FAQs & Timeline
Have a question about the Competition?
See FAQs about the following:
- Entering the Competition
- General Entry Requirements
- Parent/Legal Guardian Consent Form Requirements
- Requirements for Sketches
- Requirements for Question Responses
If you have additional questions, please email us at DesignCompetition@si.edu by February 9, 2023.
Entering the competition
IS THERE AN ENTRY FEE?
No. There is no entry fee.
MAY I ENTER MORE THAN ONE PROJECT TO THE COMPETITION?
No. You may only submit one entry to the competition.
ARE STUDENTS ALLOWED TO WORK IN TEAMS?
Yes. You may submit an entry in a team with up to three members. Teams of more than three members will not be accepted. For team entries, only one team member should submit the entry.
IF I SUBMIT AN ENTRY AS PART OF A TEAM, CAN I ALSO SUBMIT AN INDIVIDUAL ENTRY?
No. Students are only allowed to enter the competition once, either as part of a team, or as an individual.
If I am submitting an entry as part of a team, does each team member need to create an account and submit our design idea?
No. Only one team member needs to create an account and submit your design. In the online submission form, there is a place to list each team members’ names and to upload signed parent/legal guardian consent forms for all team members.
Can previous winners of the competition enter again?
No. Previous winners of the Design Competition are not eligible to enter. However, previous finalists and honorable mentions are eligible.
How do I submit my entry?
All entries will be submitted online. The submission site will open on January 3, 2023. Read more about what is required and How to Enter to get started on your design! Please note that the submission site will not work if you are using Internet Explorer.
ARE HOMESCHOOLED STUDENTS ELIGIBLE TO ENTER THE COMPETITION?
Yes. Homeschooled students, residing within the 50 United States or Washington, D.C. at the time you submit an entry, who are working toward the completion of a high school degree and who have finished middle school level coursework are eligible to apply.
i am a u.s. citizen living and attending high school abroad. am i eligible to enter?
No. To be eligible to enter you must be a high school student in grades 9–12 grades, between the ages of 13–19, residing within the 50 United States or Washington, D.C. at the time you submit an entry.
are international students eligible to participate?
Yes. Any student may enter provided he or she is in high school, grades 9–12, between the ages of 13–19, residing within the 50 United States or Washington, D.C. at the time you submit an entry.
Can I enter the competition if I am attending a high school in the U.S. at the time of the submission but will move outside of the U.S. after?
Yes. You are eligible to enter if you are a high school student residing within the 50 United States or Washington, D.C. at the time you submit an entry. Please be aware that if you are selected as a finalist, only travel within the U.S. for the Mentor Weekend is included and you are required to attend. The virtual phone call/meeting with the mentor and Judging Weekend also will be scheduled based on time zones in the United States.
If I am in middle school, am I eligible to enter the competition?
No. We are excited to hear of your interest, but you must be between the ages of 13–19 and in high school (grades 9–12) at the time of entry to be eligible for the competition.
IF SELECTED AS A FINALIST IN THE COMPETITION, I already know that I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ATTEND THE FINAL JUDGING. SHOULD I STILL PARTICIPATE IF I KNOW I MIGHT MISS AN IMPORTANT STEP?
Finalist activities are required, so unfortunately, you would be disqualified if you are unable to attend. If you are entering as a team, please note that all team members must participate in all activities. For complete details, see the competition rules and conditions, which will be available on the 2023 Design Challenge page by January 3, 2023.
What internet browsers can I use to visit the submission site?
Google Chrome is the preferred browser. Please note: the submission site will not work if using Internet Explorer.
What if my design also addresses past Design competition challenges?
There are many ways to use design and data to tell a story for your community, including through previous Design Competition topics. Be sure to review all competition details and the selection criteria on 2023 Design Challenge and How to Enter.
My idea is a technology that is not a tangible object that could be drawn on a paper. Are types of computer or software applications eligible for the competition?
Yes! Technology can sometimes be difficult to show on paper, but what the technology does can still be visually represented and described through words. For the design sketch, you can consider using a combination of illustrations and words that can help show what the need is and what the technology achieves. Also take a look at previous design competitions, where you can find examples of how students expressed their ideas visually, including several apps – look under the Winners of the Competition links on the About the Competition page to see designs from previous finalists and honorable mentions.
Is there a specific type of data or topic that I should use?
No. There are many types of data and topics that can be used to tell a story for your community. Be sure to review all competition details and the selection criteria on 2023 Design Challenge and How to Enter.
Do I have to include every data point in my data visualization?
There are many ways you can visualize data — from a very precise representation showing every data point to something more abstract that still communicates the main story you are trying to share. Think about what would work best to communicate your idea with the sketch and by answering the questions. What will be understandable and most impactful to your audience? Your sketch does not have to be in a final state, but you should share enough so that your idea can be understood. Finalists will have mentorship opportunities to further develop and finalize their designs. Take a look at the competition resources, which includes a range of examples of data visualizations.
General ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
What are the requirements for submissions?
Do I need to send a copy of my high school ID when I upload my entry?
No. You do not and should not upload a copy of your high school student ID when you submit. If selected as a finalist or honorable mention, you will be asked to send a copy of your ID to confirm eligibility.
is there a standard file-naming format required for uploading the design sketch and permission form?
No. Make sure your name or identifying marks, including your school name, are not included on your sketch or file name.
Are there any limitations to what I can design?
There is no restriction to what you can design. Visit the Student & Teacher Resources for brainstorming tips on how to get started and more.
Is the competition limited to 2D design, or could I submit a 3D design idea?
