Student Design Competition Q&A: Can I Change the Headline?

Student Design Competition Q&A: Can I Change the Headline?
Q.jpgAre we required to use the specific headlines you've provided in the Call for Entries? What if I wanted to change it a little? For example, in the Entertainment category, it seems weird not to have the person's name in the headline. Can I use their name instead of "him" or "her"?

As a general rule of thumb, keep all the headlines and subheads as we've specified them in the Call for Entries ... we need that to stay consistent from entry to entry to keep the focus on your design and not the words. Plus, part of the challenge is to design with what you're given, that's how it works in the real world, after all. 

In the case of this year's Entertainment category, we don't include the person's name in the story cause the headline assumes that your readers will know who this long-lost celebrity is. Plus their name will be in the subhead. 

But if you still think that's confusing, you can certainly play with the hierarchy of the headline and subhead ... and this applies to ALL our categories: The headline doesn't necessarily HAVE to be the largest element. Generally, yes, that is the best approach ... but sometimes, you can break that rule if it helps tell the story better.

Take a look at this spread from a past issue of Wired: the main headline "Driven" is actually smaller than the subhead AND below it ... but because of the way they've designed it, the flow and hierarchy makes for an impactful start:


Or how about this spread from an past issue of GQ: while the main headline "Three Weeks in Crazyville" is indeed the largest, they've designed the subhead and intro paragraphs to be just as important in the hierarchy:


Beyond that specific question, do your best to keep the headlines and subheads as we gave them to you. 

Got a question of your own? Don't forget to check out other Frequently Asked Questions and some tips and tricks on the main competition info page here. Or if you can't find an answer, email us at and we'll answer you.
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