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Q.S. for Design Competition Designers' Rights

Home > Theory > Assigning Quality Score > Rights
This article explores the designers' rights weight on the quality score for a design competition.

Assigning a Quality Score for Design Competitions - The Designer Rights

Abstract: Designer's rights to designs and publications, especially to designs is one of the core components of a design competition and a good design competition would respect to designers by respecting to their rights to designs and publications.

First of all, to calculate a raw quality score for the design rights section, we have check the terms and agreements to read the lines to learn these information such as what happens to designs' rights, how are the publications are made, who owns publishing rights to these designs etc. During this process, we refer to the public competition announcements; flyers, call for submission papers, press releases,  and the competition website to extract required information about the designers' rights. If we cannot find this information with aforementioned methods, we send the competition organizers an email to ask them.  We use the designers' rights score sheet to calculate the raw store.

Designers' rights score is calculated with the following criteria: Ownership of design rights, publishing opt-ins and outs, publishing rights, return of physical submissions.

Please note that for raw designers' rights score, we do not consider designers' obligations, awards and others here as they are discussed in other sections.

Collected Information: Terms and Agreements - Designers' Rights

Designers' Rights Sheet:

  1. Designers' Rights to Designs
    1. All Submitted Designs Become the Property of Organizer, Score//
      This is the least desirable option, and such competitions in most cases should be avoided.
    2. Organizer Keeps All The Rights to Winning Designs, Score++1
      Even though this is the second least desirable option, if the organizers clearly state this, we award them with a substential score for sharing this information with us, as there is still an award compensation.
    3. Designer Agrees to Sell the Design to Organizers if the Designer Wins, Score++15
      This is also not desired, but as there is level of compensation plus the award, that we should account for, and it is way more desireable than just transferring rights to the organizer.
    4. Designer Agrees to Sell Any Submitted Designs to Organizers, Score++5
      This is less desired than selling only winning designs as there is not an award compensation, but it is much better than just transfering all the design rights.
    5. Designer Keeps All The Rights, Score++65
      It is absolutely important that the designer keeps right to her own creations, and a competition shows the highest respect when the designer keeps all the rights to their own creations.
  2. Publishing Rights, Options
    1. Publishing Opt-Ins
      1. Participants Can Choose not to Take Part in Publications, Score++10,
        This is the most respectful option for designers, participants can choose not to take part in publications.
      2. Participants Have to Participate in all Publishings, Score++5
        Even though, it might seem as not desirable, it is the current best practice and rational to have all entries published, and if the organizer clearly states this information we can award them with a little score asjustment.
      3. Participant Have to Participate in all Publishings and Media Campaigns, Score//
        If participants are made to agree to participate in all publishings such as annuals etc plus any media campaigns such as ads, etc, this creates an unnecessary burden and not desirable.
    2. Publishing Rights
      Different from Opt-ins, the rights refer to re-use of material.
      1. Organizer is Given Rights to Publish All Designs, Score //
        This is not respectful for designers, why does the organizer would like to publish non-winners? (except from mentions etc), If the designs are worth publishing, they should have been awarded at the first place.
      2. Organizer is Given Rights to Publish Winning Designs, Score++5
        This is the industry best practice, organizers are usally given rights to publish winning designs.
      3. Organizer is Given Rights to Publish Winning Designs, but Designers Can Opt-Out, Score++15
        This is much more sensetive than just publishing all the winner designs, designers are given an option not to participate.
      4. Organizer is not Given Rights to Publish Winning Designs, Designers can Opt-in, Score++15
        In this case, even if you are a winner, you might ask your design not to be published, this might be due to client-concerns or others, however this is not a great added value as it might lead obscurity and is not more preferred than the standard opt-out.
  3. Rights to Physical Submissions, and Returns
    1. Physical Submissions become the Property of the Organizer, Score//
      This is a legal way to steal or "get free objects and designs", beware if some competitions do not return your submissions, and most of all, if you cannot take them even if you wanted to.
    2. Physical submissions can be picked up by the designer, but will not be sent automatically by the organizer, Score++1
      At least in this case, you have an option to be able to retrieve your designs and projects.
    3. Physical submissions are sent back to participants after the competition. Score ++10
      This is the most desired option, and it trully respects the designers participating in the event. If there is not a physical submission, this option should be chosen, as all other options create a cost or burden for the designer.

Maximum Possible Score (100) is reached by a design competition that respects the participants rights to designs and publishings by; returning all physical submissions, by giving an option to opt-out to participants from publishings, and by not overtaking copy-rights of designs for future publishings.

  1. Designers' Rights to Designs
    1. Designer Keeps All The Rights, Score++55 (Max. Score +65)
  2. Publishing Rights, Options
    1. Publishing Opt-Ins
      1. Participants Can Choose not to Take Part in Publications, Score++10 (Max. Score +10)
    2. Publishing Rights
      1. Organizer is Given Rights to Publish Winning Designs, but Designers Can Opt-Out, Score++15 (Max. Score +15)
  3. Rights to Physical Submissions, and Returns
    1. Physical submissions are sent back to participants after the competition. Score ++10 (Max. Score+20)

Short Notes: Please note that ++ means to increase by one (1), and -- means to decrease by one (1), so score ++ means, score will increase by one (1). Score ++n means to increase score by n (n) points; Score ++3 means to increase score 3 points. Score // means does not affect score.

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