No. The competition is not limited to 2D design. If you are creating a 3D design, an interactive design, a video, or something else, you will need to submit your idea in a 2D form, such as a sketch or a photograph of your design. You can also reference these additional elements in the question responses.
Parent/Legal Guardian Consent Form Requirements
Where do I find the parent/legal guardian consent form?
The form will be available to download on the How to Enter page by January 3, 2023.
I am eighteen years of age and in high school. do i still need the parent/legal guardian consent form signed?
Yes. If you are currently 18 or 19 and in high school, you are still required to have a parent/legal guardian review and sign the parent/legal guardian consent form.
How do I submit a .jpg of of my signed parent/legal guardian consent form since only one image is allowed?
You are only required to submit the second page of the Parent/Legal Guardian Consent Form. You may submit one image of the second page of the consent form that includes the signature and details. Alternately, you may submit your signed parent/legal guardian consent form as a .pdf that includes multiple page.
To whom do we send permission forms?
Parent/legal guardian consent forms are submitted as part of your entry online. Once the submission portal opens on January 3, 2023, you will see a section where you can upload a scan of your signed permission form. You will be able to save your online entry and come back to it later before submitting.
IF I AM WORKING IN A TEAM, DO I NEED TO SUBMIT A PARENT PERMISSION FORM?
Yes. If you are submitting a team entry, each member of the team must submit a signed parent/legal guardian consent form.
When filling out the parent/legal guardian consent form, I cannot enter anything in the signature field. What is the best way to submit a signature on the form?
You may type in all information directly into the parent/legal guardian consent form, except for the signature, which needs to be manually signed. Please print, sign, and upload the completed form.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS FOR SKETCHES
I created a logo for my design idea that does not identify who I am. Can I use this in my design sketch?
Yes. If you created a logo for your design that does not identify you or your school, you may use it in your design sketch.
I created a prototype of my design. Am I required to draw it in order to submit my design sketch?
No. You are not required to draw your prototype. You may submit a photograph of it as the design sketch component. Please make sure that your face is not in this photograph, as this will identify who you are, and you may be disqualified.
What materials should be used when creating my design idea?
There are no requirements for materials. Remember, you are submitting a sketch of your design (or alternate file type as described below). This sketch may feature materials, but you are not required to build a model or prototype for this stage of the competition. Your sketch can be drawn in any medium by hand or on a computer.
is there a standard file-naming format required for uploading the design sketch and permission form?
No. Make sure your name or identifying marks, such as your school name, are not included on your sketch or file name.
MY DESIGN SOLUTION CONTAINS MORE THAN ONE IMAGE. CAN I SUBMIT MORE THAN ONE FILE OR PAGE OF MY DESIGN?
No, you may only submit one file for your design sketch, and your sketch must be on one page. We suggest that your design sketch fit on an 8 1/2 by 11″ page.
is it a requirement that the sketch i submit be hand drawn?
No. It is not a requirement that the sketch you submit be drawn by hand. You can use a computer to create your sketch or take a photograph of a prototype or model of your design.
Are students allowed to use photography in their designs?
Yes. Sketches may include photography, hand-drawn images, and computer created images.
It says on the website that ‘we suggest that your design sketch fit on an 8 1/2” by 11” page.’ Are sketches allowed to be larger than this size paper?
Yes. You may work on your design sketch on a page that is larger than 8 1/2 x 11”. Please note that the file you upload of your design sketch (.jpg) must be at least 8.5 x 11 inches at 300 dpi.
I AM A STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY AND CANNOT CREATE A SKETCH OF MY IDEA. WILL YOU ACCEPT OTHER TYPES OF IDEAS?
Yes. You may submit your design as a written description (.pdf file), or as an audio description (.mp3 file) or contact DesignCompetition@si.edu by January 17, 2023 to discuss other possible modifications to enable participation. Please limit audio or written descriptions to 200 words or less.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS FOR QUESTION RESPONSES
DO I NEED TO RESPOND TO ALL THE QUESTIONS IN ADDITION TO SUBMITTING MY SKETCH?
Yes. Responses to all questions are required, but remember, there is no right or wrong answer. Responses will help the judges better understand your design.
Can I write more or less than the word counts noted in the questions?
Your responses must be equal to or less than the word counts noted. The entry form will have a word counter, and you will not be allowed to write more than the limit. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer.
How detailed and specific should my responses to the questions be?
There is no right or wrong way to answer these questions. The word count is meant to help you share your design solution in a concise way. You can be more broad or specific in your responses, depending on what you think best helps to explain your design solution.
I AM A STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY AND CANNOT SUBMIT MY RESPONSES IN WRITTEN FORM. WILL YOU ACCEPT ANOTHER TYPE OF RESPONSE?
Yes. You may submit your responses as .mp3 files. On the online submission form, please select “Audio Files” for your response submission type or contact DesignCompetition@si.edu by January 17, 2023 to discuss other possible modifications to enable participation.
Please review the schedule carefully. All finalist activities are required.
December 9, 2022: Competition launches
January 3, 2023: Online entry period begins
February 13, 2023, 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time): Entries due
April 6, 2023: Finalists and Honorable Mentions are announced online and their designs will be displayed on the Cooper Hewitt website
May 6–7, 2023: Finalists attend the in-person Mentor Weekend at the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism in Cambridge, MA (Domestic travel and accommodations provided)
June 10–11, 2023: Finalists attend the virtual Judging Weekend on Zoom, where they present their designs to the judges; Winner is selected and announced online