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The UCDA Design Competition recognizes the best of the exceptional design work done to promote educational institutions (secondary, vocational, or higher education) and supports the exchange of ideas and information relating to the unique role of these designers.

The annual UCDA Design Show is displayed at the UCDA Design Conference. Awards are given out during the conference with certificates provided to each winner after the conference.

THe 2016 UCDA Design Competition is now over. mark your calendars for early 2017 for the call for entries! We look forward to seeing your best work!

Past Competition Judges
Past Competition Winners
UCDA Design Collection

Are you eligible?
Entries may be submitted by any institution, company, or individual involved in the creation or production of the work. You do not need to be a member of UCDA to enter. You do not need to be a member of UCDA to enter.

What is eligible?
Any work designed, published, or used by an educational institution is eligible (not limited to higher education). Work must have been published for the first time between June 1, 2015 and May 30, 2016.

Gather your best work.
Gather your best work and decide which categories  you would like to enter. You may enter a piece into more than one category. Main categories include:  Print, Illustration/Photography, Student (including Classroom Work/Assignments), Green, Digital, Strategy, and In-House.

Fill out Form A.

  • Complete one copy of Form A.
  • Attach a complete list of your entries.
  • Entry Form A available as a PDF.

Fill out Form B.

  • Complete one copy of Form B for EACH entry and securely tape to the BACK of each entry.
  • When submitting several pieces (as in a series) securely tape a copy of Form B to the back of EACH piece, indicating 1 of 4, 2 of 4, etc., in the space provided.
  • If a piece is entered in more than one category, you must send a separate sample and entry fee for each category.

For your print entries:

  • Please send in one physical copy of the entered piece(s).
  • Editorial spreads: please flush-mount the two-page spread to prevent damage.
  • Photograph, illustration, or student work: a high quality printout of the entry may be submitted.
  • Over-sized entries (large banner, billboards, etc.): a high quality printout of the entry may be submitted.
  • Three-dimensional work: a high quality printout of the entry may be submitted.

For your digital and video entries:

  • Please provide the URL for each entry on Entry Form B.

For mobile app entries:

  • If you are entering a mobile app, and it is freely available in the AppStore or Android Marketplace, please provide the link to where it may be downloaded, or provide a gifted app if it is not a free app.
  • If it is not available in the app store, send it on a CD or DVD, or let us know where it can be found.

For strategy entries:

  • Please include a complete package of the submission in a digital format on a CD, DVD, flash drive, or binder (may include PDFs, videos, photographs, etc.).

Photograph of entries.

  • All entries should be accompanied by a high resolution digital file. Please provide one image to represent each submission.
  • It is not necessary to provide digital files of entire publications. For example, a cover and a spread will be sufficient.
  • For categories that contain a video component: in addition to the URL(s), please provide an MP4 or .mov file for those entries.
  • Multiple entries from one institution can all be submitted on the same CD or DVD clearly labeled with your name.
  • Acceptable File Formats: 300 dpi Photoshop, TIF or JPG, approximately 10 wide x 8 tall, high resolution PDF with outlines created around the type.
  • Your photographs on a digital file are necessary to keeping entry fees down and to ensure inclusion in the UCDA Design Awards Show should your entry receive an award.

Pack and send!
Send your Entry Form A, list of entries, photograph of entries, payment information, and the entries themselves to:
UCDA Home Office
UCDA Design Competition
199 Enon Springs Road West, Suite 400
Smyrna, TN 37167

Entry deadlines:
Entries must arrive by the following dates:
Early entry deadline: April 22, 2016
Entry deadline: Friday, May 27, 2016
Enter early and avoid the last minute rush to gather, prepare and package your entries.

Who is judging your work?
We've assembled panels of judges composed of designers and design educators working in or doing a significant portion of their work for educational institutions. Your work will be peer-reviewed by others who understand the environments in which you create. UCDA Design Competition judges' biographies can been seen at

What are they looking for?
Print entries will be peer reviewed and judged for excellence in concept, design, illustration, typography, printing, and message as well as effectiveness, quality, and creativity in solving the problems inherent in institutional design. Digital entries will be peer reviewed and judged for appearance, flexibility, interactivity, message, and suitability for their intended audiences. Creativity in solving the problems of designing for digital media is primary. Work accepted for the show will receive Awards of Excellence, Silver, or Gold. Presentation of awards will be at the annual UCDA Design Conference.

What happens next?

  • Winners will be notified by July 31, 2016.
  • No hanging fees will be assessed.
  • Winners will be required to send in a duplicate copy of their winning entry.
  • Winning entries become part of the UCDA Design Collection.

What do you get if you win?

  • An attractive certificate to display proudly.
  • Higher visibility for you, your department, institution, or company.
  • A great marketing opportunity to promote your services to colleagues, clients, or the media.
  • The admiration and respect of supervisors, peers, friends, and co-workers--maybe even a bonus or raise!
  • An item of achievement for your resume.

About competition:
Kara Hooper, Competition Chair
Sandy Destiny, Competition Co-Chair

About membership:
Tadson Bussey, Executive Director
Michelle Lazar, Membership Director

Early Entry Fees (Early Entry Deadline: April 22)

  Member* Partner Member *** Non-Member**
Single Entry $45 per piece $65 per piece $75 per piece
Series Entry $55 per series $75 per series $85 per series
  Student Member *   Student Non-Member**
Single Entry $20 per piece   $30 per piece
Series Entry $30 per series   $40 per series

Entry Fees (After April 22, Entry Deadline: May 27)

  Member* Partner Member *** Non-Member**
Single Entry $65 per piece $85 per piece $95 per piece
Series Entry $75 per series $95 per series $105 per series
  Student Member *   Student Non-Member**
Single Entry $30 per piece   $40 per piece
Series Entry $40 per series   $50 per series

* Please include your membership number (found on current ID cards) on all entry forms. Current UDCA membership must be paid in full to receive the member rate. If you are uncertain about membership status, please call the UCDA Home Office at 615-459-4559 or email

** Non-members may join UCDA and be eligible for member entry fees by completing the UCDA membership section on Entry Form A. Designate new membership status on Form A.

*** Please include your partner member membership number, available from the partner organizations main office.

Rights Statement
Submission of entries to the UCDA Design Competition acknowledges the right of the University & College Designers Association to use them for exhibition, publication, and publicity for the purpose of promoting and advertising this and future competitions and/or for promoting UCDA members' work. Entrants agree to hold UCDA harmless of any claims that may be made against it by reason of such reproductions. Securing releases is the sole responsibility of the entrant. Entries become the property of the UCDA and cannot be returned. UCDA takes no responsibility for determining official authorship or ownership of websites or digital entries. The judges will review all pieces submitted to the competition, and the final number of pieces accepted into the show will be at their discretion. The judges may re-categorize entries; if so, there will be no adjustment of entry fees. Decision of the judges on entries accepted and the level of awards are final.

Entry Form A
Entry Form B