Tips for Entering Design Competitions

Tips for Entering Design Competitions: A Few Words From the Experts
By Heidi Trost

What is the secret to winning graphic design competitions? Have a sense of humor!

Well, it is a little more complicated than that. On June 14, 2011, Spark NYC hosted three design competition experts (Graham Clifford, owner of Graham Clifford Design, Gabriela Mirensky from AIGA, and Carol Wahler from Type Directors Club) who shared a few secrets gleaned from their behind-the-scenes experience. Here are the highlights:

1. Gabriela reminds us to not ignore the work description that accompanies design entries. Because this connects the judges to the "story" behind the work, it's important you put significant effort in crafting your message.

2. Be picky about what design pieces your enter. Graham concedes that it's sometimes hard to judge your own work but, remember, the competition is fierce‚ as few as 5-10% of entries win on average.

3. You don't need to enter every competition--it's far more practical to select competitions that best meet your specific marketing goals.

4. And, of course, the panelists agreed that an entry description that reveals a designer's sense of humor will stand out among the rest. Judges see hundreds of entries in a short period of time--a little wit goes a long way.

Thank you to Spark NYC and the panelists for sharing their insight.