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Illustration Competition

Illustration Competition

Download Entry Form

Deadline: January 9, 2015

Entries submitted after that date require a $10 per entry late fee. No entries will be accepted after January 23, 2015.

Communication Arts Trophy

Introduce your work to the world. Enter the most prestigious illustration competition for creativity in illustration, the Communication Arts Illustration Competition. Any illustration first printed or produced from January 2014 through January 2015 is eligible. Selected by a nationally representative jury of distinguished designers, art directors and illustrators, the winning entries will be distributed worldwide in the Communication Arts Illustration Annual, in print and on the iPad, and on, assuring important exposure to the creators of this outstanding work. As a service to art directors, designers and art buyers, a comprehensive index will carry contact information of the illustrators represented.

Each winning entrant will receive a personalized Award of Excellence, milled from solid aluminum, and award certificates issued for firms, individuals and clients.

CA’s Award of Excellence is one of the most-coveted awards in the industry. If chosen, winning places you in the highest ranks of your profession. Ask any creative director which competitions rank as the most influential and they'll place Communication Arts at the top of the list.

View Previous Winners

What to Enter: Information on eligibility, categories and fees.
How to Enter: Information on preparation of entries and forms.
Illustration Competition FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions about applications and file formats.

What to Enter

Download Entry Form

Any illustration first printed or produced from January 2014 through January 2015 is eligible. Entries may originate from any country. Descriptions in English are very important to the judges. Submission of entries acknowledges the right of Communication Arts to use them for publication and exhibition.

Illustration Competition Categories/Fees:
These categories are judged by the Illustration jury and will appear in the Illustration Annual:
Advertising: (print/digital ads, posters, packaging, etc.) $40 single entry/$80 series
Books: (cover/interior, must be published) $40 single entry/$80 series
Editorial: (consumer or trade magazine, newspaper) $40 single entry/$80 series
For Sale: (poster, print, greeting card, licensing/stock, gallery sale, online store, etc.)
$40 single entry/$80 series
Institutional: (company/association publication, annual report, catalog, client website, blog, etc.)
$40 single entry/$80 series
Motion/Animation: (animation for film, television, video or web) $90 single entry/$180 series
Self-Promotion: (promotion for illustrators, creative firms, agencies, art schools, printers, paper companies, etc.) $40 single entry/$80 series
Unpublished: (commissioned but not published, personal work or experimental, etc.)
$40 single entry/$80 series

Late Fees
Entries must be registered no later than Midnight (Pacific Time Zone), January 9, 2015. Entries registered after that date require a late fee of $10 per entry. No entries may be registered after January 23, 2015.

Each illustration is a single entry. A printed piece with several illustrations must have a dot or some other mark indicating which specific single illustration is to be judged. If a single illustration isn't indicated, the entry will be disqualified.

Campaigns or series are limited to five illustrations. If the entry has more than five illustrations, indicate which five are to be judged. If this isn't indicated, the entry will be disqualified.


How to Enter

Download Entry Form

All competition entries are processed through our online entry system. Printed Call-for-Entry forms are no longer used.

Before you begin the process of entering a competition, please have the following information and materials ready. This will make the process go quickly.

  • - Your contact information for registration and notification.
  • - Title (and 100-character maximum description) of each project.
  • - Any digital files you might want to submit saved as RGB (not CMYK) JPG format (maximum 1024 pixels wide X 768 pixels high @72dpi).

Entries can be submitted in the following formats:

Unmounted printed samples: ad tear sheets, pages or spreads, brochures, annual reports, posters, books, etc. (pieces over 18" x 24" must be submitted as digital files).

Digital files: RGB (not CMYK) JPG format with a maximum width of 1024 pixels and a maximum height of 768 pixels (72dpi). Digital files will be projected for the judges.

