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The Smashing Coffee Mug Photo Contest: Join In!

Update (26.10.2011): The winners are announced. Thank you for participation and join in next time!

Update (24.10.2011): The best entries and the PDF poster will be presented on Wednesday, 26th of October. Please stay tuned!

Update (17.10.2011): We don’t accept any submissions any longer. The photos are being processed.

Here’s a task for you! Have a look at your desk, take a shot of your beloved coffee mug, send us the photo, and see if you’re added to the huge poster that we’ll be creating from the best images that we get from all over the world. We’ll prepare an exclusive version in PDF and print a limited-edition poster (20 copies). If your photo is chosen, your name will be printed on the poster, too. In addition, selected photos will be published in an upcoming Smashing Magazine post. Those with the most creative and original submissions will be awarded with one of the exclusive printed wall posters. We won’t be selling it, of course — but you already knew that.

Submission Guidelines Link

  • The photo must be in JPG format, at a maximum size of 4000 × 3000 pixels. The file size should not exceed 8 MB.
  • Each participant may send one photo at most.
  • Each photo should show only one mug — not two, three or a dozen.
  • Name your photo with your full name (john-peterson.jpg).
  • Please do not send ZIP, RAR or another archive. Just the plain image.
  • You must own the copyright of the photo you are submitting.
  • Submit your photo to the email address by 15th of October 2011.

Please note that the coffee mugs must be mugs and not cups! This is important for building a coherent, gripping mosaic. The mugs can be empty or filled, even steaming! Feel free to use any camera you prefer: a toy cam, mobile phone, SLR, point-and-shoot — whatever you have on hand. How many mugs can fit on the poster? We don’t know yet, because it will depend on the quality and originality of the photo you submit!

Some Coffee Mug Inspiration Link

Need some coffee-mug inspiration? Why not browse through Flickr and Google Images:

Image credit: Terry Johnston

Image credit: Adrian Sampson

Image credit: Ginny

Image credit: Terry Johnston

Image credit: Brendan C.

Image credit: Nina Matthews

Deadline and Announcement Link

Please submit your photo by October 15th at the latest. The qualifying submissions and the winners will be announced a week later. We will showcase the most interesting photos here on Smashing Magazine (and on the big poster, of course), including the names of the contributors.

Please note: your photo will be used only for this event, and you will retain the full rights to it.

Let’s Go! Link

On your marks. Ready? Set? Go! Send your photo to! We look forward to your photos, folks!

 —  The Smashing Team

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  1. 1


    so… what are you looking for? The inspirations don’t look as if the pictures were taken plain from a desk. Do you want rough, shaky, grungy or plain, planned, precise? :)



    • 2

      Hi Jens,

      Basically we are looking for everything that you can come up with. It doesn’t matter if the photo is rough, shaky, grungy, planned or precise — it’s important that you can actually see a coffee mug on it :-) That’s all what matters! :)

      • 3

        @Friedman hi~

        i just sent a picture for the contest but later on i did some work with picture and now it looks better ! can i resend it again so that the earlier one would be replaced ??

  2. 4

    so inspiration can come not just from what’s inside the cup but the cup itself?

    sometimes it’s hard for me to think outside the coffee.

  3. 5

    Can the mug be an illustration?

  4. 9

    Oliver Twardowski

    October 5, 2011 5:41 am

    Just sent out my email!

    Great idea. Would love to be part of it. :D

  5. 10

    This is great contest, I don’t really have a favorite coffee cup, but I will come up with some cool photo to send and participate..

    Smashing Magazine you should sell “Smashing Magazine Coffee Cups” that would be cool, I would buy one :)

  6. 11

    You say only 1 cup. So can there be, 1 cup, and lots of broken cups? Technically, a cup isnt a cup if it doesnt look like a cup or stand like a cup.

  7. 13

    Does the mug have to actually be sitting on a table? Is that something we can get creative with? Someone holding the cup? The cup possibly in another location besides our desk or kitchen table? Just thought I would ask since I know the “as long as the mug is visible” statement was made.


    • 14

      Yes, please feel free to get creative with the photo :-) It doesn’t have to be placed on the table. It could be on a tree, too!

  8. 15

    Just sent my photo in!

  9. 16

    Sweet! Count me in :)

  10. 17

    a cup’s a cup’s a cup – seems pretty straight forward – let’s not get too giddy here!

    Very cool idea, now if I could only free my mouse hand to take a picture of my mug hand…

  11. 18

    Hi, pretty cool !

    Does it include composting? I mean, is it possible to photoshop it or not?

    • 19

      Please try to avoid using Photoshop and read our submission guidelines carefully :-)

      • 20

        Iris, so you don’t want any post-process work done on the photo? If so, I need to resubmit my entry.

      • 21


        • 22

          Um, “noted” didn’t really answer my question. I need to know if you want raw images or can we do some post-processing (levels, sharpening, etc)? Thanks.

          • 23

            You don’t get how replies work, do you? Julien replied to Iris (who answered his question)… he didn’t reply to you.

      • 24

        Hi Iris,

        Just wondering if I can use Illustrator to decorate my mum with vector illustrations? Is that ok?

  12. 25

    Ohh I like, makes me remember a Vawncast inspiration I had the other day, I nearly balled. The mugs look just too attractive.

  13. 26

    What if your mug was hand thrown (made in ceramics class) and is a unique shape unlike one you can buy in a store or the ones pictured here. Could that be used or are you only interested in uniformly shaped mugs?

  14. 28

    great contest… :)

    i have the same question above mentioned by ” Julien Maury”..

  15. 29

    Cool, got to participate! And one more thing…I don’t have any further questions.

  16. 30

    Angga Bangun Subur

    October 6, 2011 4:44 am

    Yeayy.. I’m in!

  17. 31

    how about a Lens-Mug with a lens?
    would that work!?
    or I will have to take a photo of my mug by itself.

  18. 32

    Just sent in my submission as well. Can’t wait to see the results! Great contest btw.

  19. 33

    Is it ok if my mug has a company logo on it?
    Won’t you reject the photo considering it as an ad?

    • 34

      Christ on a stick… just send a picture of your mug. Unless your mug has pictures of children having sex on it you’re not going to jail if it’s rejected.

  20. 35

    cool !
    just sent my photo

  21. 36

    Gee, stop asking pointless questions and send the darn photos!

    I’ve sent mine yesterday. Definitely not looking to be on the poster, but one should make you laugh, after all.

  22. 38

    Nice Posting!!!

  23. 39

    I’m gonna decorate my coffe cup with 2 girls.

    What do you think, a good idea?

  24. 40

    What a fantastic merge of 2 of my favorite things… coffee and photography!

  25. 41

    Q. How many designers does it take to submit a picture of a coffee mug?
    A. One hundred. Ninety-nine to question the submission guidelines and one to submit the actual picture at the last minute.

  26. 42

    oh man. I’m IN!! Time to win!! Fo sho.

  27. 43

    Can I decorate my mug with floral vector illustrations as well? Just asking so that I don’t have to re-submit my entry if I cannot use them… =)

  28. 44

    whats the definition of a mug. Does it got to have an ear? :)

  29. 45

    hey, are then any limitations on post processing of the image?

  30. 46

    This is an interesting contest… Was fun spending the lazy Sunday afternoon shooting coffee mug ;-) Thanks Guys… Have mailed my entry…


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