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  • Stories from the Field competition results

    December 12, 2007

    It is with much regret that we announce that we are unable to award a winner in our "Stories from the Field: The United Nations Documentary Film Festival" logo competition.

    The competition drew 1604 entries from 78 countries. DESIGN 21's international panel of nine expert judges put forward 145 entries for the film festival panel to review, but unfortunately, after much deliberation the "Stories from the Field" representatives were unable to find a winner among them.

    In the public vote, Yuko Inagaki's logo called "Beyond the boundary" received the most votes from DESIGN 21 members during the one-week voting period and wins the Most Popular prize of $500.

    The $5,000 first prize for "Stories from the Field" will be added to our next competition dedicated to the Millennium Development Goals that will be launched at the end of 2007 and will carry a prizemoney pool of $15,000.

    DESIGN 21 would like to thank all the entrants who took the effort to enter and contributed to an amazing array of responses as well as the judges who participated in this competition. You can view the finalists and all entries here.

    We will continue to introduce more competitions in the coming year, including a brand new logo/identity competition for the United Nations' Ending Child Hunger and Undernutrition Initiative to be announced in January 2008.

    Message to all our entrants from DESIGN 21's director:

    I am well aware how disappointed and perhaps angry you must feel about the result of this competition. For that, everyone here at DESIGN 21 is deeply sorry. It was the most unexpected, difficult experience for us, too.

    All we can do is to be honest. I'd like to tell you what happened, and how we came to this conclusion.

    The Stories from the Field festival is presented by Media Communications Association International, New York Chapter (MCA-I NY) in partnership with the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) and The New School. They had agreed to our judging rules and procedure.

    The day before the final selection was to take place, we were contacted by a representative of MCA-I NY who informed us that during the public vote they saw some designs that they felt strongly about and that these were not in the field of finalists who were selected by our panel of judges (whose names you can see at the bottom of the Brief). They requested that we add them.

    This was not fair in our minds. All our entrants, judges, organizers had agreed to abide by the rules, and to change them in the middle of the game was not an option. This has been the most successful competition for us so far in terms of the number of entries (1604 from 78 countries), and we were more excited than anyone we know. But we also work very hard to execute a fair, honest and ethical competition.

    Over the next 3 days, we conferred with UNESCO, our distinguished judges (who are also on our Advisory Board), and experts inside and outside the organization, trying to see if there was any other view or way to handle this situation. We of course agreed with MCA-I NY in that they should have a logo that they were really happy with. It was a matter of how we could accommodate that without bending our own rules. Unanimously, everyone agreed that their request jeopardized the whole concept of a juried selection.

    In spite of our protest, MCA-I NY announced to us that their panel of judges including UNDPI, UN Graphic Design and New School selected a design from outside the field of finalists that we had sent to them. They are free to go with the design of their choice, but we feel that to declare that person a winner is an insult to the finalists. That is why we do not have an official winner of this competition.

    We will take this experience to heart and make sure that we have a proper mechanism to avoid such a situation in the future. We are very sorry for any ill-feelings this may have caused, but please know that this does not make us any less appreciative of all your talent and effort.

    The unawarded prize money will be added to the prize pool for our next competition. We hope that you will continue to be the creative force behind our community which is united by the single goal of promoting better design for the greater good.


    Haruko Smith


    DESIGN 21 Social Design Network