Welcoming Back Weekly Design Prompts

MAY 9, 2016

We’re bringing our beloved Weekly Design Challenge back, but with a twist! If you live and breathe surface design, then we know that just one challenge per month isn’t enough for you. That’s why we’re now going to be giving you a new prompt each week to get your creative juices flowing. Not a fan of a certain week’s prompt? We’ll have new themes outlined throughout the end of the month so there’s always a selection to choose from. Participate in whichever ones speak to you! 

How it works: To “enter,” all you have to do is upload your design on social media with the hashtag #SFWeeklyDesign during the week of the theme you’ve chosen. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Flickr all count as social media.

Will there be voting? There will not be traditional voting happening on our site, but designs with the most likes and comments will be featured by us on our blog and social channels.

Will there be prizes? At the end of each month, participants who use the hashtag #SFWeeklyDesign will be randomly chosen to receive prizes. Prizes could range from free design books and tools, Creative Cloud subscriptions, Spoonflower credit (or credit for one of our sister brands, Sprout Patterns and Roostery) to free fabric, etc!

Do I need to upload my design to Spoonflower? The purpose of the Weekly Prompts is to keep our community inspired and challenged. To participate, it’s not required to upload your design to Spoonflower, but strongly encouraged so you can start earning commissions if it sells!

Is this related at all to the official Monthly Design Challenges? Nope! This is just a little something extra because why not?

Where do I find the weekly prompts? You’ll always be able to find the weekly prompts on our blog in the upper right corner or by going here.

How do you choose the themes? Themes are chosen by seasonality, but also by what’s trending and what’s frequently being searched for on our site. By designing around trending topics, your designs will be more likely to succeed in the Marketplace.


May’s Themes

May 9 – 15: Floral Dinosaurs 

Sometimes two things that don’t usually go together just seem to go together so well…

May 16 – 22: Migratory Birds 

Celebrate the incredible journey that migratory birds take each year! They travel thousands of miles between breeding grounds in North America, and their winter homes in Central and South America. Heading outside for a hike to admire birds in their natural habitat is not required but strongly encouraged.

May 23 – 29: Limited Color Palette Hawaiian Shirt

Because who doesn’t love a good Hawaiian shirt to welcome the official start of grilling season in the Northern Hemisphere? Please use each color in its full opacity. Black and White are permitted, but you must use at least three colors from the color palette as well.

    use hex codes: #FF68FE, #0D236B, #71FFBE, #F1F89B, #FFBD6B

 

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  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Amanda. The goal of our weekly prompts is to build community and provide inspiration. For an actual contest with voting in the traditional sense, we’ve switched to a monthly format and are very excited about the overwhelming participation we’ve seen. We recognize that change can be difficult and I’m sorry to hear you are so disappointed. Thanks again for taking the time to share your point of view.

  • I heard the weekly contests were back and was so excited…but this is not the weekly contest. I don’t see how it can be called a contest since there’s no voting and any winner is going to wind up being whatever some random staff member likes. I use to get on spoonflower almost daily and loved participating in the weekly voting, I would be so inspired and upload 5-8 designs a week. Now there’s nothing. It’s been well over a month since I bothered logging in. There’s no point since the site went stagnant. Now I’m told if I want to find inspiration and participate in the community I have to sign up for whatever social media site? No thanks. When you bring back the actual weekly contests, which honestly in the grand scheme of things was free for you to offer, maybe I’ll still be interested enough to come back.

  • Marian (Eclectic_House)

    I feel that calling the new Design Challenge a month-long format is misleading. It’s a once a month contest, yes, but the actual design time from announcement of theme/rules is far shorter. Actual designing time was 10 days this month (and I suspect it will be even less next month as the 6th is the first Monday in June). We couldn’t even use an existing design, if we had one that suited the theme. I had 3 designs I would have felt good about submitting, but they weren’t created for it, so they weren’t eligible, and 10 days wasn’t enough time for me to think of a design and create it, so I didn’t enter.
    We used to have 52 chances to compete every year, and usually had a month to think about them and choose which we had good ideas for. Now there are 12 chances and maybe 2 weeks to create for each. (I don’t call the weekly prompts with random draw for unspecified prizes a chance to *compete*-if the design’s quality has no effect on the odds you’re not competing.)
    I understand that Spoonflower wants to increase social marketing, but you certainly had enough interest in the old contests to make it worthwhile to continue them, too, perhaps 3 a month, around the weeks the ‘month-long’ contest doesn’t actually let us do anything but wait.
    There were advantages to the old contest that the new ones lack- you had increased views every Thursday and you had user *momentum*. A weekly habit is much easier to maintain than a ‘once a month, day varies’.
    I just don’t quite understand why it was an ‘either/or’ situation. Was there some benefit to eliminating the old contest that you could tell us?

