Design Contests on Graphics.com
For the uninitiated, it may come as a surprise to hear that Graphics.com plays host to four ongoing design contests and challenges. While they all have in common a connection with a Jupiterimages stock content site, each provides a different way for you to participate and express your creativity, whether graphically or from a design perspective, ranging from an open-ended approach to those that have quite rigorous requirements. They're all fun to participate in and provide a way to stretch out a bit, freed from the day-to-day rigors of paid work. They also offer the potential to take home subscriptions to Photos.com, AbleStock.com or liquidlibrary.com.
The Photos.com Challenge
This is the one that started it all on Graphics.com and which after more than four years is still going strong. Each month Graphics.com staff (well, me, to be more precise) chooses a number of related images from the ever-growing Photos.com collection, with the challenge to use at least part of a certain number of them as elements of a new image. Past challenges have included everything from photos of 19th-century English actors, antique medicine bottles and Amanita Muscaria to pages from the circa 800 AD Book of Kells... well, you get the idea.
Each month six images are chosen by Graphics.com staff (idem), with three receiving three-month Photos.com subscriptions and three more taking home one-month subs. The August challenge has participants creating images using at least part of two of five brass musical instrument photos. Next month... but that would be telling. Above is one of the winning entries from the July challenge, by David Macdonald.
The AbleStock.com Design Brief
An important part of the design process is a document, created by the client alone or in conjunction with the designer, that clearly identifies key aspects of the project. Such a "design brief" can be referred to by both the designer and client prior to the project's completion and provides a single point of reference. The design brief attempts to embody such important design issues as background information about the client, the goal of the project, the audience, budget and available time to completion, as well as providing guidance on an overall design direction, which may include the usage of particular colors or imagery.
Okay, you probably knew all that, but I included it just in case. Each iteration of the AbleStock.com Design Brief consists of a series of different design projects for a fictional client, covering typical formats such as posters, book covers, advertisements and billboards. Sound easy? Design Brief 10 had participants create the wrapper of a bar of chocolate. But not just any chocolate. No, this was for a Belgian chocolate firm introducing a new line containing such tasty ingredients as tomato, zucchini, radish, squash and scallion. One of the winning images below is by Crdesign4u.
The current Brief has participants creating a cover for the inaugural issue of New Food magazine, with some interesting contributions already being posted. The booty? Three winners receive three months of access to AbleStock.com, which provides subscription download access to over 120,000 professional stock images in 25 MB and 50 MB sizes.
The Liquidlibrary Identity Challenge
The Liquidlibrary Identity Challenge consists of an identity creation project for a fictional client that needs help finishing its graphic identity. The "client" provides an image for each project, which must be used in the design of letterhead and a business card. At the end of the project deadline we pick three winning designs, based on their creativity, technical merit and the degree to which they satisfy the criteria of the Challenge.
Past challenges have involved designs for the Boston Entomological Society, the Web 2.0 startup GlobalThanks and DreamOfProvence.com, a web site selling French bath and body care products. Below is the image from the liquidlibrary.com collection provided as the base for the current challenge for the Chili Party restaurant chain. Three winners will receive three months of access to the liquidlibrary stock photo and illustration subscription site.
The Photos.com Philter Phrenzy
The most recent challenge on Graphics.com, the Phrenzy differs in that it doesn't start by providing images from Jupiterimages stock sites that must be used in the creation of a new image. Instead, it provides downloads of Photoshop plugins, actions and brushes from a variety of sites, which must be used in the creation of a new work. Three winners receive a three-month subscription to Photos.com, and also receive copies of the add-on, if there is a commercial version, or another commercial add-on or product from the developer, if one is available.
So if you have few minutes of downtime from your commercial work and have a hankering to participate in one of the Graphics.com design challenges, just jump in.