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Open to ideas
The concept of open and closed competitions in the 1960s and 1970s.
The idea of a speculative design competition isn’t a new phenomena. It had been used in the 1960s to procure ideas for Expo’s, airlines and oil giants. As it became a more common occurrence, the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (ICOGRADA) laid out in 1970 a set of regulations to safeguard participants, secure satisfactory results and promote fairness. These competitions were described as either being open or limited/closed and were defined in the following terms:
Open: A competition which may be entered by any number of individual designers or design teams. Open competitions should preferably be restricted to particular categories of designers, e.g. students, or designers under a specified age. (Sometimes these would also be extended to none designers as well. Read: Dürer's 500th & HT).
Limited: A competition restricted to two or more individual designers or design teams selected by the promoters. Limited competitions should preferably only be initiated when the design subject is of such nature as to make it inadvisable to commission only a single designer.
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On process, ICOGRADA stipulated that ‘promoters’ (clients) define the time for the competition in a way that was relative to the complexity of the subject. And that the conditions be clearly explained, including the subject, the purpose and the specifications for each entry. Each design should be accompanied with a declaration in a sealed envelope, signed by the competitor, stating that the design was their work and that the drawings were prepared by or under the supervision of the entrant. To avoid prejudice, submitted designs should avoid any distinguishing marks that might identify the entrant.
On unsuccessful entries, each entrant had the right to refuse the publication of their work, and all their work would be returned with postage paid unless otherwise stated. ICOGRADA went on to cover aspects of payments and usage of the winning design saying that the payment of prize money would give the promoter the option to use the prize winning design for one year. The reproduction rights were subject to the payment of a fee or royalty. If the promoter wished to take a one year option on any none-winning design entered in the competition, they may do so with the fee being equal to that of the third prize.
Protecting the integrity of the design also provides an interesting insight. Here, ICOGRADA explains that promoters may not alter or amend a design in any way without written agreement of the designer, and that the designer would retain copyright. When the promoter intended to reproduce a design, the designer would be commissioned to carry out development if required. Further, if within a reasonable period after the result of the competition has been announced the designer was unable to develop the design for production or did not have the experience or facilities for this, then a consultant or design organisation may be recommended by the Jury to collaborate with the originator.
With open and closed competitions as the theme of this issue of the Logo Histories’ newsletter it is illustrated with a selection of competition submission examples drawn from the archive. Click the images to read more about each of these.
Next on Logo Histories: Japan Airlines
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