Motion/animation entries: Submit motion/animation entries on DVD NTSC (viewable on a standard DVD player) or mpeg files on CD-ROM. Include 4 seconds of black, no slates or bars, at the start of the piece. Single entries must be on individual disks. Series should be edited together on one disk with 2 seconds of black between each entry. Computer-based formats such as QuickTime or Flash should have a maximum screen size of 1024 wide x 768 high.

Please do not send any pieces of art you want returned. NO ENTRIES WILL BE RETURNED. No exceptions. CA is not responsible for damage or loss of any entry. All entrants grant Communication Arts the right to reproduce work selected in the Communication Arts Illustration Competition on the Communication Arts website and in materials used to promote the magazine and/or future related promotions.

Preparation of Packages
Send entries, unmounted, in flat packages only, no mailing tubes (they frequently arrive damaged). Address packages to Communication Arts Illustration Competition. Non-United States contestants should mark each package "Materials for Contest Entry. No Commercial Value." No provision will be made by CA for US Customs or airport pickup. International entries should be sent by international courier. All entries must be received by the final deadline date.

Forms and Entry Fees
After choosing a form of payment you will have access to PDF reports summarizing what you entered. If you chose to pay by check, you will have an invoice available for printing. If you chose to deliver entries via mail/courier, you will also have entry forms in PDF format that you will need to print, trim and attach to your entries. Tape an entry form to the back of each entry. If the entry is a print-based campaign, you will tape an entry form to each part of the campaign. Tape an entry form to the outside of each disk case. Multiple digital files may be placed on a single disk. Please tape all applicable entry forms one on top of the other so we can flip through them to verify the contents of the disk.

Make checks payable to Communication Arts. Non-United States contestants must send an International Money Order or a check in US funds drafted from a US bank. Please include the check with your entries if you are delivering them via mail/courier. If your payment is being sent under a separate cover, please send your entries now, with a note saying that the check is coming under separate cover. If you submit all of your entries online please write the Communication Arts invoice number on the check. The invoice number can be found in the Entry Forms PDF file. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Charges for your entry fees will appear on your statement as “(Commarts)”. Credit card charges can only be done online. We do accept wire transfers, however there is a fee of $25 (US) to cover fees charged by the banks to process the transfer. Please contact our office at (650) 326-6040 (9-5 PST) for instructions.

Refund Policy
All entry submissions are final and entry fees are nonrefundable.

Mail entries to:
Communication Arts Illustration Competition
110 Constitution Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025-1107 USA
(Via United States Mail, FedEx, UPS, etc. Entrants submitting from outside the US, please use an international courier)

Notification of Acceptance
Only accepted entrants will be notified two months after the final deadline date. Complete credits and any additional material necessary for reproduction will be requested at that time. No additional fees will be required.

If you have any other questions, you can reach us by:
Phone: (650) 326-6040
Fax: (650) 326-1648


Illustration Competition FAQs

Download Entry Form

Can I get an extension on the deadline?
The deadline will be extended two weeks after the January 9, 2015 deadline date, but a late entry fee of $10 per submission is required. No entries can be registered after January 23, 2015.

Do you offer a cash prize?
We do not offer a cash prize. The winners are featured in one of our annuals distributed worldwide, in both print and iPad editions, and on, assuring important exposure to the creators of this outstanding work. Each winning entrant will also receive one personalized Award of Excellence, milled from solid aluminum, and printed award certificates for all creative contributors.

Can I submit my work via e-mail and just include a credit card number with it?
No, we do not accept entries via e-mail. All entries must be registered using our online competition system.

Will you confirm receipt of my package(s)?
The best way for you to track your package(s) is to contact your carrier. We are unable to acknowledge receipt of your package(s) until your submission(s) has/have been processed. At that time you will receive an e-mail confirming that your package(s) has/have been received, along with your assigned entry number(s). This process can take up to two weeks.

Will my entries be returned?
Because of the number of entries we receive, it is not possible for us to return any of them.

If we submit digital files, do we also need to mail a copy of our entries?
No, we only need one version of the work.