  • I miss the weekly contests too. 700 people entering the monthly challenge is exciting for Spoonflower, but not for the average designer who now has even less chance of winning.
    Good luck to you all with your social media efforts, and trying to stay on the cutting edge and in the limelight. It’s not for me, but I know you need to do what’s best for the company, and maybe some of that will trickle down to the rest of us designers who aren’t excited about social media.
    Meanwhile, I still have plenty of ideas of my own to pursue for fabric designs – now all I need is a little more time!! ;o)

  • Designers (and buyers!) should be aware that the pink on the Hawaiian Shirt design prompt will print red-violet on the Kona cotton – much darker, purpler and greyer than the color onscreen. (It’s still lovely, but it’s very different!) I’m guessing the other fabrics (and wallpaper, and giftwrap) will print towards red-violet as well, but not as much as the Kona cotton.
    Also – if anyone uploads designs in the Hawaiian Shirt colors to Spoonflower, feel free to tag your design “may2016prompt’ – it’s fun to see a whole collection of designs from many designers all in the same colors!

  • Hi Rachel, thank you so much for your honest, candid feedback. We value the sentiments of our community a great deal, which is actually why we decided to bring back the weekly design challenge in this format. We’ve noticed over the years that social media platforms such as Facebook, Flickr, and Instagram have become a crucial and increasingly prominent way for designers to receive feedback on their designs, inspiration from peers, get discovered, and to create dialogue in general around design. Just take a peek at the Spoonflower Fan group on Facebook and you’ll see a great example of this. We’ve seen Spoonflower based artists grow and improve from these interactions, and we wanted to reinvent challenges in a way that 1) gives back a continual weekly inspiration to create something and challenge yourself 2) provides a platform for these designs to be easily found 3) to harness the community aspect of social media, wherein anyone can easily search a hashtag and instantly designers they’ve never heard of before will pop up, and it’s incredible easy to like/ comment/ share resulting in community, and success for designers who participate. In re-thinking the design challenges we were entirely thinking of how to best benefit our designers. You may already know that designers on Spoonflower receive a percentage of commission when their designs sell. So if these challenges on social media do result in increased social media interest for Spoonflower, this is just another benefit to our designers because it means more eyeballs on their designs, and thus more traffic to their designs and more sales for them.
    The industry of surface design has changed quite a bit since we first began doing weekly design challenges back in 2009. Social media plays a huge role now in a way it never used to. Social accounts (Instagram in particular because of the visual aspect) are now serving as portfolios for designers, and not only that, but it’s also where many shoppers go to decide what to buy. Designers are always asking us what will make their designs stand out in the marketplace, how to gain exposure and increase sales. A key part of that is social media. If social media isn’t your thing, we totally get it. Which is why are still keeping our traditional Design Challenges around, but in a month-long format that allows us to award the winners with better prizes that have a deeper impact on launching design careers. We’ve been overwhelmed with all the positive feedback our monthly Design Challenges have garnered, in fact we saw more participants in April’s challenge than any design challenge previously, even the epic Fabric8. Again, we greatly appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. We’ll certainly miss you as part of our design community.

  • Collage-style work definitely counts for these contests! However public domain images do not, since the point of the challenge is to inspire the creation of your own new design.

  • I originally joined spoonflower to participate in the weekly contests. Not that I was expecting to win, but because it was fun, and it got my art seen and liked by different people. I even got feedback based on number of votes! This is not that. I’m not looking for a way to advertise for you. Is that all the weekly contests were for spoonflower, a chance to get social media interest? It was much more than that for the community of designers. Originally I was very frustrated when you took that away, but now I realize I just need to find time to look for an art community to join.

  • Are these open to those of us that work in a public domain/collage style? Or are they still limited to 100% user created designs?

  • Hey Eclectic_House, not sure if you use Flickr, but designs uploaded there with the hashtag #SFWeeklyPrompt will also be counted as participants!

  • Eclectic_house

    *sigh* No help to me. I have no social media. So I can’t hashtag anything.
    I miss the old contests…wish they’d come back. Even if there wasn’t a prize at least people would get to see designs. I’m sure it helped Spoonflower’s site ranking too, because it added page views.

  • This is great news! Thanks for bringing back the weekly prompts. I need a deadline, and plenty of time to think about upcoming themes. Nice one ????