FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

These questions and answers will help you with many issues. Please check them out. If you still need assistance, send an email >HERE

IMPORTANT: If you are asking Spark a question, always put your Name, Design Name and Organization or School in the email. If you have an entry or submission problem, include a screen-shot of the error message.

INDEX

Questions & Issues For Spark—Click on the link below For Q&A

Entry Type Questions
Technical Problems
What To Enter
Who Can Enter
Series & Multiple Entries
International Issues
Interface, Digital & Multi-media Design
Money & Payment
Marketing
Judge & Jury
Criteria
Timing
Delivery & Pickup
Awards
Miscellaneous

Entry Type Questions
What award do you suggest we enter under?  We have tried to create a very open entry system, for every possible type of design, so we have listed a large number. Sometimes, a design may even fit more than one award type. Don’t worry about choosing the “best” one when registering. Everything is judged on its merits. Designs are judged in the context of our Criteria. There are no rigid divisions–specialty areas are listed here so a designer feels that their work is appropriate and welcome. We can have any number of winners–or none in any given area. All depends on the work, and the design sensibility of jury. That’s why we work hard to find tough, fair and collegial judges. The judges will pick the best designs. Could choose 20 Sparks in a given area and none in the next. If a nominee is mis-placed, they can move it to an area they think is better suited. The judges rule!

Technical Problems
Hi Spark! We’re having trouble creating our registration profile. We were successful at Log-In, but it won’t go any further. What gives?  We have “cookies,” that’s what gives. Your browser is probably set to block cookies, in it’s security settings. Go to the browser Options, find Security and allow all cookies. (We also suggest that you click the “clear all cookies and browsing history when I quit” button. Then turn off and restart your browser. It should work at this point.

Hello from the UK. We’re having a spot of trouble with the online entry form–how shall we proceed? Sorry– bugs happen. Call us at: +0191-4481-6106 or email: >HERE

Our Firm would rather not put an individual designer on the entry form. Can we say “Design Team” instead? Yes– no problem. Just put “Design” in for first name, and “Team” for last name on the form. You may log in and change this yourselves.

Is there a place on the entry forms requiring descriptive text of the item entered? and if so, what are the specifications and/or limitations of the text? Yes, we request a good clear 75 word description of the design and how it exemplifies some (or all!) of the criteria and/or mission statement. If you have a website, put a link to that media into the available field in your My Submissions form.. Also include 3 jpgs or screen “grabs.” App entrants must also provide a link to their program in a major, public app store.

What to Enter?

What size should the entry images be? One mb maximum. We recommend that the first photo you upload is a horizontal rectangle, because that is used in the Entry Gallery, and other shapes can distort. The second and third photos can be of any shape. JPG format only–no PNG or PDFs allowed.

I am a designer located in Canada, and I was really interested by the Spark Awards. Do you have a category for publication apps (Magazines)?  Yes– we’ve had many magazine design entries over the years–including some great ones. We welcome magazine apps, too.

Hey Spark– Where are the barcodes? Thanks! That’s old stuff now. Spark has new systems. No barcodes, yay!

Hi, Spark, do we ship our products to the Croton address?…
Do NOT ship to that address. Ever! And Spark Digital is online–no shipments needed.

Dear Spark– we would like to include a video in our submission. How should we proceed?  We love videos. Please put your video on Youtube. Include the url for this page in your entry registration form in the space provided. Our judges will see it there and include it in their review.

Is the write-up description that we supplied during the submission process available to the judges to read during the judging process? Yes—we’ll have it in the Spark website gallery and available for the judges.

I am entering in another design competition around the same time as this competition. Can I enter a product in the Spark Awards that I am also entering in another competition?  Yes, Spark welcomes your entries. The Spark criteria and premise are complementary to, not competitive with other design competitions. You should, if possible, enter both. Otherwise, let your design intuition and heart guide you!

