Reflections on the competition

Here are a few judges comments about the competition overall:

On homages:

David: Saw a few things and knew it was mimicking. There’s nothing wrong with getting inspiration, but you have to then understand that and break it down. It’s almost better to break it down and really carve your own path rather than do your own version of someone else’s stuff. There were a few that were purposeful, and it was fun.

In general I think the newspapers are almost too timid. If you’re a student – that’s the time. Eventually, you’re going to work in publication, there’s going to be editors that want to tamp it down. Take your shots now, don’t wait for somebody to push you there. Do it yourself. 

On photography in designs:

Ashford: There was nothing striking about the photos.

David: Disappointed in quality of photography.

Nathan: Didn’t see stuff that treated photography as well as it could have. Didn’t see respect for power of photography. 


David: Strongest thing was team structure behind strong individual voices. It’s hard to do in a college because there’s a constant turnover – there’s a continuum and people are at various degrees of expertise. But if you have a really strong design that helps people walk through that learning stage and explain while they learn, that puts your paper on the path to greater success. I get the sense that in the ones that are more traditional there’s someone saying “hey we can’t do that we’re a newspaper… but that’s what got us in this mess.”

Ashford: there seems to be a lack of direction in a lot of these submissions, there wasn’t really a voice. 

Advice for portfolios:

David: In student designer of the year, edit your stuff. If you have 10 – put them in, but don’t do it artificially.

Nathan: There were some where they had seven great pages, but the 8th one was bad and they kept them out.  We looked at a lot like that today. I guarantee you any professional looking at that one portfolio would have said “take that out”  – you can submit portfolios for opinions

David: SND has a Tumblr and maybe we could use it to help students develop. It would be a good medium for dialogue, work and figure that out. In Kentucky, get academics, students, professionals together and find a way to set up a mechanism for this. 


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