Thursday, 18 July 2013

Are Competitions Essential for Emerging Designers?

I have myself entered several competitions in the past but unfortunately I have never been shortlisted. This could be perhaps I know that I don't put my 100% into the particular project because I need to use my time much more for Black Cherry Studio. Although I did for a particular Tigerprint Competition earlier this year, again I wasn't shortlisted. But I did enjoy the design process and doing something different to what I usually do. Personally I only ever enter if I have a bit of spare time on my hands, which to be honest isn't very often anyway. 

Competitions are great for following a brief, therefore it's great practice. But there is so much talent out there and it does become quite competitive. If you enter several and never get short listed, it could dampen your spirits and feel that you're not good enough. But you must remember the people who set these competitions must have an idea of what they'd like in their head already, so it's impossible to get everything right anyway. So I wouldn't worry too much about not being shortlisted, it's taking part that counts.


But then competitions could be a waste of time due to not been shortlisted especially if you've spent quite some time on that particular design or whatever when you could have been doing something else instead which could have been a lot more valuable to your time.

Also if you're weren't short listed, what could you do with whatever you have created? Is it something you can add to your portfolio? Or is it just going to unfortunately be a waste of space? I think perhaps it depends on what type of competition it is, if it's a competition that fits your work perfectly then go for it, if you feel it's a challenge and you think you could add it to your portfolio then that's great too. Sometimes having a browse through previous competition briefs can be a great idea for starting new projects.

There are also competitions where there is a public vote. I did one recently but I wasn't a particular fan of the idea due to asking people to vote for me. I felt as though it was like begging for money and also do those people really like your design or just voting because you've asked them? It's not really very fair. It's more of a popularity contest. Although sometimes a second creation is chosen by that company as well.

What do you think? Do you agree with me? Do you think competitions are a complete waste of time? Let me know what you think in the comment box below.

6 comments:

  1. Hannah, I came across this from another forum and I saved it to my desktop. I'm not sure who the author is but it's made me rethink competitions.
    "Whenever possible, avoid contests and spec work. Both are ways to get work for free. You wouldn't eat dinner at three different restaurants and expect to pay only for the one that you liked the most - would you? That's exactly what happens when designers participate in contests and spec work. You deserve fair payment for your work – even if it’s in the form of barter."

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    1. Thank you for your comment Tina. Very wise words from the author, thank you for sharing :)

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  2. This is something I've been thinking about a lot recently. I think it depends on what the rewards are, some comps are good, and might be good experience, but others are just a way for a company to get free publicity and work. I always avoid the public voting competitions. Pestering people to 'vote for me' doesn't sit comfortably with me and often they have to register with an e-mail address to vote, which I think is really cheeky. Anyway, IMO it comes down to how many Facebook friends you have rather than how good your design is.

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    1. I completely agree with you Nancy, I did a competition recently, but didn't realize at the time that it was a public voting one and only have like 300 friends on there, if that, I knew I had no chance. It's not fair either, it doesn't necessarily prove that your design is good or not.

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  3. Hi Hannah, Great post specially in time of GTS from Lilla Rogers studio, I have been against contest for a while, after I did the begging and I dislike it so much but the other eye openning was to find in one contest fineprint, they actually owned the copyrights of all the submitted work.
    Design community is getting more aware of this and more selective of it and I think we all need to value more our work, is definetly a presonal choise but my point of view is that as a designers we need to be really be selective on which contest to participates, I think being a "only contest" designer doesn't give the artist a good reputation.

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    1. Thank you :)

      Thank you for your view too. I agree we do need to value our work a lot more & yeah it could possibly give us a bad reputation.

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