I saw this alert for a new contest site called Voteforart.com and was intrigued by the concept of crowdsourcing designs for licensed Collegiate apparel. I wanted to know more, so I contacted Jeremy Parker and asked him a few questions. Here is what he sent back:
What is the concept behind Voteforart.com? How does the site work?
Voteforart.com is a new venture launched by the large apparel company MV Sport and will be the home for collegiate-licensed graphic design contests. Throughout the year, schools will hold contests for different themes, such as homecoming, start of the basketball season or a big event on campus. Artists from within the university and from around the world will submit designs and compete for a cash prize and a piece of school history. All submissions will be reviewed and approved by licensing and then posted on the site to be voted on by the Vote For Art community. The winning design will be printed on t-shirts and sold at the university bookstore. Vote For Art will give artists from all over the world the opportunity to break into an industry that before now has been impossible. It gives them an opportunity to get there work seen by thousands of people and make a substantial amount of money. We are not only helping artists get their work seen and paid for, but our goal is also to make college apparel a lot cooler.
How is your site similar/different than other shirt contest sites out there?
We are different then all of the shirt contest site that are currently out there because we allow artists to create licensed apparel. Additionally, the winning design for each contest is not only sold on our website but also at the University bookstore.
What inspired you to start the site and how did you get started?
In April of 2009 I was working on another business and we were selected to be a finalist at the University of Maryland Cupid’s Cup business competition run by Kevin Plank CEO of Under Armour. We did not win, but after the event I went to the University bookstore to by a magazine for my train ride home to NYC. At the bookstore I didn’t see any t-shirts that I liked. All of the designs were very simple and plain. I thought wouldn’t it be cool to create a site where college apparel could be crowdsourced and artists from all over the world could design what they would actually want to wear and fans and students of the university would be able to vote for their favorite designs. During the three hour train ride home I wrote up the >Vote For Art business plan.
What were some of the challenges with getting the site off the ground.
For Vote For art to work, I needed to partner up with a company that was already in the industry and held college licensing and had relationships with many college bookstores. After I returned from University of Maryland, I approached MV Sport, one of the largest marketers of collegiate apparel, with my idea and how I think we could revolutionize the collegiate apparel industry and create a new and exciting brand that would benefit the students of the university and artists from all over the world. Over the next 3 months, there were many meetings, business plan revisions, powerpoint presentations and in July I was given the go ahead.
I’m an artist. How do I participate and what do I need to know to be successful
It is very simple. Artists go to Voteforart.com and create an account. It takes literally 30 seconds and it doesn’t cost anything. Once you are signed up, you can submit to all of the contests that we have on our site. Currently there are 4 contests taking submissions including University of Maryland, Oregon State University and University of Wisconsin. In order to be successful, I would suggest first and foremost to read over the contest guidelines. Once you know all of the rules, download the school’s vector logos (we provide this) and create the most interesting and creative design. Once you have your design, place the design on a t-shirt template (we also provide this) and submit your work.
I’m a fan and an artist, can I do anything to get a contest at my favorite school?
Yes. Send us a message of what school you go to and we will try to set up a contest. Maybe you can help us out and be our contact at the University.
Looking into the future, what does it hold for Voteforart.com?
We are really focused on signing up more universities and creating a name for ourself in the industry. Since we launched in October 2009, we have signed up Purdue University, University of Maryland, Oregon State University, University of Wisconsin, Arizona State University, University of North Dakota and University of Kansas. We hope to be a site where artists can earn money and get huge exposure for their work. That is really our main focus right now.
Final Thoughts from PCT:
I like the concept of Voteforart. I think it’s a great opportunity to not only make money designing shirts, but to also get great crossover exposure to a huge college market. The potential alone for a shirt artist to get recognition outside the scope of the Shirt-o-Sphere makes this site worth your investigation. Check them out, and see. You might even find a team that you like.
University of North Dakota contest at Voteforart.com
Contest now open for voting:
Contests currently Accepting designs:
Read about Voteforart.com in Entrepreneur Magazine.
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