“Whoa, Red Hat Creative Team! You’ve won so many awards…How did you do it??”
Well, after many long hours of hard work making all the pieces, we had to enter the competitions. Below is a quick guide to help you avoid the pain points of submitting your work to creative competitions so you can win some awards!!
Keep your presentation (if you made one)
Adapt a write-up that describes your project or design process. It’s a lot easier to explain your design concept right after you successfully pitched the idea to your creative director rather than, say, 6 months later when you realize your awards submission is due…at the end of the day.
Get organized. Keep a calendar. Think awards.
That design concept you just adapted? Make a designated awards folder, and drop it in. Once you create an awards calendar, check to see if that piece would be suited for an upcoming competition. Keep organized with awards collateral, concept folders, and a calendar, and you’ll be halfway done when those submission dates come ’round. For your calendar, include early-bird submission dates, final deadlines, and costs for submissions.
Make extras. More than you think.
For printed or manufactured designs, add extras into your quantities (10 or so) that you can have on hand to send in with your submissions. These days, mostly digital files are required, but in some competitions, they may require physical entries, while in others, sending in a physical entry really boosts your chances. Save out separate submission-ready versions of your best work, and save out multiple file formats of your different pieces.
Keep track of all the contributors
If you win, the last thing you want to see is that you left off a colleague by accident in the list of credits. It’s much easier to keep a running list of all the designers, concept collaborators, writers, and editors as you wrap up each project.
Take pictures. Great ones. Lots of them.
Did you design a branded environment? Did your team create a varied set of event collateral? Take high quality pictures of all your work. It’s tempting to just take some phone pics for posterity, but making your product photos look as professional as possible will make your entry stand out and be remembered.
Track your work’s success
Maybe your video ad went viral. Maybe after your campaign, sale conversions increased, traffic and clicks on your webpage spiked, or social media was abuzz. All of these are measures of success, stats you’ll want to track, and great metrics that you’ll want to add to many types of entries.
COMPLETING THE ENTRY FORM
There may be lots of categories. Make a decision.
Ask yourself: Is this a category or award that my piece can win in? Take a look at who won last year in all the categories you think you might fit in. Then, choose where you will most likely win. Entering these competitions can be expensive, so don’t waste your money with ill-fitting categories on a whim. Oh, yeah, and sometimes the full list of categories doesn’t show up until you start the entry process. You’ve been forewarned…
Take your time. Read carefully.
Every competition has different requirements, and many may disqualify your entry if you don’t follow them through the fine print. Sometimes they ask for specific file types or image dimensions. They might ask for a write-up about your piece—ranging from a description of your piece in 100 characters or less to a full defense of your design concept in an essay of 500 words. You may not know until you start the process, and even with excellent prep time, there might be some surprise steps. Give yourself time to complete each entry.
Staying organized and keeping awards in mind is key. Keep an awards calendar, so you can plan your entry timeline and your submission budget. Document all the aspects of your projects that might contribute to the strength of your submissions, and keep a repository of all your potential awards assets. Give yourself enough time to complete the actual entry form for each one.