Who Should Enter
Q: Who should enter the Next Generation design competition?
A: Designers from all disciplines, practicing ten years or less; design students as individuals or as groups collaborating on projects.
Q: I am not an architect, should I still enter the Next Generation competition?
A: Absolutely. The Next Generation encourages ALL designers to enter. Design solutions come in many forms and we are committed to the entire breadth of the spectrum—interior design, urban planning, landscape design, product design, graphic design, communication design, furniture design, industrial design, lighting design—in addition to architecture.
Q: What information will I need to complete the application?
A: The application will require contact information for you and your collaborators, an explanation of the project in the form of answers to short essay questions, and supporting visuals.
Q: Do I have to complete the application in one session?
A: No. You will create a login for the application and can return to it for updates as many times as you need to.
Q: What does it mean that Next Generation is an ideas competition? Why does Metropolis do it?
A: Many competitions are beauty contests of finished products, buildings, interiors, or graphics. While we believe that these competitions are important, for the Next Generation® we wanted to go much further in depth to encourage thinking about, and innovative solutions for, design problems. Of course beauty is important to us, too. We believe that young designers have an amazing amount of pluck and talent and it is an important part of what we do to foster the next generation of design. While we are happy to accept completed projects as entries, it is not necessary to have a completed project to enter this competition, it is necessary to have an original idea and the burning desire to see it through.
Q: What are you looking for?
A: Submissions may be conceptual, in the early stages of development, near completion, or completed and ready for the next phase of development. Your idea must have the potential to be made, built, or otherwise realized; if you have made a working prototype, let us know. We are looking for innovative, research-based design solutions to practical problems and/or innovative proposals for new materials, spatial uses, building types and methodologies, or means of communication—which relate to this year’s theme of Water.
Q: What kind of proposal are you looking for? Can you give me an example?
A: Your proposal can take many forms whether it’s a system for recycling gray water from the shower or the cooling aspect of a water feature in an urban setting. It might take to heart the gravitational flow downwards of water in architecture or consider evaporation as a process in wastewater treatment. Whether it’s indoors, outdoors, or more conceptual, your idea could be a physical object, mechanical process, distribution plan, communication strategy, or anything else you can think of. For examples of past winners, check out the sections of metropolismag.com on previous years competitions.
Q: The application asks, “What makes it a winning proposal?” What do you mean?
A: We would like you to explain why your idea is important or necessary. How will it improve life and better the world? How is your smart idea also good design?
Q: What do you consider “good design” in the 21st Century?
A: Today, good design incorporates systems thinking, sustainability, accessibility, materials exploration, technology, and historical relevance. It is responsible to the Earth and living creatures. It can thrive in a global marketplace while supporting local economies. It is economically viable. It is innovative in technology and materials. It is beautiful.
Q: What does it mean that the theme of this year’s competition is “Water”?
A: Beginning in 2007 each annual competition has its own theme of a pressing global concern. You can use this theme as a point of departure to help distill your idea or as the main component. For the 2008 competition we chose water because of its strong social, political, technological, and environmental relevance today. Water can enter your process from many different angles. Your project might specifically address our society’s need for water and propose a new method of procuring it or storing it; or you might be thinking of a design that considers the end of consumption. The whole spectrum is at your disposal in thinking about objects, rooms, buildings, places that use or conserve water.
Q: My project has previously been published. Can I still enter it?
A: Yes, but you must include its publication history in the supplementary information requested on the application.
Q: I am not sure if my idea qualifies. How can I find out?
A: In general, if your idea is original, incorporates principles of good design, and considers water, it qualifies. Submissions vary from ideas that are just starting off on paper to projects with prototypes and marketing plans—we are delighted to consider this entire range. If you are still unsure, email a brief explanation of your idea to NextGen08@metropolismag.com and we will let you know.
The Business Plan
Q: Why do I have to submit a business plan?
A: The $10,000 prize money is meant to help you implement your idea. Since the practical purpose of your idea is an important component of this competition we want you to think seriously about where your idea is going. Creating a business plan is not always an easy task, but it helps us understand your goals and helps you find investors down the line.
Q: How detailed should the business plan be? What are the judges looking for?
