FAQs & Timeline

Have a question about the Competition?

See FAQs about the following:

The open period for questions has ended. All answers to questions are posted on this page.

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 3 members. Teams of more than 3 members will not be accepted.

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 for 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.

How do I submit my entry?

All entries will be submitted online. Click here to create an account, work on, and submit your entry. 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 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 9th through 12th grades, between the ages of 13-19, residing within the 50 United States or Washington,DC 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, DC 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 in the U.S. at the time of entry. Please be aware that if you are selected as a finalist, only travel within the U.S. is included, and you are required to attend the Mentor Day and final judging. If you are selected as the winner, trips also only include travel within the U.S. and are optional.

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 13 and 19 years old and in high school (grades 9-12) at the time of entry to be eligible for the competition.

If I work at my local Target store and am not involved in planning the competition, can I enter the competition?

Yes, you are eligible to enter the competition!

IF SELECTED AS A FINALIST IN THE COMPETITION, 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. Please note that domestic travel and accommodations for each finalist and his or her parent or legal guardian will be provided. See the competition rules and conditions for complete details.

If I were to become a finalist, would it possible to bring a younger sibling along with the one parent/legal guardian?

Your parent/legal guardian may bring your sibling with notice, but travel and accommodations for anyone other than finalists and one parent/legal guardian is not provided. Additionally, other than the winner announcement on June 3, events are for finalists only, and a sibling would not be able to participate.

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.
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General ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

What are the requirements for submissions?

Visit How to Enter and the 2018 Challenge for information on submission requirements and judging criteria.

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.

is there a standard file-naming format required for uploading the design sketch and permission form?

No. Make sure your name or identifying marks are not included on your sketch or file name.

What types of disabilities may my design idea address?

Your design idea may address a challenge related to any type of disability. Disabilities come in many forms. They can be physical, cognitive, or sensory, or have a combination of effects. They may be related to age, caused by an illness or injury, or be something a person is born with. Disabilities may be permanent or temporary.

What products can be designed for the competition?

There is no restriction to the type of product. Your design idea may focus on any type of object, place, or process that you use often. Visit the Student & Teacher Resources for brainstorming tips, and the Smithsonian Learning Lab for inspiration objects.

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, you will need to submit your idea in a 2D form, such as a sketch or photograph.

Can ideas for this year’s competition be unrelated to food?

Yes, this year our theme is All Access and focuses on redesigning a place, object, or process to be more accessible for all. Designs this year do not have to relate to food. Visit www.cooperhewitt.org/designcompetition to make sure you have the most up-to-date information about the competition!

I noticed that the challenge statement says to “make the everyday accessible for all”, and it also says to design a solution to a problem within a process, place, or object to make it more accessible to people with disabilities. Can my solution be aimed at helping people in general and not focused on increasing accessibility for people with disabilities?

Making the everyday accessible for all includes making it accessible for people with disabilities. We encourage you to look at a place, process, or object that you use everyday, identify a problem that makes it less accessible for people with disabilities, and design a solution for it. Often, designers solve for a specific challenge and end up helping a much larger audience. For example, the OXO Good Grips peeler was designed for people with arthritis, but it has proved to be beneficial to all. You can learn more about that process here. You can also visit the Student &Teacher Resources page to learn more about how designers are solving accessibility challenges.

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Parent/Guardian Consent Form Requirements

Where do I find the parent/legal guardian consent form?

You may download it here. You can also find it on the submission portal.

I AM eighteen years of age and in high school. do i still need the parent/guardian 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 or .png of both pages of my signed parent/legal guardian consent form since only one image is allowed?

You may submit one image of both pages side by side. Alternately, you may submit your signed parent/legal guardian consent form as a pdf that contains both pages.

To whom do we send permission forms?

Permission forms are submitted as part of your entry online. Once the submission portal opens on December 1, 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. Remember to include page 1 and 2 when you upload your signed consent form. Please note that if your team is selected as a finalist, you will need to designate one chaperone who is a parent/legal guardian of a team member to travel with you.

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.

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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.

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 are not included on your sketch or file name.

MY DESIGN SOLUTION CONTAINS MORE THAN ONE IMAGE. CAN I SUBMIT MORE THAN ONE FILE 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.

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 or .png) must be at least 8.5 x 11 inches at 96 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). Please limit audio or written descriptions to 200 words or less.
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ENTRY REQUIREMENTS FOR QUESTION RESPONSES

is there a standard file-naming format required for uploading the design sketch and permission form?

No. Make sure your name or identifying marks are not included on your sketch or file name.

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.
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timeline

Please review the schedule carefully. Only the events marked with an * are optional.

December 1, 2017: Online entry period begins.

January 17, 2018: Design Process Q&A Session on Facebook Live with designers from Target.

February 12, 2018, 11:59 p.m. (ET): Entries due.

By March 5, 2018: Stage Two Brief document released to finalists.

March 12, 2018: Finalists announced online.

April 2018: Finalists’ phone calls with mentors to further develop their designs.

May 5–6 2018: Finalists attend Mentor Weekend in Austin, TX.

June 2, 2018: Finalists arrive for Judging Weekend.

June 3, 2018: Finalists present in person to the judges in New York City; Winner is selected and announced online.

Summer 2018: Winner travels to Minneapolis to visit Target headquarters (*optional trip).

October 16, 2018: Winner travels to New York City to attend the Teen Design Fair and visit Cooper Hewitt to see his or her design featured during National Design Week (*optional trip).