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Linda Lopez

New York, NY, United States

President

Member since July 18, 2007

  • The Stories logo competition: A winner by any other name…

    Communication, Communication Design

    New York, NY – If you have been following the progress of the online competition, sponsored by Design 21 Social Design Network to find a logo for the Stories from the Field film festival, you no doubt know that we were expecting to declare a winner on December 11, 2007. We regret that no such winner can be declared.

    We know there will be confusion and disappointment about this outcome, which was announced last night by Design 21, and we want everyone – our community and the hundreds of designers who participated in the competition – to know what happened, and to understand why, although we made a final choice, we cannot declare a winner.

    By the competition deadline of November 27 – an extended deadline of 24 hours, by the way, because the Design 21 servers had been overwhelmed by the rush of entries on November 26 – over 1,600 designs had been submitted, the largest showing ever for any Design 21 competition. They and we were ecstatic.

    On November 28, the Design 21 panel began to screen for a field of finalists, which they would hand off to the festival judges to choose a winner. They and we had agreed not to be limited by a number; however many designs proved worthy of consideration was the number we would review.

    While the Design 21 team did their work, the producers of the festival looked through all 1,600 plus designs – several times, in fact – becoming familiar with many and truly impressed with several. We had no doubt those several would end up on the Design 21 list; they were too good not to.

    As marketing and visual communications professionals ourselves, as well as business owners, we know that a logo must be more than a pretty face. It must be as legible on an envelope as on a billboard, not lose meaning in black and white, not infringe on another organization’s copyright (or seem to), be applicable across all media, as well as meet other criteria both practical and aesthetic.

    When we received the Design 21 finalists, we were dismayed to find that only two of our thirteen contenders had made the list, but that many who did not meet the aforementioned criteria had. We asked the Design 21 jury to consider expanding the field with our choices, and we explained why.

    While they considered our request, we kept our appointment to judge the finalists – and we included our thirteen among them. It was a daylong process. We carefully considered every finalist, discussed the relative merits of each, and in the end, unanimously chose one – a Design 21 contestant that had not made the list of finalists.

    Now what? We hoped the Design 21 jury would agree with us that excellence trumps ceremony, and the best design should win. As judges ourselves, albeit of film, we know that judging is not easy – and certainly not a perfect science. Sometimes winners get overlooked.

    The Design 21 judges felt, as they have stated, that to admit our choices would have been to change the rules, which they could not do midstream. We would have to pick from among their choices or forfeit the declaration of a winner.

    We accepted their decision, but decided to stay true to what we believe is the best design for our festival.

    The design we chose personifies what Stories from the Field is about, and does so in a way that is both instantly recognizable and totally fresh. It is bold, eloquent, transcultural, and refreshingly simple. On the practical level, it can be applied across all media, in any size or color, and in several interesting configurations. The more we looked at it, the more we loved it.

    Some have chosen to interpret our actions as breaking the rules, disrespecting the judges, or not playing fair. We see it as being responsible. We have an important international event to run, one that we conceived and built from scratch. We care about it deeply and want the best for it.

    We don’t even know if the designer we chose will be interested in working with us, considering that there will be no prize money or recognition from Design 21. But we hope so.

  • So, the logo you have chosen will infact be used for the festival, should the designer in question be interested?

  • I'm sorry, but this is a complete and total crock o' shyte. You have completely discredited yourself as an organization in my mind. It's not that I mind that my work wasn't "chosen" as a finalist, in fact I wouldn't expect much looking at the previous selections from judging. And in fact I know how bad film festival logos are, aside from Tribeca and a few others who have invested in their identities. But for you to say that out of 1605 entries a decision could not be made was irrelevant. If anything you needed less judges. Judging by committee is the worst thing ever and everyone with half a sense of business knows it does not work.

    As a graphic designer, my opinion about design competitions is that they are evil things. They are for people who don't want to pay for design services and so they offer a "competition" instead of hiring a couple firms whose work they like and asking for sketches. And in my mind film festivals are the worst offenders of this. I entered another film competition for GenArt last year (begrudgingly) and of course they chose some drop-shadowed, contrived, photoshop deluxe solution, but I am proud of the entry that I produced and have received great feedback about it from some of the best studios in New York.

    So what am I getting at?

    1) Stop offering these "competitions" if a panel of designers by committee can't make a decision.

    2) Don't cover it up with a blanketed response on your site with some semi-apologetic response. At least email all of the people who wasted their time with a blanketed response.

    3) Don't expect much from future entries, anyone with any self-respect as a graphic designer will no longer be entering your competitions.