A: The business plan should be as detailed as possible without exceeding 500 words. We recommend explaining how you plan to use the $10,000. The business plan should show the judges that you have thoroughly researched your idea and are prepared to execute it. If you have never considered writing a business plan before, the internet or your local bookstore will be full of helpful advice. Consider what role your project will play, who your customers are, how you will reach them, and where you will find your financial resources. The judges understand that most submitted ideas are works-in-progress. Please be honest about where you are in the process and how you will use the prize money to take it to the next level.
Q: Do I have to invest money in my idea?
A: We encourage you to do so.
Q: What will I need to submit?
A: The application process consists of 6 components. Your contact information including the names of your collaborators when applicable, a series of essay questions asking you to explain your proposal, supplemental information (if you feel the essay questions are not sufficient), images to back up your essays, a preview window and payment.
Q: In the past I mailed a package to Metropolis with the application and supporting materials. Can I submit my idea using that same process this year?
A: No, beginning last year the submission process is entirely electronic. If you are a winner or chosen as a runner up you will be required to sign a hard copy of your application at that time.
Q: How many proposals can I enter in the competition?
A: Up to three submissions will be accepted from an individual or team of collaborators. A separate application and entry fee is required for each project submitted.
Q: How do I submit my project?
A: Click on the application link at www.metropolismag.com/nextgen. You will be asked to create a login that will allow you to return to the application as many times as you need to before submitting.
Projects must be submitted electronically via the online submission form at www.metropolismag.com/nextgen. Metropolis will not accept mailed materials. By clicking the submit button applications are finalized and cannot be altered at a later time.
The online application allows applicants to upload supporting materials. If an attached file is corrupt Metropolis will contact the applicant for a replacement file. In this case replacement files must be received no later than January 18, 2008 at 11:59 p.m.
Q: Is there a fee for entering?
A: Yes, the fee for entering is $75 per project. The entry fees are necessary to offset the cost of running the competition. We do not make a profit from them. All entries must be submitted by January 4, 2008 at 11:59 p.m. Residents of the following states by law are not required to pay an entry fee: MD, ND, and VT.
Q: What credit cards does Metropolis accept?
A: We accept MasterCard, VISA, AMEX, and Discover.
Q: My idea is in the form of a written three page paper rather than a physical product. Can I submit the paper instead of the requested images?
A: The ability to submit supplemental information is available, but we strongly prefer that you summarize your project in the allotted space and provide visuals to illustrate it. And remember, this is a design competition.
Q: How do I submit supporting documents on the application?
A: There is a section of the application where you will be able to upload supporting documents in PDF format.
Q: What if I do not have the capability to create PDF files?
A: If you are unable to provide PDF files you may submit DOC files. We strongly prefer that materials are submitted in PDF format as this ensures that your formatting remains intact and the documents appear as you intend them to look.
Q: How many images can I submit and how big should they be?
A: You can submit up to ten (10) JPG images to support your submission, such as photographs or renderings. These images will be considered on-screen by the judges and should not exceed 1000 pixels in width or 600 pixels in height. These are the maximum dimensions; it is ok for your images to be smaller. A space for captions will be available when you submit them. If you win or are selected as a runner up you will need to provide high resolution publication quality images.
Q: When I submit my images does it matter what resolution they are?
A: No, as long as they are the correct pixel dimensions.
Q: If I win, am a runner up, or am otherwise selected for publication do I need to submit additional images?
A: Yes, you will be required to submit high resolution publication quality images. This is generally defined as being 300 dpi at 10” x 12”. You will also be asked to provide image credits (i.e. who took the photo or drew the rendering).
Q: How do I resize my images to be no larger than 1000 pixels wide and 600 pixels high?
A: The process for resizing your images varies depending on what program you are using.
For Adobe PhotoShop click, image -> image size, from the toolbar menu. Check the boxes for Resample Image and Constrain Proportions if they are not already checked. Be sure that you are resizing for pixels (rather than inches or centimeters etc.) in the pull down menu. Enter in the desired pixels dimensions and click ok.
For Adobe PhotoShop Elements click, image -> resize -> image size from the toolbar menu. Check the boxes for Resample Image and Constrain Proportions if they are not already checked. Again, make sure you are working with pixels in the pull down menu.
If you do not have PhotoShop or another imaging software, there is a handy freeware program called IrfanView which you can download from www.irfanview.com. To resize with this program click Resize/Resample from the toolbar menu. Check the box for Preserve aspect ratio if it is not already checked. Make sure pixels is checked for units, and type in the new dimensions.
