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Competition Rules and Regulations

Prepare to qualify! General rules and a step-by-step guide on how to compete.

You should also read the competition rules and procedures contained in the Brief. Wherever the general Rules and the Brief conflict, the Brief rules and procedures supercede the general Rules.

Who Can Enter

The DESIGN 21: Social Design Network™ competitions are open to all registered members of the Network who are at least 18 years of age as of the date of entry.

How to Enter

Choose a competition you're interested in and note the submission deadline. You can enter as many competitions as you're interested in, and if you have more than one idea for a single competition, you can also submit more than one entry. Entry is free!

Once you select Enter, you will be taken to a page where you can upload your image, video or sound files. Read the individual competition description to know if there is a particular submission format for that contest.

  • Photos must be jpeg only, resolution 72 dpi, with picture dimensions 400 x 400 pixels and a file size no greater than 1 MB (uncompressed). You can upload up to four images.
  • Videos and sound must be in the mpeg4 format with picture dimensions no larger that 480 x 320 pixels and a file size no greater than 10MB (uncompressed).

Your entry must include a project description in English with a maximum of 300 words. Jurors will be reviewing multiple entries so remember to keep your description as concise and readable as possible.

Create tags (keywords) for your entry so that it will appear in the search terms for those tag names.

If you created your entry with other individuals, list their names in the Co-Authors field.

Accept the Rules & Regulations and hit Send. Sending your entry is final – once you have hit Send you cannot retrieve your entry.

Submission Deadline

Please make sure that your entry is in working order and on time.

The submission deadline for all competitions is 11:59pm UTC on the date specified in Submission Deadline section of the Brief.

No responsibility is assumed on our part for late entries or corrupted files. Incomplete entries or entries that do not comply with the above format specifications will be automatically disqualified.

Public Voting and Judging Period

Once all submissions have been received, the judging and public voting phases for the competition will begin. Check the individual competition briefs for the dates.

Judging Process and Criteria

In all our competitions, the more aware your choices are, the better: everything from materials to execution to long-term impact is part of what we think makes good design.

A distinguished panel of design and media professionals and field experts from around the world will judge the competitions. First, they will each nominate a select number of favorites to go on to a final round of judging. Then, from the finalist pool, they will review and score all finalists against the following judging criteria:

  • Overall effectiveness: How well does the solution provide an answer to the design problem?
  • Creativity: How innovative or inventive is the thinking behind the design?
  • Practicality: How successfully can the design be produced or put into practice?
  • Aesthetics: How strong is the design in terms of overall form and presentation?
  • Ecology: How well does the design respond to environmental concerns through considerations such as choice of materials, production techniques, life-span, recycle or re-use factors?

The degree of importance for each judging criteria is at the discretion of the jury depending on the nature and scope of the competition. There may also be additional, more specific judging criteria relating to each competition – check individual competition briefs for details.

Public Vote

While jurors are selecting their favorites in the initial phase of judging, all members of DESIGN 21 will have the opportunity to vote for their own favorites during a public voting period. During this phase, entries will appear randomly to ensure that all entries have equal chance of being viewed. You can vote for as many entries as you like, but you can only vote once for each entry. The entry with the most votes will be awarded Most Popular and will move on to the final round of judging. There is no obligation on the jury to award the Most Popular the 1st, 2nd or 3rd prize unless they deem that entry worthy of the additional prize. All results will remain confidential until the conclusion of the judging period.

Prizes and Benefits

Except where stated otherwise in the competition Brief, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Most Popular prize winners will share a total prize money pool of $10,000. The distribution of prize money may vary across competitions – check the competition's brief for the details. Jurors may also award a placement to more than one entry, in which case the prize money will be divided equally between the recipients.

Prize winners will also receive a special version of the Allumonde Ring and a certificate from UNESCO.

DESIGN 21 may select a number of finalists to receive the DESIGN 21 Award of Excellence. The number of recipients of this award is at the sole discretion of DESIGN 21 and may vary across competitions.

As we develop our network to include corporate and government members, there will also be exposure to organizations that may be interested in implementing or adopting winning designs.

All prize money is subject to 30% U.S. federal tax withholding. Prizes are not transferable or redeemable for cash unless otherwise stated in the prize description.

