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Contest Type :
This guide will explain the basic file types you will encounter when working with Studio contests.
- INPUTS: As a contest holder, you may need to supply some files to the competitors when you create your contest.
- DELIVERABLES: The files competitors submit to your contest.
Your competitors may need specific files from you in order to complete their designs. The most common elements they need include your company logo and any text you plan to show in your design. Take a look at the file format guide below to determine what kind of files you should obtain and upload to the contest. You may need to get these files from your marketing department, graphic/web design team, or your printer. If you do not have the appropriate file types, you may need to ask the members to recreate files (which warrants an increase in prize and time) while working on your project, or you may need to run a quick bug race to get those files fixed.
When you create your contest, you will have the opportunity to list what types of files you need from the members. Submissions are made up of three main elements:
- The "preview" file (the image we display to you as a thumbnail)
- The "display" files (what you see when you evaluate the submissions and choose winners)
- The "source" files (files you download after choosing a winner)
The preview and display files are typically JPG files (HTML files are common as wireframe submissions), but the source files can be different depending on your needs.
So, which final file formats will you need? Here is a guide to help you determine which files to ask for.
A quick note about fonts and stock art: Studio has strict policies regarding what a member can submit. Please take the time to read about our stock art and font policy before you ask for either of these elements.
Four Main File Type Categories
Web-Ready Graphic Files
The most common acceptable formats for web graphics include JPG, GIF and PNG. These are the files your banners, web icons and promos will be saved as for immediate use. However, you will also need the "source" files for these graphics so that you can make changes to them later. For design contests that ask competitors to design an entire web site, screens of an application or other "mockups", your source files are needed in order to "slice" and code the design in the prototyping phase. Source files for web/application graphics generally include layered Photoshop PSD files. Widgets and other RIAs (Rich Internet Applications) may require vector formats as the source files.
Print-Ready Graphic Files
Most print files will be delivered to your print shop, so you should ask them what files they need. Typically, the source files will include a PDF or EPS format file, but your printer may require the source files from programs like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Macromedia Freehand and others.
Your logo is the most important graphic you will own for your business. It can be used on the web, in print, in apparel and in other ways you may not even imagine right now. This is why Studio strongly recommends asking for a "vector" file format. Vector graphics are images created using points, lines, curves and polygons rather than pixels (raster graphics). Vector graphics can be scaled infinitely without degradation. You should require EPS or AI files as the source files for logo contests. Unless otherwise noted in the contest, all logo submissions will be screened to ensure they are in vector format. Submissions that are not created as vectors will be failed.
IA Files (Wireframes, etc)
Wireframe contests ask competitors to create a sort of "blueprint" of the web site or application. Because the wireframe is a guide, different files may be accepted for this kind of competition. Most contest holders ask for wireframes in HTML because the pages can be linked together and it provides a better representation of page flow. However, wireframes can also be created in MS Visio or even a graphics program. The most common file requirement for a wireframe contest is the following: "Wireframes can be built in HTML, Axure, MS Visio or OmniGraffle. The resulting files are not critical in this contest. The most important point is that all the content is listed and the pages are linked together to show page flow. Pages must be linked together as a clickable resource."
Idea Generation contests generally ask for the summary and idea details to be contained within a document and any diagrams, drawings, etc to be supplied as JPG files.
Some Specific File Types Explained
Generally created with Adobe Acrobat. You may require a print-ready PDF file as a final deliverable. Many print shops will accept this file type when printing your design.
Adobe Photoshop file. These files should be kept in "layers" allowing for easier manipulation and editing of graphics later on. They are also the standard file input for UI Prototype contests. Coders need these layered files for easier slicing of images when they code the pages/screens.
AI or EPS
Adobe Illustrator File or Encapsulated Post Script File. These files are generally in vector format, "layered" if possible, allowing for easier manipulation and editing of graphics later on. Vector files are critical for logo designs.
Note that is is possible for vector files to be created in Adobe Photoshop. This isn't ideal, but it is possible. Any PSD file received for a vector contest will be evaluated before passing screening.
ICO files are Windows based icon image files. These files can hold multiple sizes of icons at varying color depths. Standard sizes for most Windows applications are 64×64, 32×32 and 16×16. Icon files should be created at maximum color depth, optimized for Windows XP unless otherwise specified in the contest details. Many designers will create their artwork in another program such as Adobe Illustrator or PhotoShop and then import these files into an icon editor such as Axialis. There are also a number of free icon editors available.
