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Business Models

The Design League Platform can be integrated to your institution to achieve a series of different goals within your platform in the form of organizing a design competition. We have identified 25 models as listed in this page.


No matter what the design competition is aimed for, it creates common externalities in addition to its primary aim. For example, if the design competition is organized even solely for procuring design services, it still creates brand awareness, word of mouth marketing, lets the organizer to find new talents, to create a database of participants, to advertise its products or services. These reasons explain partially why, today, many design competitions are organized and run by companies.


Design Procurement

This is the oldest aim of design competitions, where the organizer aims to collect the best design ideas for a highly possible realizable project. The most common examples being architectural design competitions by municipalities and product-design competitions by companies, in these type of competitions, many companies take part in the project by making different design solutions, and it is a relatively cheap and efficient way to collect many different ideas.


Outsourcing Innovation

In this model, the design brief is made such that there is space for innovation; designers are asked to think outside the box given a specific problem and asked to provide a solution that is unique. Outsourcing Innovation is an efficient way to utilize a design competition, as it not only costs less than a consultancy agency but also it creates many secondary impacts such as advertising, and brand building. Bayer organized a design competition for Future Living 2020 project in 2007 to collect new proposals and fresh ideas.


Crowd-sourcing Design

In this model, the design brief is more focused and a certain type of object needs to be designed through the guidelines given by the organizer, for example by utilizing existing production technology or materials. Instead of working with one design studio, the organizers ask ideas from many studios and also freelancer designers.


Corporate Design Culture Development

In this model, the competitions might be run within a company, and the primary aim is to create a competitive design environment within the company by offering incentives to the participants. This not only counts as a company event, but could also lead to innovative ideas to arise during the process. HP’s Circle Awards is an example internal design competition that provides a framework for recognition and creativity.


Talent Acquisition

For design oriented companies, and for design departments of multinational companies, this model provides a unique possibility to collect portfolios and cv of talented designers, however the final impact is even bigger, as in addition to collecting information, the applicants are also being tested real-time in a real design scenario, and the company also collects design ideas.


Participatory Product / Service Design

In this model, the participants are allowed to be non-designers, meaning the customers could also join the competition, the aim of the organizer is to see what their customers want to have, it is a type of measuring the market demand through a case study. In addition, companies will be able to collect some information and perhaps run a survey.


Product / Service Pre-Configuration

In this model, there is a product that could be configured by picking up different components or color options; there usually is a template that is provided by company or a framework such as a base model. Participants are asked to use the base model or template to generate something new and unique.


Highlighting Design and Product Quality

In this model, the organizers’ true aim is to ask participants to learn more about their product; this is usually made possible by writing a good design brief or by entry requirements for example through added materials that should be studied to make the design.


Cultural Event Generation

In this model the organizer organizes a design competition as an event in part of a festival, tradeshow etc. There are several types, firstly results of the competition are usually announced and exhibited at the event venue, secondly the competition is run, and judged within the event timeline. Design competitions are also good attractions for tourists and benefits the tourism.


Authority Gain

In this model, by organizing a design competition, the aim of the organizer is to gain respect and authority within a market, as the organizer positions itself as an industry leader that takes active part in trend generation or innovation.


Communicate Brand Identity

By organizing a design competition, the organizer could create a brief that explains their mission and vision in a clear way, furthermore in addition to the brief, there could be other entry requirements or support materials that might be used to communicate brand identity.


Fandom Support and Generation

Design oriented companies might want to ask their fan-base and crowd to take active part in a competition, to form a further connection with their fans, by interacting with the company through an event, the fan-base is supported, awarded and ideas might be collected. The Golden Demon Award, organized by Games Workshop since 1987 is given to the first comers in painting competition.


Advertise Product or Service

In this model, when the company launches a new product, a unique type of design competition could be organized such that participants are asked, not to design a product perhaps but to design the advertising; could be a video, a poster, a unique use of the product etc. The aim is to create product awareness by and through the competitions and contests.


Generate Complimentary Products

In this competition model, the organizer wants a complimentary design to be designed that is compatible with the original design; the compliment would create an added value, furthermore the main product will be advertised.


Encourage Product or Service Usage

In this model, the organizer asks a new design that is using the existing design, product or service. For example the organizer might want you to design a product with existing components, to design a service within the existing possibilities, to create using a given platform, software etc.


Collect Client or User Database

By asking everyone, especially the user-base, to join a design competition, or usually a contest in this case, the aim of the organizer is to collect demographic information that you would fill during the entry process.


Reputation Management

Design competitions can help brands to fix their repuation by repositioning them as visionaries who support design and culture, positively improving the overall brand value and reach.


Word of Mouth Marketing

When a competition is organized, if collect marketing approach is used, people tend to send notice to their friends about the happening, which creates additional impact and advertisement for the organizer and lets the organizers to reach an audience that was outside the initial scope or reach. Henkel Consumer Adhesives organizes a type of fashion competition for the duck-tape called “stuck at prom”, where thousands of people create clothes purely from duct-tapes.


Indirect Government Subsidy

In this model, governments could utilize design competitions to support and subsidize design oriented companies, usually because design creates additional value to the product and increases the exports without increasing material costs.


Sectorial Development

Alternatively, this type of competitions could be organized by government for sectorial development, focused at specific sectors; this type of competitions reinforces a given sector by providing more design possibilities, new products, innovations and inventions.


Encouraging Creativity and Innovation

In this model, an institution responsible for cultural development utilizes a design competition to create awareness for design, to improve and encourage creativity and innovation skills. Contests could be run in schools for example for early skill developments.


Creating Awareness

In this model, the organizer runs a design competition in order to relay a specific idea or to create awareness in a specific field. Instead of direct marketing and advertisement, a design competition could be used to send subliminal messages and create higher empathy to subject by involvement.


Trend Analysis

In this model, the aim of the organizer is to run a competition to determine new trends, colors, forms, shapes or styles. By limiting the accepted entries to be newly made, the organizer can see what the current trends are in a specific design field.


Collect User Insights

By asking also the customers to vote on designs submitted to a design competition, the organizer can also use a design competition for research and to better understand users, members or customer preferences. These insights could be used for marketing and development.


Collect Professional Insights

By running an in-company design competition, that only accepts entries within a department and with a professional jury that is outsourced, organizer can collect professional insights, as an alternative way to consultancy services. In such cases, usually “paired comparison design” method is used in sensory experiments.


Profit Generation

Design competitions have become a business for many entrepreneurs. In its purest form, profit is generated by the following elements: 1. Entry Fees, 2. Winners Fees, 3. Gala Night Fees, 4. Publishing or Exhibition Fees. For some organizers such as design competition businesses and profit based associations, blogs, etc, the profit generation is one of the highest priorities. In the profit generation model, the organizers are providing a service to the entrants, the offerings are: authority and prestige gains, advertisement and certification. A second profit generation model is observed by competition organization platforms that organize micro competitions for companies.