Design competitions, when done right, can be a great opportunity for young designers to showcase their talents and start building a professional network in the industry. Our guest today, Long Hung, a Product Designer at Goldman Sachs, has started participating in design contests at university. She sat down with us to talk about getting into design contests, winning Webby Awards 2020, as well as which contests to consider if you feel ready to join the race.
Long is a Product Designer with 5+ years of experience. A dedicated and innovative leader with a knack for integrating user insights to tackle complex problems, she strives to create meaningful experiences that delight users and drive business growth.
I’m a Product Designer with 5+ years of product design experience. In my current role, I work as a senior designer at Goldman Sachs. Previously, I have led designs for the award-winning mobile apps SongPop 2 and SongPop Live at FreshPlanet. I’m experienced in working with various startups to transform their missions into products and better experiences. My clients span several industries including finance, social, nonprofit, sportswear and gaming. My work has been recognized in the Webby Awards 2020 and Core77.
Design competitions are young designers' or design students' entry tickets to the professional world. They can pay a cheaper entry fee and use their concept design to enter design competitions.
Senior college students in Taiwan can enroll their graduation projects in the Taiwan Young Designer’s Awards. My graduation project (teammate: Yuhao Chiu) got Bronze awards for industrial design and was exhibited at Taiwan World Design Expo.
Honestly, it didn’t help me get noticed by recruiters because it’s not an international competition. I would say design awards could be part of your story when you talk to recruiters.
Young designers have lots of different concepts and ideas they want to try out. Design competitions are the ways for them to prove their ideas and sharpen their presentation skills by showing solutions and prototypes.
Product designers or graphic designers are not like architects that have a license to prove their ability. If young professionals need to be seen, design competitions are some kind of a badge for them to prove their ability and skills, as well as showcase their projects or products.
For more details about building a great Design Portfolio, read our interview with Jens Nielsen, a Senior Digital Product Designer at the LEGO Group and an experienced CSS Design Awards Judge.
I didn’t design any products for competitions. It’s more like I found out that the projects from class or apps from companies might fit in these competitions’ categories.
If I feel that my work matches the competitions’ goal, I will start to write design proposals and concepts and prepare the key experiences or the hero shots of products to participate in the competitions. In order to be more prepared, I suggest you go through all the previous winners, analyze what or why they win and apply all these tips and tricks to your submission.
Getting rejections doesn’t mean you are bad. They are not criticizing you as a person. Your ideas or solutions might not be the best ones for that time, and that is okay.
I spent three years applying to grad school. After I finally graduated, I could only find one job with a pretty low wage and employers didn’t want to sponsor my visa. During that time, I was exhausted and depressed. I really wanted to prove to myself that I could survive in New York.
I tried everything that I could do to stay afloat. I’m grateful that I got help from many people at that time. They helped me with documents, wrote recommendation letters and sometimes just checked in on me.
I can’t give too many recommendations but I can say that joining design competitions, participating in design conferences as a speaker and showcasing my works in exhibitions were the keys to my application for O-1.
SongPop Live was a live music trivia game app. The app launched in Canada and the United States in October 2019. SongPop Live combined host-lead player interaction with real-world cash prizes. This game app is accessible to everyone and everywhere.
Before launching, we ran hundreds of test shows with testers and hosts. Passionate players loved the game and shared social media posts about the intensity of the competition.
Our team was really excited about winning the People’s Voice Winner in the Games & Puzzle category for the 2020 Webby Awards.
Winning an award might add a few points. However, it’s not necessary. It’s how you present your work and why the team made those design decisions.
Notion, Google Sheets, Google Documents and Figma.
Each year it’s getting easier to apply but harder to win any prizes. I think this trend will continue to evolve.
Reach out to people, understand their problems, brainstorm, create hypotheses, make prototypes and don’t forget to test out your solutions.
If you want to tell a story about your career or share your expert opinion, send us a pitch at email@example.com