What is the best way to submit my entries, digital or print?
The method of entry you select will not impact the judges’ decision. Any entries over one cubic foot or posters larger than 18"x24" need to be submitted as digital files.

Can I enter one project into multiple separate categories?
Yes, just make sure to submit a duplicate entry for each of the categories you are entering and attach a separate entry form on each printed submission.

Can I enter my work as a series?
Yes, but all work in a series must be part of the same campaign. When works are submitted as a series they are judged together as a group. The overall strength of the series depends on each individual piece and its function within the campaign.

If my entry is accepted, what will you use for reproduction?
If your work is accepted we will request necessary reproduction materials at that time.

What do you mean by “unmounted”?
We get thousands of entries and they would get very heavy if every entry was mounted on a board. If your entry is very flimsy and you feel it must be mounted on something, please back it with lightweight paper.

The entry instructions state, “Do not send original pieces of art you want returned.”
What does that mean?

It simply means that you should not send original illustrations or artwork because they will not be returned.

I have a single brochure/poster/self-promo piece that has several illustrations on it. Why is it a series and not a single entry?
The judges of the Illustration Competition are only judging the images, not the typography, design or art direction. (Entrants who want the design or art direction of their pieces to be considered should enter them in the CA Advertising and Design Competitions.) Each illustration is a single entry. Therefore, a piece with several images must be considered a series. There is a maximum of five images in each series; if a piece is entered and there are more than five images on it, the five that are to be judged must be marked in some way.

Where do we put creative credits?
All we need is the contact information of the person submitting the work along with the name of the firm or agency entering the project. Creative credits will be requested if your work is chosen for inclusion in the Illustration Annual.

I don't know which category to put my piece in?
Choose the category that you feel best fits your submission. If we feel another category is more appropriate, we will move it; your work will not be penalized or disqualified.

We're waiting on the check from our accounting department. Can we have an extension?
Please send your entries now, with a note saying that the check is coming under separate cover. If you submit all of your entries online, please write the Communication Arts invoice number on the check. The invoice number can be found in the Entry Forms PDF file.

Do you accept work on disk?
Yes, entries can be submitted on disk. Please review the information under How to Enter for size and formatting requirements.

Can I submit multiple digital file entries on one disk?
Yes. Please name the files as instructed on the entry forms generated for you and attach all the entry forms (one for each entry) on the disk case. Please enclose each series in its own folder on the disk.

Can I put more than one single motion/animation entry on each disk?
No, each single motion/animation entry must be submitted on its own disk. Video-based series must begin with 4 seconds of black and have 2 seconds of black between each spot.

Is there a category for student work?
The Illustration Competition has an Unpublished category, which can include student work. However the work must be completely original and not utilize content owned by another copyright holder unless the entrant has been granted specific usage rights. If a student project is selected and documentation of specific usage rights cannot be supplied, the project will be disqualified. Communication Arts is not liable for any copyright infringement on the part of the entrant and will not become involved in copyright disputes.

What rights do I retain if my work is chosen?
You retain all rights to your images. If selected, you will need to grant us the right to reproduce the image or images for our online, digital and print-based publications.

How does the judging take place?
The judging process is a two-part system: screening and finals. In screening, the jurors are divided into multiple groups and each category is distributed equally amongst them. Judges are not permitted to vote on work in which they were directly involved. Each juror views the entries independently. Print entries are spread out on rows of tables and digital entries are projected on a large screen. Any juror can put a print entry into the final voting by picking it up from the table. Digital entries are selected by checking an “in” or “out” column on prepared scoring sheets. For the final round the judges are brought back together as one group. Each judge votes “in” or “out” on each entry. After the judges make their selections, their votes are tallied. A simple majority is usually required for a finalist to be selected a winner.

When will we know if our entry was chosen?
If your entry is chosen we will notify you two months after the final deadline date. Because of the number of entries we receive, we can only notify people whose work is accepted.