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  • FAQs: About competitions

    What is AIGA's annual design competition this year?
    AIGA's annual design competition is now "Cased: Case Studies for the AIGA Design Archives."

    What happened to "Justified"?
    "Justified" was AIGA's annual design competition from 2012-2014. "Cased" continues to demonstrate the collective success and impact of the design profession by celebrating case studies of the best in contemporary design.

    When will the next call for entries be announced?
    "Cased" is now open for entries. Click here to apply.

    When is the deadline for Round 1?
    Round 1 will be open through May 12, 2015.

    When will notifications for Round 1 be sent?
    Notifications will be sent in June 2015 to the primary contact associated with each entry. If one or more of your projects is promoted to Round 2, you will receive an email from AIGA by the end of June. If your project is not promoted, you will receive a letter.

    Are there additional fees for Round 2?
    No. There are no additional fees for Round 2.

    When is the deadline for Round 2?
    Round 2 must be completed by July 31 to be considered in the next round of judging. You are encouraged to submit your entries before 5:00 p.m. Eastern. The online system will be open until midnight your time. Office hours for support are 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Eastern (Monday-Friday). Please log in to answer all the required sections.

    When will the final selections be announced?
    The "Cased" jury will make final selections in September 2015. Notification letters will be sent by late October. A public announcement will be made in early December.

    Do entries need to be mailed?
    Do not send physical entries to AIGA. The jury will review entries through the images and descriptions submitted online.

    What payment methods are accepted for entry fee?
    Only online credit card payments will be accepted. AIGA accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

    When are entry fees due?
    All entry fees must be received online no later than May 12 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. Your entry will not be confirmed as received until entry fees are paid in full. Once payment is submitted, you will receive an email confirmation/receipt. Please save a copy for your records. All entries must be received by May 12. Because of the tight review schedule, no exceptions can be made.

    Do I need to be a member to participate in the competition?
    Nonmembers may submit work to AIGA’s competitions, but members take advantage of reduced entry fees and many other benefits. Join now!

    In order to receive the AIGA member rate for competitions, memberships must be active and in good standing before you enter. Rates cannot be adjusted after your work is entered.

    If you are submitting entries on the behalf of someone else, be sure you collect his or her AIGA credentials before your begin.

    How can I find out if my membership is in good standing?
    Log in to my.aiga.org to check your status at My Account.

    How can I retrieve my password?
    Go to my.aiga.org and click Forgot your password?

    If I submitted my work last year and was not selected, can I enter it again this year?
    Yes. If you previously entered a project in last year's competition (then known as "Justified") and it was not selected, you may enter again as long as it meets eligibility requirements.

    What are the prizes?
    Honorees will be featured prominently on AIGA.org, celebrated across AIGA's branded platforms, including social media, and affiliated with the prestigious AIGA Design Archives.

    Are there any examples of case studies I can reference?
    Yes, you may reference selections from 2012, selections from 2013 and selections from 2014 online.

    My work doesn’t fit neatly into any of the disciplines, what do I do?
    We understand that an entry might cross over several disciplines. You may select more than one. Please select the one(s) that most accurately fit your design project. Judges have the right to reclassify entries from one discipline to another or to select only components of a submission for honors. (The discipline is for informational purposes only to give the judges an understanding of the project they are viewing on the screen and described in the narrative.)

    Which category should I select?
    The category you select will provide context for the jury as they view the entries on screen. However, the jury will not prioritize category but rather the role the designer(s) assumes and the impact of the work. This approach is meant to encourage and inspire designers to think beyond categories, make the competition more open and help broaden the definition of the profession.

    What is "the primary role of the designer in the project"?
    In response to last year's jury, projects will be viewed with the role the designer assumes in mind. There are several options to pick from: Designer as activist, Designer as brand steward, Designer as craftsman, Designer as change agent, Designer as entrepreneur, Designer as author. If the options available don't describe the role of the designer for your project, you may select other.

    Can I save my information and then return to continue?
    Yes. You will be able to log in to complete your work until May 12 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. However, we encourage you to prepare your entries in advance in a separate document so you can upload the information in one session. If you are working directly in the competition form, remember to click “Save and Next” before you log out or navigate to another section. You won’t be able to make changes or add entries after May 12. All entries must be received by May 12. Because of the tight review schedule, no exceptions can be made.

    After I submit my entries, can I return to edit or add more?
    Yes, you will be able to return later to edit, add or print entries until May 12 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. To do so, log in to the awards system and click “My applications” in the upper left hand navigation. You will see your submissions listed on one page. Next to each entry you will have the option to “Print” or “View.” You can make edits by clicking "View." Be sure to save your work. You may also add more entries by clicking the “Make another application” in the upper left hand navigation. All entries must be received by May 12. Because of the tight review schedule, no exceptions can be made.

    Why does the system say I have exceed the word limit when Word says I am within my limit?
    The system is counting characters to determine the word limit. We take into account six characters per word, including spaces. Please check your word and character limit in Word before pasting your text into the awards system fields. We are unable to accommodate longer responses, so please edit your responses for length.

    Should I include the credit and caption in the layout of the image file? Or will there be a separate field to enter it?
    Do not include the caption and credit in the layout of the actual image file. For each image uploaded, there will be a separate field for caption and credits.

    Is the budget required?
    You are strongly encouraged to include budget and finance information. As a tool for learning, cases will be most useful if there is budget information. You may select the range that best matches the budget for your project.

