Our 2015 Student Design Competition Official Rules

Our 2015 Student Design Competition Official Rules As you've seen here on the blog this fall, our past Student Competition winners have gone on to some awesome jobs and experiences. Now's YOUR turn to get that same career jumpstart by entering our 2015 Student Design Competition! This annual competition is a special opportunity for you to win cash, exposure to a huge audience of amazing professional designers, and -- perhaps best of all -- a summer internship at a top magazine! 

We're sharing the categories and rules below to get you started and you can download the official Call for Entries PDF here, and we'll continue looking back at all of our past winners, answering frequently asked questions and sharing tips over the coming weeks, so stay tuned and read on...

Below you will find the rules and categories for creating your design entries in our 2015 competition. All the entry and payment details are HERE along with tips, FAQs, links to past entries and more. So check out that link and download the official Call for Entries/Entry Form PDF. 

In the meantime, even though the deadline isn't until March 9, 2015, you can get started now!!

2015 Student Design Competition Official Rules
Pick one of the following 5 categories and design a 2-spread* story. We LOVE original photography and illustration, so if you can incorporate that, even better (some categories even require it). And who says you only have to pick one? Enter as many designs as you'd like! Don't forget, student members get their first 3 entries FREE!

***For all entries, you're designing a two-spread story ... a "spread" consists of two side-by-side pages (get more details here). For the purposes of this competition, each page should measure 8" wide x 10" tall. So when you put the two pages together, the spread will measure 16" wide x 10" tall.

News Magazine

This edgy news magazine is geared to the young professional and covers politics, business and pop-culture. In its pages you'll find hard-hitting interviews, often with some of the most famous and infamous international figures.
HEADLINE: 50 Questions with (Name of your person of choice here)
DECK/SUBHEAD:  He/She has been called every name under the sun. We decided to find out who this so-called villain really is.
BYLINE: By Janet Marion
Design a two-spread feature story for this magazine that is a Q&A interview with the person of your choice (it can be a real person or somebody you've made up). You don't have to fit all 50 questions on these two spreads, just pretend these are the first 2 spreads of the story. Consider using innovative infographics, charts and sidebars, and original illustrations.
SPECIAL NOTE: This new category is in honor of SPD's 50th Anniversary, so we're looking to see how you play up the "50" with typography.

How-To... Magazine

This new hip and fun magazine for the young post-graduate has a broad topic reach on how to improve your home, life and career.
HEADLINE:  (Fill in the Blank) Like A Pro
DECK/SUBHEAD:  Follow these few simple steps to become a master.
BYLINE: By F. C. Williams
Design a two-spread feature story in this magazine that gives step-by-step instructions on how to master the topic of your choice. You might want to include original illustrations, schematics and sidebars to make it easier to follow. Think of an innovative and fun way to approach your topic. You don't actually have to write the story, but use real text in display type.

City/Regional Magazine

This magazine is an established city/regional publication for the young and independent traveler. It covers food, nightlife, and where to stay. If you need to know this place, this magazine is your source.
HEADLINE:  The New (Place/Destination of your choice)
DECK/SUBHEAD:  Never thought of traveling here? You might be surprised.
BYLINE: By the Editors
Design a two-spread feature story for this magazine showcasing an unexpectedly cool, hip and/or beautiful destination. The article/content should be in the format of a three-day visit. Think about ways to incorporate sidebars and tips to make this a fun design that is easy for your readers to use. Consider producing your own photography to give your design a fresh and creative approach to your chosen place.

Entertainment Magazine

A hip, clever, sometimes sharp-tongued magazine, it focuses on music, movies and television, with reviews, investigative stories, interviews and reader polls. This magazine isn't afraid to poke fun at the subjects it profiles.
HEADLINE:  What Ever Happened to Him/Her?
DECK/SUBHEAD:  (Name of person of your choice) has been out of the limelight for years. Where has he/she been, and is he/she here to stay?
BYLINE: By James Rodgers
Design a two-spread feature story that covers a person's comeback to music, TV or film. Think of creative ways to illustrate and design this feature that will grab the attention of the reader. Consider adding infographics, timelines or sidebars to help tell the story. It doesn't even have to be a real celebrity--just make it convincing. You MUST create your own photography or illustrations for this category.

Sports Magazine

This publication is a must-read for enthusiasts of sports and the lifestyle associated with them. It reviews new products, covers major sporting events as well as small competitions, and goes around the world to find them. Writers interview sports superstars as well as kids in the park.
DECK/SUBHEAD:  (You can write this deck/subhead yourself, based on your topic.)
BYLINE: By Jane Johnson
Design a two-spread feature story showcasing a sport or sport figures. It should be a roundup of teams, tournaments or players. Think dream team, the best tournament, coolest stadiums, most-winning coaches, etc. Like with all the categories, consider using infographics, timelines and sidebars to help tell the story and engage the reader.


1.  CHOOSE:  Select a project from one of the five categories listed above.


2.  DESIGN:  Create a 4-page story (2 spreads) on the project you choose. Each page measures 8" wide x 10" tall, so a spread is 16" wide x 10" tall. 

Original photography or illustration is required for the Entertainment category, but not all; though it is welcome in every category, if appropriate. 

You may enter more than one design in the same or different categories. SPD Student Members get their first 3 entries for free -- you can choose to join or renew when you submit your entries.


3.  SUBMIT:  Either printed material or digital files as follows:

Printed Material: Full-size spreads, not reduced copies. DO NOT MOUNT THE WORK TO ANY TYPE OF BOARD. Tape a copy of your completed entry form to the BACK of each submission. Staple the spreads together in the upper left-hand corner. (Slides will NOT be accepted). The judges will be looking at the exact printed entry you submit, so be sure that the printout looks as you intend it to.

Digital PDFs: You MUST include your name somewhere on each spread in 4pt type. Each file MUST be named "First_Lastname.pdf". Entries should be full-size spreads, print-quality, 300 dpi, PDF files (all fonts embedded). Burn all submissions to a CD. It is ok to put multiple entries on one CD. Include a printed copy of the entry form for each entry. Mark clearly the name of the school and students' last name(s) on the CD.


4.  SEND all entries with completed entry forms and online payment receipts to:

The Society of Publication Designers  
27 Union Square West, Suite 207 
New York, NY 10003

Entries must be received by Monday, March 9, 2015, 5pm EST. Anything later will not be eligible as the judging process begins Tuesday, so plan some delivery cushion time for yourself.


Please read the instructions carefully and stay within the guidelines. SPD reserves the right to disqualify any miscategorized or incomplete entries. Be sure to read over all the details and download the entry form here. Also continually check us out here on the blog as we will be posting tips, FAQs and other helpful info as the deadline nears.

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