Design Contest Invites Your Creativity

Some businesses place such a priority on branding, they are meticulous in the establishment of their visual identity, never missing an opportunity to showcase their logos or their mantras.

And then there is the Presentation Summit, the ultimate mutt in visual branding. Not only does the conference change its look every year, it rewards its patrons for contributing to the chaos. And its organizers spin the whole thing by calling it a contest…now there’s chutzpah for you!

Returning for a fifth year, the Summit’s Design-a-Template Contest opens its season with a call to all creative presentation junkies:

Design our template for us in 2011 and attend the conference for free.

The conference has received over 300 entries across the last five years, spanning all software versions and many design motifs. The contest’s legacy includes brilliant work by exceptionally talented people, as well as a bit of comic relief by those who just wanted to be part of the experience…not unlike those who audition for American Idol.

“We have had our share of pranksters” notes conference host Rick Altman, “and that has prompted us to assign the roles of Randy, Paula, and Simon to our own judges. Mostly, though, we have seen truly incredible work submitted and even feel as if we have been responsible for watching a few stars be born.”

The conference also participated in a moment of melancholy, awarding 2009 honors posthumously to three-time conference patron Jamie Gross, who succumbed to cancer just two weeks after submitting her entry. It is believed that the template she created was the last set of slides she ever worked on.

The judging panel is comprised of a select group of conference regulars, including Ric Bretschneider, former program manager for PowerPoint at Microsoft, slide:ology author Nancy Duarte, Presentation Zen author and blogger Garr Reynolds, indezine editor Geetesh Bajaj, prominent slide designer Julie Terberg, noted photographer Rikk Flohr, and several other members of Microsoft’s Most Valued Professional team of support specialsts.

“The challenge to this contest,” says Altman, “is the requirement that our slides serve as the backdrop for all of the great ideas and visuals put forth by our presenters. In order to be a contender, a design needs to wear well for eight hours a day across four days. Contest participants want to be noticed, we get that, but their designs need to succeed in staying subtle and playing a supporting role. That’s not so easy.”

Deadline for entries is Monday, May 17 and the contest is open to anyone. Visit the conference website for complete details.

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