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It's that time of year, people: Everyone from How and Print magazines to the AIGA and Society of Illustrators are sending out their "Call For Entries" emails and promotional mailers. What an exciting time to be a communication artist, right? Wrong. Instead of buzzing about putting all of my entries together, I'm recycling all the mailers and deleting the emails immediately like I always do. Why, you ask?
- I value my client's praise and their willingness to hire me over and over again above and beyond anything else. Be it a book design, an ad, a marketing tool, or an album cover – that's all I'll ever need to be happy doing what I'm doing.
- I value my money and with fees of $65 per entry, I'd rather play the state lottery for $1 and have a better chance of winning.
- I've never been a schmoozer and when it comes to competitions, it's all about who created it ("Oh, wow, their agency is fantastic – I love this!") and what the subject matter is ("Check out this Elvis Costello CD and this Vampire Weekend tour poster!"). I can't tell you how many times I've seen the worst turd of a piece appear in these "best of" annuals that I wouldn't have even shown the client – let alone submitted for competition. Good luck finding anything that strays from the political left (that isn't mocking it), underground (that isn't ironically trendy), or non-hipster (that isn't ironically non-hipster) in the winner's pile – and that's not mere coincidence.