Student Awards judges share their advice for creating stand-out entries
Entering your work into the RGD's Student Awards might feel scary. To ease your worries, we asked a few judges from the 2022 Student Awards for tips for submitting your projects.


As judges, we want to get to know you and your unique approach,” says Alana McFarlane RGD. “Take us on your design journey with the entry through the presentation of your work.” Doing so also means thinking about your entries from the judges' point of view. “Put yourself in the shoes of a judge when reviewing the components of your entry,” adds Howard Poon RGD. “Does every element help the judge understand the project/challenge?”


All judges agree that one thing is paramount when submitting your entries for the Student Awards: communicating well.


Great design is all about clear communication,” reiterates Regan McDonell RGD. “Carefully consider what you're aiming to communicate.” Sophie Lacerte RGD continues, “You want to clearly articulate your project objective, strategy and solution, so think about the ‘what’ and the ‘so what?’ Asking ‘so what?’ will help focus your thinking and provide insight into your design process and final solution.”

You might also feel overwhelmed at what to include, or what work you should even submit. Chris Dickert RGD understands this struggle. “It's really easy to get lost in the design or data, and you can tell if this is an afterthought,” he says. “Focus on the story.” On the other hand, Chris Reyes RGD encourages you to be selective with the work you submit. “Step back, look at your project and really think about the context and composition of it. Sometimes the idea is great, but the execution can make or break it. Be meticulous.”


At the end of the day, entering the Student Awards is worth it to work through your imposter syndrome, flex your reflective skills and analyze your work.


“The practice of prepping work for a case study, a portfolio piece or an award is something you'll have to do over and over in your career, and these awards are the perfect place to practice,” notes Caitlin Wharton RGD. “As creatives, we scrutinize our work to no end. Done is better than perfect, so just hit submit.



The 2023 Student Awards are open for submissions, with an entry deadline of May 19 (just extended!). Over $17,000 is ready to be awarded to recognize outstanding student design work in categories such as typography and packaging, and there is a specific award for first year students. Every entrant also receives feedback on their work from the judges. Learn more and submit your work here.