What I learned about design competitions

  • Never enter design competitions that test the skills you don’t have. If you have a poor knowledge about manufacturing, then don’t enter manufacturing-oriented design competitions. It’s that simple.

Everyone says that design competitions are great on your CV, but if you’re entering the wrong competitions for yourself, then it’s not worth the effort. I entered a business plan competition, and I knew shag all about planning and management. Well, I didn’t enter on my own will, but I had to enter to get marks for one college subject. I worked my butt off and yet I got nowhere. The main thing I learned was what I already knew: I sucked at business planning.

So my advice is: even when another country sets a design competition that you can do well in, enter it by all means. Someone posted a link to a Romanian design competition, which was incredibly well thought out.

one should be selective and chose the right war to fight in, of course. I agree with you on that.

On the other hand, a competition that is maybe not the participants specialty can be an opportunity to learn something new.
If you “worked your butt off” and it was a school thing, I am sure you must have learned something about business plans. You might not have won, but if you worked hard as you say, you must have taken a lot of experience from with.

As for the Aqua Carpatica comp (the romanian one), I was rather underwhelmed with the winners.
To be honest, as professional as the setup seemed, I am fairly sure that the server gave up on them on the deadline day and not everybody’s entry was considered.
In a statement, they announced that 380 entries were registered. I personally know of at least 20 projects that have been submitted.
Considering that a Designboom comp rallies up about 4000 entries, Carpatica’s number seems very low. Also keeping in mind that crazy price money.

But then again, you never really know how the judging works what goes on behind closed doors. On to the next one!