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  • FAQs: About competitions

    When will notifications for Round 1 be sent?
    Notifications were sent on March 18 to the primary contact associated with each entry. If one or more of your projects was promoted to Round 2, you should have received an email from AIGA on March 18. If your projects were not promoted, letters were mailed to the primary contact on the same date.

    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 April 22 to be considered in the next round of judging. You are encouraged to submit your entries before 6:00 p.m. Eastern. The online system will be open until midnight your time. Office hours for support are 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Eastern. (Monday-Friday). Please log in to answer all the required sections.

    When will the final selections be announced?
    The jurors will meet a final time in San Francisco June 12 and 13 to make the final selections. Notification letters will be sent in early July. A public announcement will be made in the fall.

    Is there a PDF of the “Justified” call for entries?
    To print the call for entries as a PDF, go to the Call for Entries page, scroll to the bottom, and click Print. All questions in the online form are included on the Call for Entries page. Be sure to reference the website for any updates.

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

    What payment methods are accepted for entry fees?
    Only online credit card payments for entry fees 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 February 14  at 9:00 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 February 14. Because of the tight jury schedule, no exceptions can be made.

    Are there additional fees for Round 1 late entries?
    No. There are no late fees for entries received after January 31. All entries must be received by February 14. Because of the tight jury schedule, no exceptions can be made.

    Do I need to be a member to participate in the competitions?
    Nonmembers may submit work in AIGA’s competitions. Better yet: join now and take advantage of reduced entry fees.

    In order to receive the AIGA member rate, memberships must be active and in good standing before you begin. 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 log in credentials before your begin.

    How can I find out if my membership is in good standing?
    Log into 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 entered a project in the competition before, but it was not selected, you may enter again as long as it is within the two-year time frame.

    When will selections be announced?
    Round 1: Juror selections will be announced by email in March 2014. Notifications were sent March 18.
    Round 2: Juror selections will be announced in the fall of 2014. 

    What are the prizes?
    Selections will be published on AIGA.org and promoted on the AIGA.org homepage and on AIGA's social networks.

    Are there any examples of case studies I can reference?
    Yes, you may reference selections from 2012 and selections from 2013 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 jury is trying to move away from categories and view entries from another perspective, the role the designer assumes and the impact of the work. The hope is this approach will encourage and inspire designers to think beyond categories, make the competition more open and help broaden the definition of the profession. The category you select will provide context for the jury as they view the entries on screen.

    What was 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 April 22 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 Continue” before you log out or navigate to another section. You won’t be able to make changes or add entries after April 22. All entries must be received by April 22. Because of the tight jury 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 April 22 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. To do so, log into the competitions system and click “Your submissions” in the upper right hand navigation. You will see your submissions listed on one page. Next to each entry you will have the option to “Edit” or “Print PDF.” You may also add more entries by clicking the “Submit more entries” button at the top or bottom of the page. All entries must be received by April 22. Because of the tight jury 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 spaces to determine the word count. Common examples: If you have bullets, remove the spaces after the bullets. If you have double spaces/line breaks between paragraphs, remove a space. We are unable to accommodate longer responses, 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.

    I am trying to upload an image at 640 pixels wide, but when I click "Add Image," a message appears that they are 0 pixels wide. How can I solve that?
    Check to see all image specs are met. The image must be 640 pixels wide (height variable), 72 dpi. File size to not exceed 500 KB. Save JPG images at maximum quality (with least compression). JPG, GIF or PNG file formats are accepted in RGB.

    File names should not contain any spaces or special characters with the exception of an underscore ( _ ).

    My images won’t upload. How can I add them?
    Make sure credits and captions are included for each image. Click “Add Image” after each one.

    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 _______.”

    I’ve followed the instructions, but I am still not able to upload my image. What should I do?
    Let’s try again. Image specs must be:
    640 pixels wide
    500 KB or less
    72 dpi
    Quality 12

    To do so, open the image in Photoshop > File > Save As >  Entrytitle_001.jpg > Save > Quality 12, Baseline (Standard) > OK.

    If there are any spaces in the file name, please replace them with an underscore ( _ ). Do not use any other special characters.
    Example 1: Entrytitle_001.jpg
    Example 2: Entrytitle_002.jpg

    You may need to rename the file and upload the image again. Firefox is the preferred browser. Be sure to include a caption and credit for each image.  After each image, click the “Add image” button.

    After the last image has been uploaded, click “Save and Continue" to proceed to the next section.

    If this does not resolve the issue, please email the competitions team with your username and password along with one of the images you are trying to upload and a screenshot of any error message you receive.

    What is placemaking design?
    The categories for the “Justified” 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 “Additional Information” section plus upload three or more screenshots from the website in the "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 stills-images. If the project involves moving or electronic components you may elect to add a video 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. 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 (March 2014). 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 must participate as a group to review the semi-finalist and make recommendations for the final selections.

      Will selections be published?
      Yes, AIGA will publish selected entries on AIGA.org. By entering “Justified: AIGA Design Competition” 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 late summer. Selections will be announced in the fall. View selections from past competitions on AIGA.org (2012 selections, 2013 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 “Justified: AIGA Design Competition,” so you are encouraged to enter. The jury will review the images and descriptions you submit online only. Please upload images that best represent your project.

      Will there be a “365 | Design Effectiveness” competition this year?
      You may enter your project in “Justified,” which represents the next generation of AIGA’s competitions.

      Will there be a “50 Books/50 Covers” competition this year?
      Now in its third year, “Justified” 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 competition.

      Can I submit the same projects in both Justified 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: 10:00 a.m.–6:00 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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