I would like to send you also my project documentation (pdf format with about 100 pages – 34 MB ). Is it possible? No. The judges are very busy during this process and unable to deal with this level of detail. If we need further documentation, we will contact you.

I modified our entry pdf file to a .jpg for uploading. However, I would like to keep the other two images as .pdf files. Is this a problem? Yes—big problem, the system will not display pdf’s, and thus the judges can’t review them. Please convert to jpgs. A good photo editor like Photoshop will do this.

Who Can Enter?
Hello!  I want to join in the competition with my friends. Is there limit on number of members on a team?  No limits. Spark On!

I am interested in entering my graduate thesis in the spark competition, however I graduated in May 2014 so I’m not currently a student. Can I still enter at the student rate, since it was a student project? Yep–no problem! but only in Spark:Concept, since this is not a produced or built design.

Series & Multiple Entries
Can a design series or campaign be registered with one registration or are several registrations necessary? Most types of series can be submitted with one registration and the entrant will be charged a single Series/Campaign registration fee—this will be a one-time fee.

How much do we need to pay for multi-piece submission under one company’s name? Will that be considered one entry? Or do we need to pay for each one?  Each design is considered a separate entry, unless they are part of a clearly linked series or campaign, such as a line of similarly designed kitchen appliances, or an ad campaign where the theme or look is the same, but the ad sizes are different. Each one needs to be paid separately, or by special arrangement with Spark.

International Issues
We would like to know if it makes sense to apply for the Spark Digital Awards having an multimedia solution with interfaces in German? Any language is OK, but please provide an English-language translation for our judges. A written one is fine.

We’re a small company, so here is no English speaker now.  But, we want to try this award. If we could enter 2nd stage, then we will employ the person who understand English well. Before employ the person I’m in charge of English. First, we do our best! Your best is very good indeed! Thanks for your interest in Spark.

Interface, UE, UX & Digital
A short video is the best way to understand our product, so we’re wondering if it is possible to send you a cd or dvd?  Great question. We have a fine solution for all digital designs. In your My Submissions page, there’s a field for a Youtube link. Add a link to your film. Please do not upload the file to Spark or send it on a disc during Phase I. It can’t be viewed. Only use Youtube. Vimeo and the other services can NOT be used in our system. Check out our Youtube channel >HERE

Will submitted digital images be printed out, or viewed on a monitor?  Viewed on a computer monitor, large screen or mobile device.

We are submitting an animation. How do we do this with your upload setup? Great question. Upload sample images from your work as jpgs, and in the entry form section, put in a link to your work on an app store, and a link to it on Youtube, so the judges can view it there. (Please do not upload the file to Spark or send it on a disc. It can’t be viewed.)

Money & Payment Questions
How are the overall costs calculated in case I win an award? You are responsible for shipping, insurance, etc. If you become a Finalist, there is a “hanging fee” just for those entries. If you are a Finalist ore win a top award (Bronze, Silver, Gold or Spark), there is a printed gold foil certificate available at extra cost. Don’t worry–all our fees are far less than the other big competitions!

We’ve had a change in plans— is it possible to cancel our entry and get a refund?  Yes and No, of course! Yes, hurrah—refunds are available, but there is a $10 handling fee. No, sorry, not after 4 weeks prior to late deadline.

Hello, I was wondering if Is there a cash award for winning the Sparkawards? Like most of the other major competitions, designers enter Spark to get their work into the public eye. It is the main means of promoting their skillset, and getting more assignments. Movie stars don’t get cash prizes at the Oscars–they get to work in more movies.

I am a few years out of Grad School. I would like to submit my design but truly cannot afford the entry fee. Can I send $50–all I can scratch up? If I didn’t believe that you would be impressed with my design, I wouldn’t bother asking!  We definitely commiserate– but no can do. It wouldn’t fair to other designers. You might look for a local sponsor.

