Around October last year I decided to bite the bullet, man up, go for gusto, no guts no glory, buckle down, gird my loins, etc etc, and submit my work to the Creative Quarterly design contest. Our directors do a pretty good job of keeping us informed on upcoming contests and submission deadlines, but I’d always lacked the confidence in my work to actually submit anything. However, having finished two years of grad school, and knowing that one of my classmates had been selected as a winner of this contest last year, I decided that I just might possibly finally potentially maybe have good enough work to submit to the contest.
Plus, Creative Quarterly had a student category, a submission fee of only $40 per design which is apparently outrageously cheap, and unlimited submissions which meant that I didn’t have to go through the agonizing indecision involved in picking just one piece. How could I not submit?
In the end I chose four pieces: my religious architecture posters and future of furniture book (both of which I polished up over break), my most recent typography project on Huronia and the language of the Inuit, and my poster from my film festival project last semester (I thought the poster turned out particularly well. Or rather, it was the one piece that I wasn’t embarrassed about!). I rushed to photograph and submit a couple of them, especially the Huronia project, as I had only finished it two days before. I agonized over touching up the photographs and choosing the final images, filled out the submission form, and nervously hit submit.
And then, honestly, I kind of forgot I had submitted them. I knew it would take awhile to hear back, and I was so swamped with school projects that the contest just sort of faded away into the back of my brain and then into oblivion.
So when I got an email in late December with the subject line “CQ30 Runners Up Announcement” it took me a minute to figure out what it was talking about. And then I realized my work, while not a winner, was selected as a runner up, and that in fact I had two of these emails—two of my four submissions had been selected (the film festival poster and the future of furniture book)! However, I immediately wondered how meaningful this was, if perhaps dozens and dozens or even hundreds of entries were selected as runners up. But when I went to www.cqjournal.com/winners.html, my name was in the Graphic Design: Student, Runners Up category with 10 others, and my name was the only one with an asterisk to “denote multiple winners.”
All in all I’d say that’s not too shabby for my first contest submission. Still room for improvement, but this helps give me faith that I’m actually creating and designing things to be proud of. It’s always nice to know that other designers like what I create. The work itself will be showcased online when the Creative Quarterly 30 issue is sent out in the spring, but perhaps my favorite part of this whole thing is that my name is officially listed on a webpage named winners.html!