    To all of the other "competitors" I know you probably invested just as much time as I did. Though our entries may seem simple, I know that I spent about 20 hours on my entry through the sketching/ideation process, final selection of type, and then the completed version. Given my rate this equates to about $1000 in lost time. So I suggest maybe you take a look at what you did, value your time opposed to what you are getting back, and reevaluate the competition route. And maybe write an angry rant like I have to let them know how you feel. I do have to commend quite a few designers and design firms who really presented strong solutions that I admired. At least it's some portfolio filler for you since nothing else is to be gathered from this experience.

    Cheerio, I am deleting your site from my list of places I visit as of today. Better design? Where is it?

  • I myself took part in this competition. I can safely say I gave it my best shot.I didnt keep track of the hours, but i was in it to win it! Close to 3 weeks I must have spent. As surely did many others as well.

    What amazes me however, as someone else mentioned in this blog was that a winner could not be found agreeably out of this amount of submissions (1604). Thats simply silly. In the end, i'd say there was easily 20-30 pro logos to choose from. Quality stuff. Some absolutely awful stuff too i'm sorry. Some couldn't even get the SFTF title spelt correctly but anyhow.

    I am wondering exactly what kind of judges we had, and exactly what kind of standard they had set. Several of the finalist selection was very poor and I was shocked to see that they had made it that far.So this does make one wonder, who the heck was really judging this thing?All that would have been needed was a couple judges with a good visual eye.Your going no where with a committee.

    I could probably go on about this all day. What I will lastly say is that the least that could have been done here was to have paid the winner his or her surely deserved $5000. Never heard of such a thing before.

    I think the right thing to have done would have been for Design 21 to award the prize money to *their chosen *number 1, which whom THEY selected despite the logo not being used.Thats how its usually done fairly in public competitions worldwide. Word gets around too fast these days in the design circles and im' afraid there's going to be a lot less people competing for the 15,000 pot next round, I surely don't want to waste more of my time here either.


  • Yes, it will be used for the festival.

    Linda

  • If you really respect the non-finalist designer's work, than it would be only right that the organization who benefits from this mark, to compensate the designer.

    If Design21 can't ethically award this designer with the $5000 award, at least the beneficiaries should provide some financial compensation. It's unfair to use this designer's mark without any compensation besides some publicity - even if the designer agrees that would be satisfactory. That, would indeed be unethical and taking advantage of the designer.

    I'd like to know if the designer will get paid, at least in the traditional sense of getting 'hired'.

  • As an entrant with an interest in the cause and a general curiosity, I am wondering if we will ever see the 13 selections that MCAI preferred over the Design 21 chosen group of finalists.

    Even though no prize is being offered, I am sure I'm not alone in wondering who was deemed worthy by the organization. I personally did notice that some of the better works were excluded from the Design 21 finalists, but at least the horrid scum was sloughed off the top.

  • First of all, It is not my intention to discuss the quality of the work of any contestants. In 1604 entries there would definitely be million-dollar-worth logos and others of aspiring quality. My intention is to express my view on the whole situation around the outcome of the contest.

    This whole situation was horrendously handle. Apparently being in the public relations field does not necessarily means being able to handle delicate PR situations.

    Let me dissect Linda Lopez's arguments:

    1. "As marketing and visual communications professionals ourselves..." So you are... what about the pre-selection jury, are they not professional? According to the outcome brought by MCAINY-UNDPI they are not AS professional since their opinions (all 146 of them!) were discarded in favour of MCAINY-UNDPI opinion.

    2. "...being poor doesn't stop us from wanting the best". And definitely does not stop you from completely dis-considerate the work of Design 21 Pre-Selection Panel and of the 1604 designers/teams - including the 802 design team, because they did enter the contest agreeing to the rules that you, the Final-Round jury, decided to ditch. If you thought that the MCAINY-UNDPI opinion was under-represented in the pre-selection panel it was YOUR responsibility to negotiate that. That lack of foresight does not denote that much professionalism.

    (click the title to read the whole post)

    1. "Now what? We hoped the Design 21 jury would agree with us that excellence trumps ceremony, and the best design should win." Apparently excellence trumps ceremony AND scruples. You "hoped"? you based the decision to accept the Design 21 rules of contest on hope?! Again... that does not sound very professional to me.

    2. "We see it as being responsible." Responsible to "your festival" ("your"?!), maybe, but definitely not to the reputation of Design 21 and it's contests. After all it is a Design21 contest, it is Design21's money. And apparently being a UN-sanctioned festival/organization doesn't necessarily mean being more democratic and egalitarian: the opinion of 5 (FIVE) panelist - all from the same organizations - valued more than the opinion of 9 (NINE) panelist from all-over the world, with diversity of backgrounds and different. I agree that judging never is democratic but since in this situation rules were being broken I would expect a UN-related institution to respects the will of majority.

