in the collectible division.
  • CUSTOM dolls may be part of a limited or open production run, but each individual doll in the edition is finished with its own combination of paint, outfit, and accessories.
  • ONE-OF-A-KIND (OOAK) dolls are defined as having an original, unique sculpt that has not been reproduced, along with a unique costume and finishing details.

Collectible Division Categories
(Limited or open editions)
1. Collectible Fantasy Doll
2. Collectible Baby Doll
3. Collectible Child Doll
4. Collectible Teen/Adult Doll

Custom Division Categories
(Limited or open-edition dolls painted and costumed individually)
5. Custom Fantasy Doll
6. Custom Baby Doll
7. Custom Child Doll
8. Custom Teen/Adult Doll

One-of-a-Kind Division Categories
(Unique sculpt and finish)
9. OOAK Fantasy Doll
10. OOAK Baby Doll
11. OOAK Child Doll
12. OOAK Teen/Adult Doll


Dolls entered in categories 13 and 14 can be made from kits or by making alterations to an existing doll. In both cases, the original artist/manufacturer and doll or kit must be named in the Additional Credits portion of the entry form.

Dolls used to model entries in category 15 should likewise be properly credited. Doll fashions entered in the competition must have been offered for sale separately from any doll released by an artist or manufacturer OR have been created by a third-party artist or designer not collaborating with the doll’s designer.

Special Categories
13. Reborn Doll
14. Doll Repaint/Face-Up (Note: Depending on the extent of the customization, you may choose to submit two close-up photos rather than one full-length and one close-up photo.)
15. Doll Fashion (Note: Entry may be a single item of clothing or a complete outfit. You may submit two full-length photos showing the fashion from different angles or one full-length and one close-up showing detail.)


If there are insufficient entries in a category, DOLLS reserves the right to eliminate the category from this year’s competition and reclassify those entries into another appropriate category.

In order to ensure that the awards reflect the diversity of the field and to encourage new artists, we reserve the right to restrict the number of awards an artist may win in a single category.


Once you have read the full rules, click on the DAE 2021 link at the bottom of this page (the link will go live January 11, 2021) or on the DOLLS home page to purchase your entries. Once you have purchased your entry or entries, you will be able to access the online entry form.

Entry fees

Entries in the Standard Categories cost $79 for the first entry and $49 for each additional entry. For the Special Categories, the first entry is $39 and additional entries are $19 each. Payment must be made by credit card or a PayPal account. These fees are nonrefundable. Fees are applied to the contest’s administrative and publicity costs.

The cost of the first entry in any category of the DAEs includes the offer of a discount on your next ad in DOLLS magazine as well as a free one-year subscription (or renewal) to DOLLS (print and digital editions for addresses in the United States; digital-only for foreign addresses). Limit one discount and subscription per artist or company.

Entry Information

When preparing to enter online, have the following information ready for each entry:

  • Name of doll
  • Height in inches
  • Edition size (examples: Open, LE35, OOAK)
  • Retail price in U.S. dollars
  • Body material
  • Eye color and material
  • Costume materials and description
  • Special features (including credits for any collaborating designers/artists)
  • Two photos (see Photo Requirements)

Make sure the information entered into the online form is complete and accurate, and that you have uploaded both photos (see below), before submitting each entry. The information and photos will be used in the magazine and in promotional materials for nominated and winning entries. Any entry form that is not accompanied by photos and an entry fee will be invalid and not viewed by the judges. A separate online form must be filled out for each piece entered.

Photo Requirements

Each entry must include two clear color photographs. One must be a full-length photo showing the dressed doll. The second photo should be a close-up — or, if the doll is sold as nude or in basic undergarments, the second photo can show the undressed doll. See individual category listings for other exceptions. Each photo should be taken at a resolution setting of 1280×960 pixels or higher, or with a quality setting of at least “high.” Please contact Joyce Greenholdt if you have questions regarding the photo requirements or if you have any problems uploading the photos to the entry form.

Entries should be photographed in front of a plain background. Each entry must be photographed separately. Only props or accessories sold with a doll are permitted in the photograph.

Entry photographs become the property of JP Media LLC and may be used for promotional purposes or in DOLLS. Photos of award-winning entries will be published in DOLLS.


Entries must be received by March 31, 2021, to be considered. Judges will rate dolls based on the following criteria:

  • Overall aesthetic appeal
  • Excellence in concept, design and execution
  • Quality of material and workmanship
  • Value represented by the price and quality


  • March 31: Deadline for entering the 2021 Dolls Awards of Excellence competition
  • June 11: Dolls Awards of Excellence Industry’s Choice winners will be announced in an online presentation.
  • Early August: Public’s Choice nominees and ballot appear in DOLLS August/September 2021 issue
  • Sept. 30: Deadline for Public’s Choice voting
  • Early December: Public’s Choice winners will be announced in DOLLS January/February 2022 issue

Click Here to Enter the
2021 Dolls Awards of Excellence!