There Is Nothing Like A Good ExampleBrowse examples below to learn what TopCoder can accomplish for you.
Contest Type :
A successful Studio competition begins with comprehensive, thoughtful prep work. Designers need specific information to get their creative juices flowing and produce their best work. A great contest specification and supporting materials allows a designer to feel energized, excited and connected to your project rather than staring at the drawing board feeling confused and unsure of which direction to take.
The first step in preparing your design contest is to get familiar with past contests. Take a look at what other clients have done, and the submissions received. After you've done some initial research, the following ten questions should be addressed:
Who is your target audience?
Designers will take completely different approaches to a concept depending on the target audience. For example, a web banner ad that is meant to draw in financial advisors in their 50's will look vastly different from an ad targeting young college-age women. You should provide as much detail about your target audience as possible.
What branding considerations must the competitors follow?
Your brand guidelines are something you must adhere to, and so should the designers. In order to allow them to produce work that will not have to be revamped later by your branding team, you must provide as much information about the branding guidelines as possible. Give extremely clear instructions, such as specific color identification numbers or the exact amount of clear space your logo must have between design elements. These considerations identify and distinguish your brand from others.
What are your primary goals for this design?
If you need to freshen up your web site because the design is outdated and stagnant, you may want to give a summary about why you're ready for a redesign and if customer feedback brought you to this point. If you need marketing materials for a conference and you want to stand out from the other presenters, make that clear to the designers. The more information you can provide about your decision to get this design produced, the more likely you'll get a designer who focuses on concepts that specifically meet your goals.
What is the design's medium and how well will it translate to other mediums?
A logo design for a software application may only be displayed on a screen, but a company logo and other branding will need to translate into many different mediums including the web, print, and apparel. Designers will make specific decisions about gradients, spacing and typography based on the information you provide here. It could mean the difference between a clear, versatile logo and one that becomes unreadable at small sizes or impossible to embroider on a T-shirt.
How will your design stand out from your competitors?
You should always be aware of the design trends of your competitors, and then find a balance between capturing the attention of the same demographic and standing out. If you have links to what your competitors are doing, and what you like or dislike about those competitor's designs, include that information in your contest.
What source file types will you need from the winner?
There are many different graphic file types the designers utilize. Many are specifically tailored to certain types of contests. For example, print designers tend to work mostly with high resolution vector files. Designs for the web are rasterized and low resolution. You'll need to determine what file type is needed for correct output and you'll also want to ask for files you can edit at a later date.
Do you have examples of design work from other sources that you'd like the designers to view?
While Nike may have absolutely nothing in common with your company, you may admire the way its logo conveys movement and its elegant simplicity. You may be inspired by navigational elements, layout, color schemes, etc. on other web sites, which is great to share with the designers. Keep in mind - you should never encourage a designer to copy any design elements.
Do you have all of the materials the designer will need to incorporate into their designs?
If you are running a brochure competition, do you have the content and company photographs ready to provide to the designers? While it is fine to ask the competitors to be creative and offer new ideas, you should also be prepared to give them the neccesary materials. Logos, content, photography that you own, etc. should all be provided.
Are any of your materials copyrighted by a third party?
Everything you include in your contest must be owned solely by you. This includes content, graphics, photography, sound files, Flash files, etc. You may not include screenshots of other designs - but you may provide links. If you are in doubt about what you own, speak with your legal consultant.
What criteria must the designers meet to win?
While it's highly possible you'll prefer a design that strays from what you initially envisioned, setting realistic criteria for the designers is a smart idea. Specific limitations (such as restricting a color or a specific layout style) and specific requirements (such as the inclusion of your company logo) will help the competitors meet the basic needs of your competition, but you should also list high-level criteria and your overall judging methodology.
Contest Type :
These are the contest types you can run on Studio.
Logo competitions on Studio range from conceptualizing the primary identifying mark of a company to creating a product logo or service mark.
Print competitions can range from a poster for a company event, to a tri-fold brochure promoting services. Here are some examples of print contests:
- T-shirt design
- Postcard/mailer or invitation design
- Banners, table-tops and other conference materials
- Posters and flyers
- Business cards and other stationery
Presentation design contests organize marketing or sales material into a professional design. Contests include:
- PPT slide templates (masters)
- Report/presentation covers
- Graphs, charts and other graphics used within a presentation
Application Front-End Design
Application front-end design contests are often called "storyboards." They produce "flat" graphic files; the screens look exactly how they should appear to the user, but nothing about the storyboards is interactive or functional. Here are a few examples of the types of storyboards on Studio:
- A one-screen storyboard of an application's main page.
- A multi-page storyboard contest asking members to design certain pages of an application.
Many contest holders start with a one- or two-page contest to get ideas for the "look and feel", then choose a winner and run another contest to apply that look and feel to more pages of the application. Storyboard contests rarely require more than 10 screens. The remaining screens are built during in the UI Prototype contest.
Web design contests are also called "storyboards." They produce "flat" graphic files; the screens look exactly how they should appear to the user, but nothing about the storyboards is interactive or functional. Here are a few examples of the types of web design storyboards on Studio:
- A one-screen storyboard of a web site's main page.
- A two-screen storyboard contest of a web site's main page and a sub-page template.
- A storyboard design for a web-application.
Many contest holders start with a one- or two-page contest to get ideas for the "look and feel", then choose a winner and run another contest to apply that look and feel to more pages of the site. Storyboard contests rarely require more than 10 screens. The remaining screens are built during in the UI Prototype contest.
This category covers traditional web banners, along with promos that can be used both on web sites and email newsletters. Banner contests often require competitors to design at least three sizes, while promo contests often require different versions with alternate text provided by the contest holder.
Icons are designed for web sites, print publications, applications, mobile apps, and anywhere else where icons may be used. Contests could require just a few icons, or a larger set.
Flash contests that require design elements/illustrations and need a creative solution belong in this category. Generally, this contest type is reserved for flash banners or small elements that do not need heavy interaction or other coded components. Flash projects that already have the graphical elements designed and need to be coded in Actionscript belong in the RIA Build track (see below).
Widget or Mobile Screen Design
Widgets and mobile screen design tend to have specific development requirements and restrictions that make the UI design unique. Contests in this area may focus on the best use of small space, specific source file requirements (such as vector files for widget designs that will be built in Flash), and unique layout considerations (vertical and horizontal smart phone layouts, for example).
Wireframe Competitions are designed to take the requirement documents inputs from the Specification Contest (or directly from the client) and create a "roadmap" of the working application. They do not demonstrate the look and feel of the website or application. The end result of a Wireframe competition is a fully navigable representation of all of the pages and interactions for the entire website or application as well as a visual sitemap.
This unique type of contest asks competitors to conceptualize an idea and present it in written format, often with drawings or other diagrams to help explain the idea. Examples of Idea Generation contests include:
- Contest to come up with iPhone app ideas for a company
- Contest to take a generalized idea for an application and come up with a way to customize it for a niche group
These competitions are run on the Software side of TopCoder, not on the Studio website. However, they are traditionally considered Studio contest types, and se they are listed here for informational purposes only.
UI Prototype Competitions are designed to take the graphics (UI storyboards) and information architecture (IA wireframes) of a web site or application and create a demonstration of the working application. Prototypes in this type of competition are created in HTML/CSS and are generally used as the input of the next phase of development, although some prototypes move directly into production (simple web sites, for example).
Rich Internet Application (RIA) Build Competitions provide the build of small applications used both on the Internet and on the desktop. Most of the competitions here are in Flash or Flex. The competitions take the graphics (UI storyboards) and information architecture (IA wireframes) of the app to be built and create the working application.