Important: Please do not rescale your images to be larger as this degrades the quality of your image. It is better that your images are small than that they are fuzzy.
Q: What if I have a movie or an audio file?
A: You can submit audio and movie files in the image submission section. Files should be saved as a QuickTime MOV file. Movies should not exceed 320 pixels wide x 240 pixels high. No file should exceed 10MB.
Q: Who is eligible?
A: The Next Generation Design Competition is open to any designer or architect in practice for ten years or less, as well as design students. The $10,000 prize is intended to support designers whose entries reflect considerations of sustainability, distribution and manufacturing systems, economy, current technologies and materials, function, and provocative form and can speak to any one of the 6 sub-disciplines supported by the magazine—architecture, urban planning, landscape design, interior design, product design,and graphic design. Remember that beauty is an important aspect of good design. Employees of Sponsors are not eligible. All entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules.
Q: My project is collaborative, are we eligible?
A: Yes. Collaborations between individuals, firms, or disciplines often fosters big ideas.
Q: Are students eligible to enter?
A: Yes, we encourage students to enter, both as individuals and as part of a group working on a project.
Q: I’ve been out of school for more than ten years, but I’ve never worked as an interior designer until recently. Do I qualify?
A: Yes, as long as you have been working in the field of design for less than 10 years.
Q: I do not live in the United States, am I eligible to enter this competition?
A: Yes, international submissions are welcome.
Q: I’ve read through the guidelines but I’m still not sure if I qualify.
A: Email email@example.com explaining why you think you do or do not qualify. Our publisher will make the final determination.
Q: Where can I see information on past winners?
A: Our website is chock full of Next Generation coverage. You can also consult back issues of Metropolis for in-depth articles on winners and runners up.
By submitting an entry, whether as a proposal or a working design, the entrant warrants that it is his/her original work.
Winning & Copyrights
Q: What are the judging criteria?
A: Evidence of systems thinking, sustainable methods and materials, universal accessibility, excellence of aesthetic expression, technological innovation, historical relevance, economic potential of your idea, viable business plan, and water solutions.
A panel of judges, representing a broad range of design disciplines, will choose the winner and up to fifteen (15) runners up during the month of February 2008. The winner and runners up will be notified by telephone. Judges’ decisions are final.
Q: When will you announce the winner, and how will the winner be notified?
A: The winner will be featured in the May 2008 issue of Metropolis and on metropolismag.com. The runners up will also be announced in the May 2008 issue, and stories about select projects will be featured in the Next Generation section of Metropolis magazine thereafter and posted on the Web site.
Q: Are there any consolation prizes?
A: There is only one cash prize, but the runners up will get plenty of clips from print and online coverage in Metropolis and metropolismag.com to help generate buzz for their projects.
Q: Will any portion of the application be made public?
A: Yes, the names, ideas, and images of the winner, runners up, and sometimes other projects of interest will be published in print in Metropolis and online at metropolismag.com. In general we will contact you prior to publishing your work, but we are not required to do so. By submitting the application you are agreeing that Metropolis can publish your materials. We will always give you full credit.
Q: What about copyrights? Should I be concerned that someone will steal my idea?
A: We believe that promising young designers have many great ideas. Sometimes you have to throw your idea out there and see what comes back. And of course, there are risks associated with doing this. We encourage you to take the risk. If you are very concerned, we suggest you do some research on copyrights, patents, and trademarks and get acquainted with copyright laws before submitting your application.
Q: The competition’s guidelines state that Metropolis will have full rights to use the work as they see fit without any prior approval from the designer. Does this mean that Metropolis assumes the right of ownership to the submitted design or product idea?
A: No, it does not mean that Metropolis assumes the right of ownership to the idea. It means that you are granting us physical and electronic rights to the images submitted. We have the right to publish them freely, and without notifying you or further obtaining your permission.
Q: What are my obligation as a winner or a runner-up?
A: Obligations of the winner and runners-up are listed on the official rules.
Q: Where can I read the official rules of the contest?
A: The official rules are available here.
Q: Can I still enter if I do not have a credit card?
A: Yes, contact NextGen08@metropolismag.com to make special arrangements.
Q: My question was not addressed in the FAQ, who can I contact?
A: Eve Dilworth; firstname.lastname@example.org.