Want to win $10,000? The deadline for the Vectorworks Design Scholarship is less than a month away. As you finalize your application, get some advice on crafting the perfect project from two of the program’s judges: Michael Klaers, lighting designer and founder of California-based design firm The Small Group, and David Chadwick, editor of CAD User Magazine, a trusted news source for the AEC industry in the United Kingdom.
What aspects of a design stand out most when reviewing a scholarship entry?
Klaers: I always focus on the designer’s point of view. What does this student have to say about their project? I want to know about what they’re trying to accomplish and the problem that they’re trying to take on, which I think is almost more interesting than how they would accomplish their goal.
Chadwick: I look at two areas: the originality of the design and the technical issues that it addresses. I like to see interesting, new ideas, unusual uses of material, the exploration of new concepts — and how these are brought into play within the project.
What is the most important thing for students to highlight in the written portion of their submissions?
Klaers: I want to know how your design is going to fill a need. Too many submissions focus on budget or timeframe limitations, but no project is ever going to have as much funding as you’d like. You need to focus on refining the clarity of your design concept.
Chadwick: The source of their inspiration. The whole project should unfold like a story, for both landscape and architectural submissions, and even for stage design. Students should briefly state what they are trying to achieve, relating how different elements added to their inspiration, and then surprise the judge with the presentation of their vision.
What advice would you give to the students who are currently preparing to apply?
Klaers: Look at design as a verb, not a noun. Don’t get caught up in all the little details without focusing on what you’re actually doing with your design. Your submission could be a light plot made out of animal crackers glued to a piece of cardboard, as long as that clearly communicates your design intent.
Chadwick: Be bold! Have fun! Try out something new and surprise yourself as much as the judges. You won't get a 'fail' if you don't reach the final cut, but you will have learned something, explored some new ideas, and had some good practice at putting projects together in the best way you possibly can. Check out last year’s winners, as well. The PDF submission format gives you a lot of room — use it!
The deadline to submit your entry is August 31, 2015. You can use projects that you completed for class last semester, as well as work you completed as a group – and there is no limit on how many designs you can submit! Apply now for your shot at our $3,000 regional scholarships, plus, once you advance past this first stage of judging, you could win an additional $7,000 with the Richard Diehl Award for a grand prize of up to $10,000.