How Young Designers Can Benefit From Competitions

Posted on



2016 juries, representatives from the packaging industry (designers, brand owners, retailers and manufacturers).

Written by Helena Schütte, she is responsible for the Social Media appearance of the International Pro Carton Young Designers Award.

Really think about it: Packaging is part of our everyday life, it surrounds us almost everywhere. It serves for warehousing purposes, product presentation, storage and use in-home, and, last not least, it provides information and communication. Packaging plays an overwhelming role for successful sales, not only in competition on supermarket shelves but also in a digital environment. According to the Touchpoint Study by Pro Carton and FFI we -as consumers- interact with packaging in-store and at home up to 44.8 times per carton. Packaging has so far been underestimated as an advertising and communication medium. Design, printing and finishing are crucial aspects. With packaging not just being a medium among many, but one of the most effective, and carton being the most sustainable packaging material, the future of packaging is bright and the demand for creative packaging solutions high. This is why we’d like to support upcoming designers right from the beginning.

A quote by that sums up perfectly why you should participate in competitions more often:
“Very few opportunities in the average student life provide such exposure and realistic outlook towards the competitive nature of real life in such a short span of time as competitions provide.” They couldn’t have said it in a more accurate way, let me elaborate a bit more with a focus on packaging design.

Winning design in category packaging design 2016: I have nuts by Isabel Laugerud Tabarini, Nancy Paulina Nieto and Fernanda Madrigal.

A student competition gives you the opportunity not only to show off and distinguish yourself from your fellow classmates. They also offer you a safe environment for exploring your skills in any direction you chose, maybe even exceeding your own academic curriculum. You’re a graphic design or architecture student interested in packaging design? No problem, show us what you’ve got!

International Pro Carton Young Designers Award juries checking the entries.

Once you’re in, you can stand out with your skills and present them to a broader audience. See how your design resonates not only with the jury, but with the audience as well: a chance for a proper feedback from professionals and peers. If you are lucky, some promoters might even set up a public voting, even boosting your professional social media profile (make sure to set-up a proper LinkedIn or Behance-account!).

As a student now you will be faced with a competing job market sooner or later, a student competition will give you an advantage in several ways. Maybe future employers will notice you through the competitions marketing activities and contact you right away. If not be patient, an award is a great addition to your resumé. Especially in packaging, there are only so many design competitions!

2016 Winning design of category creative cartonboard ideas – Off the hook by Sarah Strobl.

Associations might want to go further than just giving you a handsome sum as reward. They will do their best to connect you with future employers right away and arrange great networking opportunities, not only for the winners but also for the finalists. Or they organize trainings and internships at renowned companies to further enhance your skills while giving you an insight in the industry. This insight might then lead you to the job of your dreams!

Speaking of dreams: There are also competitions that arrange fully funded trips to great destinations for galas, award dinners or internships. Not only another great networking opportunity but also a chance to see the world!

And what happens if you don’t win? Try to see any new competition as an opportunity to challenge yourself. Focus on what new experiences you made, the time you spent learning and growing. All you did was developing the designer within you. Just enter again and get better with each try!

All finalists and winners at the award gala, held in Antibes at the Côte d’Azur in France.
Feeling motivated? How about a design competition now?

About the author
Helena Schütte is a communication’s major based in Vienna, Austria. She is responsible for the Social Media appearance of the International Pro Carton Young Designers Award, a competition directed at European students in the field of packaging exclusively made of carton and carton board. With her Pro Carton-team she aims to promote the use of carton board within the industry, starting on an educational level.