Contest Type :
Please take the time to read through this important information about the Studio policies regarding stock art and fonts.
Allowing Stock Art
Studio competition policies prevent members from submitting artwork/design elements that they did not create themselves with the exception of stock art when specifically allowed. You can see the documentation we provide to the members and the terms they agree to when participating in Studio.
Generally, we do not promote the use of stock art in our contests. Instead, we encourage contest holders to provide photos they own (full copyright ownership, not just a license to use) or to allow the members to come up with creative illustrations and design elements on their own. However, we recognize that in some situations, a design would benefit from the inclusion of stock photography.
For these contests, we have a specific policy that helps members and contest holders include stock art while still abiding by the Studio terms. If you are interested in allowing stock art in your contest, please read through this section.
Before you allow stock photos, keep in mind...
If you allow stock art, your contest will be subject to the following restrictions:
- Competitors may only use photos. They may not use design elements such as illustrations, icons, vectors or any other material other than photos.
- The submissions will not be shown publicly on the Studio website. (You will be able to view all submissions within Cockpit as usual).
- The members must submit according to strict policies that respect the licensing of the stock art they are proposing. If they do not adhere to these policies, their submission will fail screening.
- Your submissions will contain watermarked, low-resolution versions of the stock art the member has chosen. Once you've chosen a winning submission, the winner will be responsible for replacing the watermarked image with the purchased full resolution image that you will provide. This takes an extra 48 - 72 hours to complete after the contest ends.
- You will need to purchase the stock art shown in the winning submission from the stock art site. Currently, Studio does not facilitate this purchase.
- Each submission will contain information that shows the stock art information for each photo the member has proposed. This information is provided so that you can estimate the cost of each image you will need to purchase. It is the contest holder's responsibility to understand the licensing for each image purchased.
- Currently, the members are only allowed to use watermarked comps from iStockphoto.com. This site was chosen based on their large collection and low prices.
To allow stock art in your contest, just check the box in Cockpit when creating your contest. Members will then be required to declare the stock photos they've used when they upload their submission. These stock art declarations will then become available to you when viewing the submissions. The following statement is also automatically added to your contest description:
Watermarked comp photography from istockphoto.com is allowed in this contest. You must follow these instructions or your submission will fail screening:
1) You must declare your stock photos when submitting. See how here.
2) Only use photos, and only use them from iStockPhoto.com. Other iStockPhoto artwork (illustrations, icons, etc.) are not allowed.
3) Be sure to keep the watermark intact. If the photo is cropped in such a way that the watermark is not visible, please be sure to include the entire watermarked image in your source files so screeners can see that it is a comp image from iStockphoto.com.
If you would like assistance with this, please email email@example.com.
If you have allowed stock art by following the above procedures, and you now need to have the watermarked images swapped out with the purchased images, please follow these instructions.
Similar to stock art, Studio has a specific policy in place for fonts. Some fonts do not allow a license transfer from one individual to another. For this reason, we do not allow members to include font files within their submission and we automatically include the following statement under the "How to Format Your Submission" area on each contest launched through Studio:
Note: All non-standard fonts must be declared within your submission. Include the name of the font and a link to where it can be downloaded/purchased (commercial fonts only). DO NOT include any font files in your submission or source files.
This means that you may receive a design that includes information about a font you may not have on your computer. If you need to modify the design at a later date, you will need to download the font first. Some fonts are free, while others are available for purchase.
See the competitor Font Policy here.
Providing Fonts in Your Contest
If you are running a contest that requires modification of an existing design with a font that is not standard with Windows, you should determine if you have permission to upload the font to the contest for the members to use. In most cases, the font license will prevent you from uploading it, and you may need to ask the members to use a comparable font. If you have a situation like this, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss solutions.
Contest Type :
We advise writing your spec in one of the templates below before copying into Cockpit.
Spec Templates and Samples
Use this template for logo, web design, application UI design, banners, icons and print contests.
- Web Design Sample Contest (coming soon)
- Logo Design Sample Contest (coming soon)
Use this template for Wireframes and Idea Generation contests.
RIA Build and UI Prototype
Special Considerations for Mobile App Designs
Please see this page for specific information regarding writing a spec for mobile app design contests.
Spec Review Scorecards
- RIA Build/UI Prototype Spec Review Scorecard (For contests on the TopCoder site)
- Studio Spec Review Scorecard (For contests on the Studio site)