The Washington Post has won 16 design awards in the annual competition of the Society of Newspaper Design, including a gold and a silver award, it was announced yesterday in San Francisco.

Nationally, 11 gold and 44 silver awards were given at the society's 11th annual convention, a spokesman for the group said.

Among the awards, The Post Food section won a gold award for designs by Nancy Brooke Smith, and "The Lawning of America," a feature in The Washington Post Magazine, won a silver award for work done by Mark Danzig.

Smith now works as a designer for Ms. magazine. Danzig, who also won two awards of excellence for individual magazine covers, is art director for The Washington Post Magazine.

Other Washington Post designers who received awards for portfolios of page designs are Carol Porter, Marty Barrick and Jo Ellen Murphy. Peter Hoey received awards of excellence in two art and illustration categories.

In addition, awards of excellence were received for two news projects, on the war against drugs and the Loma Prieta earthquake in California. Those cited for the projects were Wendy Ross, Jane Ashley, Michael Drew and James Schwartz. The Post's art director is Michael Keegan.

The Society of Newspaper Design, which has its headquarters in Reston, had judges review 7,418 entries. They picked 349 designs as winners.

The society is an international professional organization that was established in 1979 with 22 members and is dedicated to the improvement of newspapers through better design. The society has more than 2,200 members.