    My images won’t upload. What's wrong?
    Make sure credits and captions are included for each image. Check to see all image specs are met: 640 pixels wide (height variable), 72 dpi. File size not to exceed 500 KB. Save JPG images at maximum quality (with least compression). JPG, GIF or PNG file formats are accepted in RGB.

    What is the minimum number of images required to illustrate our story?
    Although the minimum number of images required to illustrate your story is only one, we recommend uploading at least four. This is the only visual representation of your work for the judges to review. If your work is selected, these images will be used to create an image gallery to accompany your case study.

    What is the maximum number of images required to illustrate our story?
    The maximum number of images is 12.

    What should be put in the Image Credit field?
    For image credits, we are looking for photographer credits: “Image courtesy of _______.”

    What is placemaking design?
    The categories for the “Cased” competition include a range of design disciplines. “Placemaking design” is used to describe design for public spaces/urban and community development. An example might be “Pavement to Parks.”

    How do I submit a website with my case study?
    Websites are optional. They are not required for judging. To submit one, please include the direct URL for the website in the “Project images and video” section plus upload three or more screenshots from the website in the "Project images and video" section of the online form.

    All supplemental support for your case study must launch within an offline browser. Keep in mind that if your entry is selected, we may link to the website from the published case study. If the website will not be available for future viewing, you may also want to include a link to a video showing the website in use.

    How can I submit a PDF with my case study?
    In the description field, you may include a link to the page where the PDF lives. Be sure to upload screenshots that best represent your work.

    How do I submit a video with my case study?
    Videos are optional. They are not required for judging. If you have produced a video or reels to support your case study, then by all means submit it! All supplemental support for your case study must launch within an offline browser. Judges will only be able to review work online, so please add the direct URL in the Video section under “Project images and video.” You may also want to include a screenshot as an image for the image gallery.

    How long should a video be?
    Videos are optional. They are not required for judging. If you would like to supplement your entry with video, it should be no longer than three minutes. Examples AIGA members and entrants have shared include: “Uniqlo 'Storms' Pinterest” (length 2:17) and “buildOn” (length 2:10).

    How do I submit an app or a game with my case study?
    Apps and games are optional. They are not required for judging. All digital media projects must launch within an offline browser. For mobile or tablet apps, we suggest providing a download link for the app (the jury will not be able to purchase it), as well as a direct URL to a video showing the app in use and explaining its features. Keep in mind that if your entry is selected, we may link to the website from the published case study.

    How will the judges understand my grand vision?
    For large scale projects (i.e., themed environments, trade shows and exhibitions), case studies can be illustrated with still images. If the project involves moving or electronic components you may elect to add a video to your submission that will launch within an offline browser.

    What will the jury consider when reviewing entries?
    The jury will consider:

    • Approach: How did you address the client’s brief? Discuss the following choices: concept, team members, medium/media, distribution channels, vendors, materials and production.
    • Effectiveness: Does your client consider the project a success, and why? Why do you consider your project a success?

    The criteria for judging are:

    • Strength of concept or idea
    • Success of formal execution, aesthetics
    • Description of outcomes: project effectiveness and measures
    • Impact (based upon The Living Principles criteria of Culture, Economy, Environment and People)
    • Process or methodology used

    Reference the Living Principles scorecard to self-evaluate your work.

      How will the work be judged?
      There will be multiple rounds of judging for "Cased." During Round 1, the work will be reviewed online by jurors independently. Entries will then be promoted by the jurors for review and discussion as a group. Selections will be based on the strength of concept or idea and the success of formal execution and aesthetics. The jury will then invite the strongest contenders to participate in Round 2 (in June 2015). Entrants will provide detail on the design process and its effectiveness in order to be considered in the final round. During the final round, all jurors participate as a group to review the semi-finalists and make recommendations for the final selections.

      Will selections be published?
      Yes, AIGA will publish selected entries on AIGA.org. By entering “Cased: Case Studies for the AIGA Design Archive” you also grant permission for AIGA to reproduce images and descriptions of selected case studies in competitions-related publications; on its website(s); in any ensuing exhibition of the competitions’ selections; and for educational and AIGA-related promotional purposes. Notifications will be mailed in late October. Honorees will be announced in early December. View selections from past competitions on AIGA.org (2012 selections, 2013 selections, 2014 selections).

      The project I want to submit was done in very limited quantities/was very expensive. What are my options?
      No physical entries need to be submitted for “Cased" so you are encouraged to enter your work online. The jury will review the images and descriptions you submit online. Please upload images that best represent your project.

      Will there be a “365 | Design Effectiveness” competition this year?
      No. You may enter your project in “Cased,” which represents the next generation of AIGA’s competitions.

      Will there be a “50 Books/50 Covers” competition this year?
      Cased” represents the next generation of AIGA’s competitions. A partnership with Design Observer gives you the opportunity to nominate a book for consideration in this year’s "50 Books/50 Covers" competition.

      Can I submit the same projects in both Cased and 50 Books/50 Covers for this year?
      Yes! You are encouraged to enter your work in both competitions.

      Still have questions?
      For further information or questions, please contact the competitions team.

      Office hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Eastern (Monday-Friday)
      Email will be monitored during the evenings and weekends, so please use the contact form to email the competitions team with your questions and comments. The office will be closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day as well as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents' Day

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