    3. "We accepted their decision, but decided to stay true to what we believe is the best design for our festival." (again "our festival") To end this long dissertation: MCAINY-UNDPI apparently decided to put the festival (they organize) ABOVE the core foundation values upon which the festival is built and supposedly helps to disseminate. It is a shame to see that the festival became "their" festival (as stated so many times along Linda Lopez post) and apparently that is probably the cause of all this mess.

    4. keywords to define MCAINY-UNDPI attitude: arrogance, unscrupulous, unprofessional, short-sighted, immature, etc...

    PS. In my opinion the only failure in Design21's part is the lack of foresight in expecting childish, arrogant and un-scrupled behaviour from the part of the institution that was being sponsored (MCAINY-UNDPI). Just because Design21 is sponsoring doesn't mean that the money should be used as the sponsored see fit. Unfortunately I don't see any mechanism to prevent future parasitical behaviour like this.

    PPS. I tried to make 8 points in honour of the 8 The Millennium Development Goals but... you know what? after all this poorly handle mess and lack of ethic and moral values demonstrated by the MCAINY-UNDPI attitude I feel less compelled to care about any UN-related Goals and initiatives.

    PPPS. Good work to all 1604 entries contestants! Congrats to Yuko Inagaki for winning the most popular prize.

    -- .mario


  • I would address this post to 3 parties: The winning team 802, D21 and the jury panel. Addressing MCAI would be highly futile at this time as it seems to me they have long parted this whole competition to form another little one of their own, parasiting on D21 for organization and exposure and actually getting away with it totally gratuitously, not one cent peering out of their pockets. Cynically, the big round of applause really goes to them and a documentary film should be made about how they contrived this masquerade of a competition. It should be screened at the next Stories from the Field festival and a special prize for sabotaging achievement should be awarded to MCAI just as their representatives huddle excitedly on stage and one takes the microphone to repeat an eye watering heartrending soundbite: “But being poor doesn't stop us from wanting the best!”

    Now on to the noteworthy…

    I want to congratulate the winning Swedish team 802 for being picked, sadly by MCAI, but who cares. Whichever aspect of their design is criticized, I expect in the euphoria of the win, their response will be: “bite me!” Thus one can’t refrain from laying down his point of view from a constructive perspective, hoping to be taken as a mere fellow designer’s opinion, to be instantly discarded at 802’s discretion. A lot was said about the design not cleaving to the clear criteria set in the competition brief which is undoubtedly true, but let’s set that aside for we all know it is a designer’s right, if not astuteness, to bend any rule in order to offer a client a fresh new, clever and unexpected insight on representing a business. But when freshness is lacking, the quotation mark being confusingly used all over the place for so many different businesses, we are bound to look for other advantages in the design. Instant-concept-communication maybe? Take that design out on the street, even with the title “SFTF” plunked into it, and find me one person who would recognize in it hints of film, documentary, humanitarian issues…But then again, when “marketing and visual communications professionals ourselves” speak of “totally fresh” and ”instantly recognizable”, then we ought to redefine the meaning of professionalism.

    All that is behind now and I hail a loud and sincere “Congratulations” to the proclaimed winners and with all modesty advise them to re-adjust their proposal to fit the concept. You got the account now, you are happy, so you might as well be ethically correct and propose more pungent versions. Based on your website, you have all the talent needed to do that. Hearty Congratulations again, even if you got insidiously lured into working for free. The “we are poor” soundbite echoes disturbingly in my head…

    Wheeling to D21…

    In the aftermath of this terrible mess of a competition, one thing still baffles me…It’s the dreadful silence of D21 about the posted comments of all disgruntled participants…It seems they have retracted themselves to the viewer’s chair, all warm and cozy, a flavored popcorn filled bowl in their lap, reveling at the clamorous joust between the participants and MCAI. It feels like they want us to bite at them in their place, while they take a comfortable and politically correct stand towards their irreverent clients…They deliberately leave MCAI to post an insulting “Now that things have quieted down a bit and we have had a chance to post the first-place design” without any firm reply…It’s like “Now that all the nonsense barking is behind our backs” while we, the bevy of dogs in question, are still enraged as hell…D21, you ought to have taken a dignifying stand for the participants who entrusted you with their time and creativity. The least you could do forthwith is pick a D21 winner of your own and hand him the cash…What’s more precious to you? A transient client or a block of 1600 solid members willing to champion your next competition? Your decision emphatically comes at a high price…

    And finally, last but not least, our respected jury panel…

    Your apathetic reticence on this blog is bare of scruple. You have been invited to judge a competition and ended up being called masters of “not a perfect science”…You got a piece of the tart in your face too, the creamy part I suppose. But we know judges, they latch onto the politically correct too, for if they trespass it they risk never being invited on high profile panels anymore and that’s exactly where they get a kick at: the glamour of being named jury member. In all earnest, the only positive action you can take to keep a straight face is using your networks to bring some media attention to this catastrophe so impertinently called by MCAI and I quote: “not a perfect contest”.