Display of Results

Entries will not be displayed until after the entry submission deadline when the public voting phase begins. Once judging is complete and all results have been determined, all entries will be displayed in the competition Gallery. Check the individual competition briefs for the announcement dates for each competition.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes, the Most Popular prize, and recipients of the DESIGN 21 Award of Excellence will be revealed in the Winners section of the gallery along with all remaining finalists.

All entries will be attributed to the entrant's username. Any names that were listed in the Co-Authors field of an entry will be listed in the detail view of the entry. The full names of the winners and their location will be published in the jury comments.

Notification of Winners

All prize winners and award recipients will be contacted by email at the conclusion of the competition.

Publication & Copyright

All entries will appear on the website for voting, judging and promotional purposes. DESIGN 21: Social Design Network™ assumes all entries are original and are the works and/or property of the entrant with all rights granted therein. DESIGN 21 is not liable for any copyright infringement on the part of the entrant. Winners will be notified and may be asked to provide high-resolution scaleable vector graphics version of their submission. Winners will not be asked to provide a prototype.

Legal Information

General and Winners' Releases

Submission of an entry grants DESIGN 21: Social Design Network™ and its agents and assigns the right to record, copy, publish, exhibit and distribute all submitted materials in any and all media, without limitation and without any compensation to the entrant.

By entering competition, entrant represents that s/he has all necessary rights, including but not limited to any model release and/or written permission to include photos, and hereby grants the DESIGN 21: Social Design Network™, and its affiliated companies and divisions, publication and use rights of the submitted materials.

By participating in this competition, all entrants release and hold harmless the DESIGN 21: Social Design Network, their parent company, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents and advertising and promotional agencies from any and all liability or any injuries, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this competition or the use of any benefit received.

Entrants agree to abide by and be bound by these official rules and the decisions of the judges, which are final on all matters relating to this competition.

If declared a winner, the winner must certify that the winning entry was original, created and written solely by entrant, and no other person or entity holds rights to the entry and its components.

At the discretion of DESIGN 21: Social Design Network, an interview via email or telephone may be conducted with winners. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use each winner's legal name, hometown or province, photographic and artistic likeness, voice, biographical data and competition submission for purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity without additional compensation, on the DESIGN 21: Social Design Network™ website, affiliated publications and promotional materials.

General Notice

DESIGN 21: Social Design Network is not responsible for problems uploading or downloading any competition-related information from the web site or for any other technical malfunctions of electronic equipment, computer on-line systems, servers, or providers, or networks. DESIGN 21: Social Design Network is not responsible for computer hardware or software failures, phone lines, failure of any electronic entry to be received by the DESIGN 21: Social Design Network on account of technical problems, traffic, congestion on the internet or the web site, or any other technical problems related to web site entries including telecommunication miscommunication or failure, and failed, lost, delayed, incomplete, garbled or misdirected communications which may limit an entrant's ability to participate in this competition. DESIGN 21: Social Design Network reserves the right to modify, suspend or terminate the Competition in the event it becomes infected by a computer virus or is otherwise technically impaired, and to cancel or suspend the Competition in its entirety should tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or other causes beyond its control corrupt the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper play of the Competition.

Entries to be submitted should not infringe upon the rights of any third party, must not contain profanity or obscene nudity, nor exploit or offend any persons or groups on the basis of sex, race, origin, religion, or culture. Entries should not violate any intellectual property, including, but not limited to patents, trademarks, and copyrights. The DESIGN 21: Social Design Network reserves the right to disqualify and remove any entries that are offensive, or any posting that is not related to the competition or is considered abusive. The DESIGN 21: Social Design Network reserves the right to terminate the membership of a user who violates these rules.

In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of the person, the entry will be deemed to be submitted by the name of the person appearing on the entry. The DESIGN 21: Social Design Network reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Competition or website; violates the official rules; or acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Competition may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, the DESIGN 21: Social Design Network reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. The DESIGN 21: Social Design Networks' failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.


The DESIGN 21: Social Design Network™ is affiliated with Felissimo Group and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). Employees of Felissimo Group and UNESCO are not eligible to compete.

About Competitions

The DESIGN 21 series challenges designers of all disciplines to find solutions to social and global issues. It’s guided by UNESCO’s premise that education, science, technology, culture and communication are tools to spread knowledge and information, build awareness and foster dialogue.

More About Competitions