Improving the Design Process with Student Competitions

Our team is working to improve the design process by utilizing product design competitions. To start, we want to determine the most useful information designers need and how they want it displayed. This will make it easier for the designers and give the companies better results.

After finishing this step we plan to use these competitions to more frequently connect students with companies. Our final goal is to give students more opportunities while decreasing the design cost for companies. We believe this dynamic will eventually lead to a reworking of how industrial/product design functions as a business.

If you are interested in taking our survey to help improve design competitions please email
(the link isn’t working on the forum)

For more information about our team and how we plan on achieving our goals also contact or call (352) 214-7851.

John, if you look a bit into the discussions on these boards, you will find that design competitions are looked at a bit skeptically by professional designers.

We designers make our livings from doing designs for companies that pay us to do them. You can see the inherent conflict with your stated goals and approach. Your belief is that your competition dynamic will alter the business. Is your plan to grow the design business or to make crowd sourced design cheaper for companies?

I am tempted to call, for now, please discuss the ideas here. btw, is not working.

From this discussion, this is what I want you to build with regards to design competitons that will interest both pros and student designers:

Here is the service I want. One that turns the tables.

I register at your site. Types of work I am interested in, terms of use that I am willing to work under, and the amount of prize money that I require to be inspired. My CV and portfolio. My schedule of availability which I update through an app. I may have different profiles for non-profits and for consumer commercial products.

Your company runs a design competition generating service to companies. Like an inverted kickstarter. Multiple companies kick in money to make it interesting. Now the companies are going head to head and distributing the designs, not just the designers. It feels more even to the designers. You use the various levels of experience and profiles to sell to your clients, the various companies. Your presentation reads like this: “at level x, we have 2500 years of designers experience available, with an average of 12 years experience”, or, “at level x/10, we have 27,000 years of experience available with an average of 2 years of experience”, you sell the pool of potential participants.

When the target is reached, you email me and notify me, and everyone else that meets the criteria.

When you need a 5,000 dollar design you get those willing to put in the effort.

When you raise 25,000 dollars for a competition, you get a more interesting playing field.

When you get a new record 500,000 Euro design competition based on your huge success in social promotion of your design competition generating service, you have my undivided attention.

And to make money, you get to keep 5%.


I understand the skepticism some professional designers such as yourself might have with this idea but I do not believe our goals will interfere with yours. There are similar platforms already running successfully for graphic design (99designs/crowdspring) that have not proved to have a negative effect on the community (multiple positive articles in NY Times, WSJ, TechCrunch, etc.).

To answer your question directly our goal is to accomplish both of these. Crowd sourcing designs at a cheaper cost will allow smaller companies to use the design process in a way they don’t have access to right now. Through this avenue the design business will grow as a whole because a new space of businesses will be utilizing designers (even if they are students). Also, students will have many more opportunities to design for real world purposes and grow their portfolio earlier. This will create a new generation of more experienced amateur designers who are more ready for jobs in the design industry.

I hope this helps explain our goals a bit more. Thank you for your advice and I would love to continue this discussion to further iterate our ideas. The more input we have the better we will be able to serve all facets of the design community.



Supporting and growing a culture of amateur designers will do nothing more than nullify professional designers work. Why would ANY client pay a large sum of money for professional work when there are any number of crowd sourced options? Your theory that creating more workers for the industry is deeply flawed. By fostering that culture, you kill the industry. Period.


Excellent. Thanks for posting that Richard.