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Friends of the Libraries Design Contest

The Friends of VCU Libraries’ annual Design Contest harnesses our community’s creativity to help fundraise for VCU Libraries. 

Students and recent alumni are invited to use their artistic and graphic arts skills to illustrate their “interpretation of VCU Libraries?”

The creator of the winning design receives a $500 prize. The artwork will be printed on a T-shirt that will be sold to raise funds for VCU Libraries. In addition, participating artists’ designs will be shared on social media, including Flickr, and may be gathered into an exhibit for the Cabell Screen. Submitted designs also may be featured on other VCU Libraries’ digital or printed materials. Artists whose work is used by VCU Libraries will receive a modest honorarium. Artists retain copyright to their designs. Want to see examples of past winning designs? Here are winners from 2021, 2020, and 2019.

Deadline: April 24, 2022

The design prompt: What is your interpretation of the VCU Libraries?

Judging criteria will include:

  • Creative execution
  • Interpretation of the VCU Libraries as a whole – not just Cabell Library or the Health Sciences Library
  • Showcasing and celebrating the diversity of VCU Libraries
  • Effectiveness for T-shirt design

The contest is open to all students—full- or part-time, undergraduate or graduate-level, or alumni of the last five years. Previous winners are not eligible to submit. You may submit more than one design. Feel free to also submit a mockup of how your design will look on a T shirt with suggested shirt color. The judging committee will include representatives from the Friends of the VCU Libraries Board, VCU Libraries and VCU School of the Arts.

T shirts will be sold beginning in May. The shirts will be printed and fulfilled by Bonfire

How to submit your design 

Label your file with your last name and submit to this Google folder. You may enter more than one design. If you do so label the file with last name and number of the submission. Be sure to fill out the permissions form too.

Required File Format

The design must be submitted as editable “vector” files—AI, EPS, PDFs, SVG’s or a layered and editable PSD file. 

Submitted designs that are not in the requested file types will be disqualified from the contest judging. 

Technical parameters (more information about printing available on the Bonfire site)

  • Printable area: 11" wide x 14" tall
  • Flat colors only—cannot print gradients, shading or photos
  • Three (3) color maximum
  • We print in Pantone Coated colors, if there are specific Pantone colors you want to use in your design, please include those Pantone numbers
  • The smallest font we can print is 12-point
  • The smallest line/stroke we can print is 2 pt
  • The winning image will be printed on the following tee shirt styles: premium unisex tee, women’s slim fit tee, v-neck unisex tee, premium unisex tank, pullover hoodie, and premium youth tee.
  • Designer should keep in mind that the shirts will come printed in a variety of colors (including dark heather grey, black, charcoal, midnight navy, turquoise, purple rush, red, orange, espresso, white) and design an image that will convey appropriately.

Order information: Campaign will be open for at least two months, orders fulfilled and mailed on a rolling basis.