Benjamin Adam, inspired and agitated by comments for the design competition, took it upon himself to see “whether or not design contests that promise to make up in prestige what they lack in paying the bills are actually worthwhile.”

First off, I think there are lots of broad generalizations on this topic. From “make one well-known logo and you’ll be rich beyond your wildest dreams” to “design contests are only one step short of Nike-like extortion” to “stop your whining, put your head down and just design”. I find the last one nothing short of absurd, really. Let’s imagine: Nazi-era Germany, you gleefully designing the latest swastika armbands because you stopped whining, put your head down and just designed. Priceless.

The one thing I eventually noticed from all of these arguments was a suspicious lack of even the slightest bit of data to back up any of the claims. So, I decided why not send out some emails to recent winners of well-known design contests and ask them point-blank: “Did you get more business from clients or respect and attention from peers after winning this contest?”

As Andy (who originally found Ben’s entry) told me this morning, the short answer to Ben’s question is: yes. Gee, who woulda thunk it? ”

As a side note to all of this, after going through all the comments left in response to ‘Win’ I find it interesting that most of those who are opposed to this contest seem to be print designers, or have deep roots in the print world. Whereas persons who like or don’t mind the idea of a contest are mostly web or interactive designers.

In my experience there has always been a large gap between the two disciplines (print vs. web) and I continue to wonder if the Hatfields and McCoys will ever get along.