SPOTS! The 2009 Competition Begins...

SPOTS! The 2009 Competition Begins... "Spot" illustrations may be small in size, but they play an enormous role in the world of publication design. Measuring no more than 5 x 6 inches, a spot much catch readers' eyes, draw them into a story, and convey complex ideas--often while competing with other visual elements on the page.

The Society of Publication Designers is the only organization to honor these hard-working little gems with its annual SPOTS Competition. Chaired this year by Matthew Lenning, Design Director at Bon Appétit, and Don Morris, Principal at Don Morris Design, SPOTS will be judged by a panel of leading publication art directors and commercial illustrators, with the winning entries will be featured in a special, self-contained book and sent to SPD members and winning illustrators for FREE, as well as featured in the PUB 44 Design Annual, and archived in a special gallery on this very site, linking to the winning illustrator's websites.

Read on for all the details, the call for entries, and links to past winners...

*Big thanks to Yuko Shimizu for the illustration on the Call for Entries, above!

So let's get down to business about how you should enter, so that your little gems can meet the spotlight:

Download the pdf of the Call for Entries here for all the info below as well as the entry & payment forms.

J. R. Arebalo, Jr. // Design Director, American Way

Juliette Borda
// Illustrator

David Curcurito // Design Director, Esquire

John Genzo // Art Director, Bloomberg Markets

Michael Lawton // Design Director, Popular Mechanics

Grace Lee // Art Director, Condé Nast Portfolio

Christopher Silas Neal // Illustrator

Siung Tjia // Design Director, ESPN The Magazine

Any editorial spot appearing in a periodical [print or online] or annual report with a publication date of 2008 (if it isn't 2008, we won't take it... we know it's already April, and that gorgeous spot you did last October that ran in a Jan '09 issue is perfect for this, but we'll have to see that next year).

A spot is defined as a published illustration--color or black & white in any medium--that is no larger than 5" x 6" or 30 square inches. Spots published in advertisements or books are not eligible.

A. Single Spot
B. Series of Spots

Spots must be submitted as a printed tearsheet, or as a color copy of the original tearsheet from the magazine. This allows the spot to be judged in the context of its editorial material. If other illustrations that should not be judged appear on the same page, cross them out.

Attach a photocopy of the entry form to the back of each tearsheet. You may enter as many spots as you wish. For the series category, staple the tearsheets together in the upper left-hand corner and attach the entry form to the back of the last tearsheet.

(We're sorry, but tearsheets cannot be returned; if necessary, please make a high-quality color copy of the tearsheet you would like to enter, and send that instead.)

$25 Single Spot
$35 Series of Spots

Enter five or more spots and get a sixth spot entry for free!
(One freebie only, though, no matter how many total spots you enter.)

Send one payment (with check or credit card information) to cover the total number of entries. Send tearsheets, entry forms, payment, and payment form to:

The Society of Publication Designers
27 Union Square West, Suite 207
New York NY 10003

NOON (we're not kidding) on Thursday, April 30, 2009

Call us at 212.223.3332 or e-mail us at


Q: Hey, I didn't get last year's book of winners! Where is it?
A: It's coming, we promise! We were hoping to have it in your hand already, but we've had to zig a little... the great news is, it's being designed by Dirk Barnett and he's making it gorgeous, so have faith! It's really coming. And if you're one of those winning illustrators from last year, check your e-mail, because we're sending you a special note about it. And truly, our plan is to have that book, and this year's book, in your hands asap. Resources! Who doesn't need more of those right now?
Q: About that deadline... I'm out of town until the 5th / on a serious deadline / having my tonsils out, etc. and I can't make it. You're going to extend it, right? When is the REAL deadline?
A: Oh, the deadline is NOON on April 30th, and it is very real. We're judging the next day, so we'll need your work in-hand on the 30th, or we will have to regretfully see your work next year.
Q: I don't have tearsheets. Can I send just the illo as a printout?
A: Sorry, but we need to see the work in its editorial context. This is a very unique competition for just that reason: it's about the problem solving as much as the brilliant work, and we need to see both in order to judge appropriately how the challenge was met. Please feel free to send a color print-out of a pdf of the tearsheet, that works just fine...

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