Receiving feedback was a valuable part of entering the Student Awards, says this award winner
Annika McFarlane\'s headshot and winning project
Freelance illustrator Annika McFarlane Provisional RGD won the Entro Award for Placemaking in 2022 for her project, United Strangers


Here Annika shares why she chose to enter her work and some advice for students who are interested in submitting.


How did you choose what project(s) to enter?

I typically enter any projects that I feel really good about and have a strong strategic process and rationale. The judges want to see that your work isn’t just visually pleasing but has a deeper raison d’être, so it’s important that your projects are strong in both of these areas.

How long did it take you to complete your submission?

If I had to guess, I’d say 2–4 hours, but it depends on the year! If I already had mockups and rationales completed for classes that are suitable for entering into the RGD Student Awards, then it can be a pretty quick process, but if I needed to create more mockups, collateral or rationales, it takes longer.

Why did you choose to enter your work in the RGD Student Awards?

I started entering because our faculty always encouraged us to enter—and you can’t win if you don’t enter. They were so passionate about us entering because it shows the industry that our work is at a certain level, almost like a badge of certification for quality. Lots of studios also enter their work into awards too, so it never hurts to show you’ve won some awards of your own.

All students who submit receive feedback on their work. Was it helpful for you to receive feedback from a design professional on your submission(s)?

Yes! It’s always great to get extra feedback, and I often found the professional feedback to be very encouraging and enlightening. I really appreciate them taking the time to jot down some thoughts, it means a lot to hear kind words from strangers.

Has winning this award been a positive experience for you?

Absolutely! While I know we don’t need to rely on it to feel good about our work, having positive feedback from people who aren’t my friends, teachers or classmates is a very powerful thing. It helped me feel like I was ready to be out working in the industry, and of course the prize money has been a huge help too.

Do you have any advice for other students who are interested in submitting?

Always enter as many projects as you can, and even the ones that you aren’t sure will do well. I’ve been surprised over the years to see some of the projects that I didn’t think were anything special go on to win. Awards are so subjective, and you really never know what will touch or impress a judge, so always enter, but be sure you have a strong rationale to back up your pieces. Good luck!



The 2023 Student Awards are open for submissions. Over $18,000 is ready to be awarded to recognize outstanding student design work in categories such as typography, packaging and more. Learn more and submit your work here.