I am trying to submit my projects for the Spark Awards, but you do not accept American Express. How do I proceed from here? Sorry–their fees were just too expensive for young Spark. Please use Mastercard, Visa, JCB, Diners Club or Paypal. If you’re in US/Canada, send a check. Please make it out to Spark Awards and send to: 36 Lounsbury Rd, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520. You can register on line anytime and upload your pix and copy. Send us a note when finished and we’ll approve the financial side after the check has cleared. Another option is payment via Paypal. Send us a note >HERE

Marketing
When and for how long can the winner’s logo be used in our marketing communications?  If you have paid your Winners Circle Services fee (which licenses the use of the SparkMark logo), you may use the SparkMark as soon as you receive your notification of winning. The SparkMark can be utilized as long as the original design is being featured, sold, marketed or published. Please inquire for details.

When can the winning of an award be publicly announced? For a uniform release of information, we ask winners to wait until the Awards Exhibition premiere before announcing their winning of the award. However, should you have planned a special occasion, please let us know—exceptions are possible.

I would like to promote Spark to our staff (or students). Are you able to supply posters or other materials for distribution? Spark is delighted to send either bulk posters or Spark postcards (in English) for staff or students, as long as supplies last. Please send an e-mail >HERE with your address and the number of pieces that you would like.

Judge & Jury
How many works are chosen as winners in this event? There are no limits to how many are awarded in each level or category. It could be zero or many. This is entirely up to the judges.

Criteria Questions
Do our entries necessarily have to fulfill all the criteria together? No, but judges are hoping–and looking for the best. Focus on your design’s merits. Any single criteria might win.

Timing Questions
Does the submission need to be made at the time of registration? Is it possible to get information on the uploading method of submission material before the actual submission? You can register once, and then go back and enter as many submissions as you want later—up until the final deadline. You may also register, enter a placeholder design (a fake), make payment—and upload finalized work later. This could secure a lower priced fee or dated coupon rate, like the Earlybird discount, even if your work is not quite finished. However, all finalized materials must be received by the Late Deadline.

We have a Spark coupon we’d like to use. It expires soon, but our design is not quite finished. What to do? Enter and pay the fee, and apply the coupon before it expires. You can put in design samples during the process, and change them later with the final design.

Delivery & Pickup Questions
Where should Finalists ship their work? We only need physical entry materials from Spark Product; Spark Graphic and Spark Spaces entrants.

Awards Questions
May we ask where will the Award winning celebration be held? The Celebration and launch of the exhibition will be in San Francisco, at the Autodesk Design Gallery. It won’t be a typical awards show, more a happy gathering of people who believe Design Can Make A Difference, and a first chance for entrants, winners, VIP’s and Press to view the winning designs in exhibition.

I went through the homepage and was deeply impressed by the competition. What kind of media exposure, online exhibition, yearbook or other benefits do entrants get? Do you charge any fees concerning the above benefits? Good questions—in a nutshell: there is extensive media coverage of Spark, and publicity towards that end. Media outlets have included Curve Magazine and the great websites, Core 77, Yanko, Dexigner, Product Design Hub, ArchNewsNow, Bustler, Archinect, Death By Architecture and many more. We have an exhibition at the Autodesk Design Gallery in San Francisco, and traveling exhibitions this year in Asia and Europe. We also have long-term, searchable archive-galleries of entries on the website, and new for 2015, the Spark E-yearbook. Yes, of course we have to charge a fee for all of these winners benefits, but it is less than 1/4th the charge of the least expensive major European competition.

Miscellaneous Questions
I need to replace the switching adapter for Halley desk lamp.. I would greatly appreciate your assistance.  We’re a design competition. like the Oscars… we don’t do switches… sorry.

I have an idea, but am not sure how to put my idea in motion. I am regrettably not an engineer or anything of the sort, and I have no idea how to get this entry into production. Any information that you can provide me will be greatly appreciated.  We always suggest contacting a local design teacher at a nearby college. They know the ropes!

I still have questions! OK, Send Spark Your Question Via E-mail: >HERE
Or Call Spark at +1-914-481-6106.