Competitions Make You Stronger
authors Janice Costa
You love your work; your clients love your work. Isn’t that all that matters? Well, yes…and no. Ensuring that your work is personally satisfying and also meets the needs of your clients will certainly help to keep you happy and keep your clients coming back for more. But there’s still something to be said for taking it to the next level.
Design competitions are one way to do just that, allowing you to showcase your work to a wider audience in the hopes of winning accolades that will help your designs gain exposure – and help you build your name and brand.
The kitchen and bath industry offers numerous opportunities to put your work to the test. From independent design competitions like KBDN’s Kitchen & Bath Design Awards to manufacturer-specific contests, product/concept design contests and more, there are plenty of options for those who want to see how their designs stack up against the competition.
Putting your work up against that of your peers and going for the gold, so to speak, can take time, energy and a bit of courage, but it can also prove an invaluable learning experience. And there are other benefits as well. Indeed, design competitions can pay off in prestige, publicity and sometimes prizes, too.
An award-winning design brings a certain cachet that can be parlayed into added professional respect, media attention, an increased social media presence, new business opportunities, speaking opportunities and even the ability to charge more for your services. After all, who doesn’t want their kitchen or bath designed by an “award-winning designer?”
Competition organizers also promote their winners to their own audience in print and online, providing additional exposure that can build your company’s name recognition factor and clientele.
But what does it take to actually win one of these competitions? What are they looking for, and why does one design edge out another? More importantly, how do you maximize your chances for success?
While most people only see photos of the winning entries, there’s a lot more that goes into creating an award-winning design than just great photos (though spectacular, well-staged professional photos certainly don’t hurt!).
This month, KBDN went behind the scenes to speak with judges of top design contests to get their input on the dos and don’ts of entering design competitions (see story, “The Judges’ Table“). Their advice from their experiences behind the judging table may be just what you need to help give your next entry that extra edge!
Of course, winning isn’t everything. In fact, just entering design contests can get your work seen and published, give you valuable input and hone your marketing skills as you learn to practice “selling” the judges on what makes your design so special.
Input from professional judges can help you to see your work in a new light, offering insights to help you continue to improve your skills. And that’s a win-win for everyone!
Editor’s Note: As KBDN was going to press, we were stunned and saddened to hear that an electrical fire had destroyed the Virginia Tech FutureHAUS (see story, “FutureHAUS Destroyed by Fire“).
Long known as a revolutionary prototype for the home of the future, FutureHAUS has been described as “a stunning preview of how digital technologies, cutting-edge products and smart building design will…make our homes more responsive to our future needs and way of living.”
FutureHAUS focused on concepts from construction and manufacturing to aging in place and accessibility using technology, and fire safety will be a high priority as the project is rebuilt, according to Joe Wheeler, professor of architecture and co-director of the Center for Design Research at Virginia Tech.
FutureHAUS was made possible due, in part, to the support of the kitchen and bath community, with many manufacturers donating product to help create this vision for the future. KBDN encourages everyone in the industry to continue to support this worthy project as it is rebuilt. ▪