Stan,* one of my design professors in college, insisted that we all should always enter design competitions after we graduated and started working professionally. True to form a required contest entry was usually listed on our [long] project list each semester, even though at that point we could hardly imagine life beyond the Arts building.
His point was that, as creative people, it’s dangerously easy to become comfortable and complacent in our jobs; doing ‘good enough’ work, not our best work. After years of this mediocrity you suddenly discover that you’re either burned out or outdated, both of which can be devastatingly hard to recover from.
Entering competitions is supposed to prevent this cycle by forcing you to do great work on a deadline with no client demands, just for the sake of creating. And then you put this work on display for critique and get to see what other creatives are doing. Sometimes you win, most of the time you don’t; but the process here is what’s important. And isn’t that always the case?
(To clarify ‘competition’, I don’t mean crowd-sourcing garbage like E-Lance and LogoTournament.com; see why here.)
So with Stan in mind, here’s my entry for the Veer Stunner in the Summer poster contest:
While I doubt this will win any prizes, I really believe in the exercise for what it was meant to do. And it was fun.
For those looking for design competitions to enter, Veer has periodic calls-for-entry like this one, as well as various competitions from Adobe, AIGA, HOW, and Print magazine.
*actually, Stan was more like the entire graphic design department, metaphorically speaking. My fellow GSU design alumni know what I mean.