How to Win a Design Contest: Tips From a Graphic Designer
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How to Win a Design Contest: Tips From a Graphic Designer

We’re looking for the next great Rustic sticker design and we need your help!

Rustic is hosting a design contest for students to create a sticker that illustrates what travel means to YOU. It can be anything you want. You’re only required to include “Rustic Pathways” somewhere in your design. If you win, your design will become our next limited edition sticker that we’ll distribute to thousands of Rustic students, educators, and staff all over the world. (You’ll also get a special stash to share with friends and family!)

The contest opens Thursday and you’ll have until Nov. 30 to submit your design. We’ll announce finalists Dec. 1 and the winner Dec. 19. Your fellow students will vote to determine the winner. 

If you’re worried there’s not enough time, don’t freak out. That’s why I’m here! As one of Rustic’s graphic designers, you’ve probably seen me draw on Instagram, worn one of the shirts I designed, or added one of my stickers to your water bottle. Because I’ve been an artist since I was 4, and I’ve competed in tons of design contests, I wanted to give you some tips to make creating your Rustic sticker design easier.

1. Get Inspired

I can’t start anything without something to inspire me. Ask yourself, “What do I love about Rustic? What do I want to see on a sticker or tee that they don’t have?” Once you figure that out, do your research. Go to your favorite brand’s website, flip through magazines, visit an art museum, go on a hike—do whatever it takes to spark your creative senses!

2. Sketch it Out

I’m not asking you to make a masterpiece here. Sketches should help you create a mental picture of what will really work. Even I draw stick figures and imperfect circles during my process—I like to think of it as “artistic notetaking.” Start by making small, rough sketches. Give yourself as many options as you can. I recommend five to 10 depending on your ideas. Take a step back, pick your top three, and you’re now ready for action.

How to Win a Design Contest: Tips from a Graphic Designer

3. Use Your Strengths

When it’s time to develop your top three, figure out what you’re good at and use that medium. Are you into using computer apps? Are you more of a detailed pen illustrator? Do you like creating collages? Do you consider yourself a casual notebook doodler? This is where you set yourself apart—revealing your creative voice. Turn on some tunes, embrace your creativity, and make your best work.

4. Show Your Friends and Family

When I make something, I’m not doing this alone. No matter how old I am, my parents are my biggest fans and have always complimented my work and given me feedback when I create something, even for my designs for Rustic. You may not want that feedback, but it makes your work even better. Your friends and family have your back, and they can give you a new perspective on what could make your design stand out from the rest. Get back to the drawing board, make your edits, and finalize your masterpiece.

5. Have Fun

This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. No matter how old you are and where your path takes you in life, you can’t succeed unless you’re passionate about what you’re doing. Throughout this contest when you’re feeling stuck, take a step back and think about what makes your heart sing. Believe it or not, your passion will speak through your work!

I hope these tips help you out. I am so STOKED to see the submissions and the designs you all come up with. It takes a lot to put your work out in the world, and the fact that you’re doing this shows not only talent, but ambition! Get your work out there, inspire your friends, and make something dope!

Enter the contest and maybe your design could represent Rustic’s teen travel programs around the world as our next limited edition sticker! Get the details about the contest, prize, important dates, and more. 

About the Author

Scott Ingram