Ask the Pros: What's the benefit in entering the SPD Student Design Competition

Ask the Pros: What's the benefit in entering the SPD Student Design Competition Our Ask the Pros series is here to answer your most pressing questions about interviewing, job-hunting and working in the world of publication art and photo departments. Got a question you want answered? Email it to us at and we'll put it to our experts. A varying panel of professionals will give you their take, and then it's up to you to put their advice to work. 

Today we're breaking from the pattern a little, to give you some insight into how entering our 2013 Student Design Competition can help you ...

I'd like to enter your Student Design Competition, but it seems like a lot of work. I know the top prizes are cool, but seeing as how only a very few actually win, is it really worth the time and effort?

You're right, entering our competition isn't simply as easy as entering a piece you've already created. You have to design something specifically for us, according to our rules. That does indeed take time, effort, creativity and hard work. BUT in addition to the super-awesome prizes you could win, there's lots of other reasons why all the hard work and time spent is worth it to you.

1. The prizes, of course. If you're one of the top 3 winners, you'll win cash and the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. You'll also be invited to our annual Gala where you'll get your official award and where you can mingle with the entire industry. And let's not forget maybe the most-valuable prize, an internship at a top NYC magazine! In fact, even if you're a runner-up, you can win an internship!

2. The exposure. In addition to those awesome prizes, if you're one of the top 3 winners or any of our honorable mentions (and we've done as many as 7 honorable mentions!), your entry gets printed in our SPD Annual. In case you're not aware of it, the Annual is this gorgeous, glossy book full of all the top design from the past year's professional magazines (and also now an app!) ... and as a winner in our Student Competition, your entry is included. This is the book designers world-over turn to for ideas and inspiration, so that's some MAJOR exposure.

But let's say you're not one of the lucky top winners. Even still, your work is being seen by an incredibly awesome group of creative directors and art directors who serve as our judges. We're talking the best of the biz. And these people are ALWAYS on the lookout for new talent. So maybe your entry isn't one that all of our judges agree on, but it might be the favorite of one or two of them, and they're going to take notes and remember your name.

3. A piece for your portfolio. As you've read in our previous "Ask the Pros" posts, when publication art directors look at your portfolio, they want to see something that shows you can handle the work they do. By entering our competition, you now have a perfectly-suited portfolio piece that does exactly that.

4. Proof that you're passionate. Those hiring art directors are also looking for passion and excitement for what they do, perhaps even more so than you're actual work. And nothing says passion like proof that you've taken the time to create extra work for yourself. Not to mention, that it shows knowledge of SPD in general, which further shows your interest and knowledge of our industry. All things that are extremely valuable when you're trying to convince someone to hire you.

5. Practice. Aside from all that stuff, creating an entry simply helps you get better. Practice does indeed make perfect ... or at least, improvement!

Hopefully we've convinced you and will get to see your awesome work in our judging. Don't forget, the deadline is Monday, March 4th. Get started now, if you haven't already!

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