GAERF 2017 Student Design Competition


Competition Rules and Guidelines

Competition Rules

All Entries Must Be:

  • Completed during the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Original work of the student and contain no trademark or copyright material.
    • Eligible students attending recognized secondary or post-secondary institutions in the continental United States, studying in a graphic communications/printing, advertising, graphic design or interactive media program.
  • Submitted by the instructor.
  • Postmarked by the June 2, 2017 deadline.

Design Specifications:

  • The printed magazine ad should be a minimum size of 7” x 10”, and no larger than 10” x 12”.
  • The printed magazine ad must include a link to the student's digital product posting.

Entry Must Include:

  • The completed entry form – enter online.
  • An uploaded digital image of the magazine ad in .jpg or .png format; file must be less than 1 MB and may be uploaded as .zip.
  • The printed magazine ad with a copy of the completed entry form – mail in.

Competition Guidelines


Q.   What is the purpose of the competition?
A.   To design and print a magazine ad to demonstrate the essential role that print plays in today’s world of print and digital communications.

Q.   What is a “print ad”?
A.   “Print advertising uses physically printed media to reach consumers, business customers and prospects. Many brands are finding new ways to merge the digital and physical world through magazine and newspaper ads.”
~ Jami Oetting, section editor of Agency Post, HubSpot's blog

See clever examples of interactive print ads at:

Q.   How do I begin?
A.   As follows:

  • Choose your generic* product.
  • Design and print a full-page magazine ad to promote the product of your choice; the ad must include link(s) to your product on digital media (URL, QR code, etc.).  
  • Post and promote your product online.

*Generic product: A product that does not have an associated brand or trademark.

Q.   How will the winners be selected?
A.   Winners are chosen by a panel of industry judges who will evaluate the printed entries based on:

  • Captivating design (no trademark or copyright material)
  • Inclusion of link(s) to online posting
  • A compelling message
  • Printing process(es) used
  • Creativity and originality


Q.   Is a specific printing process required?
A.   Any printing process and enhancement is welcome.  Examples:

  • Digital Printing
  • Electrophotographic Printing
  • Flexography
  • Gravure (Intaglio)
  • Inkjet Printing
  • Lithography
  • Photography
  • Screen Printing
  • Thermography
  • Letterpress


Q.   Can I submit my design file as my “printed hard-copy entry”?
A.   No.

  • A design file will include bleeds, crop marks, fonts, etc.
  • Required for entry is the printed hard copy, trimmed and finished to final specs.


Q.   If the entry is judged by the printed hard-copy ad, why must I submit a digital image too?
A.   These digital images will be showcased:

  • Online (
  • In the GAERF exhibit at PRINT 17 (Sept. 10-14, 2017, McCormick Place-South, Chicago, IL)
  • In a slide presentation of all entries (throughout the duration of PRINT 17), and
  • In a sign display of the winning entries (PRINT 17 Career Awareness Day, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017)


Q.   Will entries be returned to students?
A.   No. All entries become the property of the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) and Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC).


Q.   May instructors submit more than one entry?
A.   YES! Instructors are encouraged to submit an unlimited number of entries—one entry per student.

Q.   Are team entries acceptable?
A.   No. Students must work independently to produce individual entries.

Q.   Is there a fee to enter?
A.   No.

Q.   Can a student send in their own entry?
A.   No. Student entries must be submitted by their instructor.

Q.   How is an entry submitted?
A.   Instructors:

  • Visit: to access the online entry form.
  • Complete: the online entry form.
  • Upload: a digital image of the magazine ad (.jpg or .png), file size less than 1MB.
  • Accept: the competition’s Terms and Conditions and submit entry form.
  • Mail:  the printed hard-copy magazine ad with a copy of the entry form to:

  • Student Design Competition
    c/o GAERF
    1899 Preston White Drive
    Reston, VA 20191



For more information: