I’m in the process of selecting a senior project. I have the opportunity to work with a local startup developing some web interfaces and some physical product (not as much as it sounds… a lot of their hardware is purchased kit from elsewhere; the most I’d be doing is putting a shell over it to make it look different. also a transportation bag/case). I have the opportunity to create a sub brand (they don’t want a rebrand of what they have already). Basically it’s not as sexy and I’m not as free to do what I want my last year.
The other opportunities are doing a design competition (INDEX challenge or iF concept award), where I get to do whatever I want and worry less about what the client wants. I’m free to brand as much as I can and focus on making great products from start to finish instead of coming in halfway when they’ve already got something.
Here’s my question: when hiring a junior industrial designer, do you think having done a “live client” project during school (not a sponsored one, but one where all the negotiation, contract, proposal was handled by me) will give me an advantage over just participating in a design competition?
Please help me out! Any advice would be appreciated.