    Fellow duped designers, let the curtain fall on this morose theatre piece for we all have better shows to watch…as for Design21, the ball is decidedly in your court…

  • I would address this post to 3 parties: The winning team 802, D21 and the jury panel. Addressing MCAI would be highly futile at this time as it seems to me they have long parted this whole competition to form another little one of their own, parasiting on D21 for organization and exposure and actually getting away with it totally gratuitously, not one cent peering out of their pockets. Cynically, the big round of applause really goes to them and a documentary film should be made about how they contrived this masquerade of a competition. It should be screened at the next Stories from the Field festival and a special prize for sabotaging achievement should be awarded to MCAI just as their representatives huddle excitedly on stage and one takes the microphone to repeat an eye watering heartrending soundbite: “But being poor doesn't stop us from wanting the best!”

    Now on to the noteworthy…

    I want to congratulate the winning Swedish team 802 for being picked, sadly by MCAI, but who cares. Whichever aspect of their design is criticized, I expect in the euphoria of the win, their response will be: “bite me!” Thus one can’t refrain from laying down his point of view from a constructive perspective, hoping to be taken as a mere fellow designer’s opinion, to be instantly discarded at 802’s discretion. A lot was said about the design not cleaving to the clear criteria set in the competition brief which is undoubtedly true, but let’s set that aside for we all know it is a designer’s right, if not astuteness, to bend any rule in order to offer a client a fresh new, clever and unexpected insight on representing a business. But when freshness is lacking, the quotation mark being confusingly used all over the place for so many different businesses, we are bound to look for other advantages in the design. Instant-concept-communication maybe? Take that design out on the street, even with the title “SFTF” plunked into it, and find me one person who would recognize in it hints of film, documentary, humanitarian issues…But then again, when “marketing and visual communications professionals ourselves” speak of “totally fresh” and ”instantly recognizable”, then we ought to redefine the meaning of professionalism.

    All that is behind now and I hail a loud and sincere “Congratulations” to the proclaimed winners and with all modesty advise them to re-adjust their proposal to fit the concept. You got the account now, you are happy, so you might as well be ethically correct and propose more pungent versions. Based on your website, you have all the talent needed to do that. Hearty Congratulations again, even if you got insidiously lured into working for free. The “we are poor” soundbite echoes disturbingly in my head…

    Wheeling to D21…

    In the aftermath of this terrible mess of a competition, one thing still baffles me…It’s the dreadful silence of D21 about the posted comments of all disgruntled participants…It seems they have retracted themselves to the viewer’s chair, all warm and cozy, a flavored popcorn filled bowl in their lap, reveling at the clamorous joust between the participants and MCAI. It feels like they want us to bite at them in their place, while they take a comfortable and politically correct stand towards their irreverent clients…They deliberately leave MCAI to post an insulting “Now that things have quieted down a bit and we have had a chance to post the first-place design” without any firm reply…It’s like “Now that all the nonsense barking is behind our backs” while we, the bevy of dogs in question, are still enraged as hell…D21, you ought to have taken a dignifying stand for the participants who entrusted you with their time and creativity. The least you could do forthwith is pick a D21 winner of your own and hand him the cash…What’s more precious to you? A transient client or a block of 1600 solid members willing to champion your next competition? Your decision emphatically comes at a high price…

    And finally, last but not least, our respected jury panel…

    Your apathetic reticence on this blog is bare of scruple. You have been invited to judge a competition and ended up being called masters of “not a perfect science”…You got a piece of the tart in your face too, the creamy part I suppose. But we know judges, they latch onto the politically correct too, for if they trespass it they risk never being invited on high profile panels anymore and that’s exactly where they get a kick at: the glamour of being named jury member. In all earnest, the only positive action you can take to keep a straight face is using your networks to bring some media attention to this catastrophe so impertinently called by MCAI and I quote: “not a perfect contest”.

    Fellow duped designers, let the curtain fall on this morose theatre piece for we all have better shows to watch…as for Design21, the ball is decidedly in your court…

  • Hey everyone,

    Please find in the link below an update letter from Mr.Haruko Smith Director of Design21 about the Stories from the Field contest disentanglement... http://www.design21sdn.com/share/1240

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Media Communications Association International, New York Chapter

Contact Linda Lopez
MCAI New York

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design