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Poster Design Contest: Redesign The Web, Redesign The World!

Web design has evolved dramatically in recent years. Better browser support and innovative design techniques are changing the way we design websites. In fact, we’ve become quite versed in producing beautiful and performant user experiences. However, this doesn’t hold true for most websites out there, now does it?

How often do you stumble on slow, clunky websites? Websites where text is embedded in images and interfaces are unusable and messy — not to mention that the code is hacky and unmaintainable? Websites that are completely unusable on mobile devices and that are cumbersome to navigate?

We all deserve better than that. With this poster contest, we’d like to raise awareness of the beautiful and accessible Web:

Redesign The Web, Redesign The World

Yes, it’s about time to redesign the Web1 and, hence, to redesign the world. We can make the Web a better place. But to do that, we need your help.

Where Do We Begin? Link

As professionals, we do our best to employ the best coding and design practices. We encourage our friends, colleagues and clients to advocate the user’s interests, and we follow recent developments in the industry. However, we probably have to do a bit more if we really want to make the Web a bit more usable. We have to remind ourselves, our colleagues and our clients of the problems that their websites have, and potential solutions to these problems. We have to make it clear that websites require a minor adjustment or a major redesign.

All of the little tasks listed below would take just a couple of minutes each day, but if we use them consistently and stay persistent, our voices eventually will be heard.

Here is what each one of us can do: Link

  • Create a critique email template that you can use to notify website owners about issues with their website. Then, whenever you come across a poorly designed website, just paste the template into an email and send it to the website owner. Also, if you have a minute to spare, tweet the owner directly using the hashtag #redesigntheweb to raise awareness among your friends and colleagues.

    Subject: Your website is very difficult to use!

    Dear [–Website Owner–],

    I just stumbled on your website [–URL–] and found it very difficult to use. I wasn’t able to [– perform a certain task / find what I was looking for –], although I am confident that your website does have this information. I would love to use your website, and I am sure you’ve put a lot of time and thought into it, but unfortunately it was more frustrating than helpful. For me, a website’s information and features must be, above all, accessible and useful. It they aren’t, then the website doesn’t serve any real purpose.

    Please consider redesigning the website and improving its user experience so that I can visit it again. Otherwise, I’ll have to keep seeking alternatives.

    Thank you for your time, and I hope to stumble on your (redesigned) website in the future!

    Sincerely yours,
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Whenever you see a bug or dark UX pattern on a website, report the issues via the website’s contact form. Explain the issue and suggest solutions for solving the problem if you can.
  • Whenever you stumble upon a truly poor customer service, drop an email to the website owners explaining that you’ll seek an alternative service provider because your experience has been unacceptable. Be concrete in your criticism.
  • Upgrade the browser of your friend, colleague, coworker or relative to the latest version.
  • Propose solutions. Most owners don’t know that their website is inaccessible or slow, so help them help their users. Point them to useful templates and resources that will help them solve their problem.
  • Whenever you see a useful or clever design solution, send a short email to the owners applauding them for their effort and attention to detail.
  • If you are a designer or developer, join the Move the Web Forward campaign2 and help browser makers and open-source projects do just that. And, of course, recommend only best practices to students and newcomers to the industry.

Or you could also join this contest and create a poster to spread the message!

Join The Poster Design Contest! Link

We challenge you to design a beautiful, thought-provoking and inspiring A4/A3-sized poster and send it over to us. The poster should encourage everyone to create fast, user-friendly and accessible websites; websites that deliver value and are a pleasure to use. We will then select the most interesting designs, release them for free on Smashing Magazine, and invite everyone to republish them, print them out, post them on walls and send us photos of the posters from across the globe.

Prizes To Win Link

As always, we have valuable prizes for the best entries. The winners of the contest will be determined by Smashing Magazine’s editorial team. Here are the prizes:

  • Letterpress Prints3
    If you love letterpress posters like we do, you can select two of them from Jessica Hische’s collection or Wilkintie collection and we’ll deliver them for you. Alternatively, you can pick the ILoveTypography’s limited edition “A World Without Type” type poster.

    Letterpressed X


    I Love Typography Poster

  • 52 Aces Card Deck5
    A limited edition poker deck consisting of 52 extremely different cards, each of them individually designed by an international designer or illustrator in their distinct style.

    Card Deck6

    Card Deck

    Card Deck

  • Wacom Inkling Drawing Pen7
    This pen records your sketches as you draw. Simply transfer the files to your computer and continue working on the sketches digitally. It’s a tool that every modern designer should have.

    Wacom Inkling

  • Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones8
    According to various tests, the Bose QuietComfort 15s currently offer the best quality sound and silencing capabilities in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. If you want to focus on your work and do not get distracted by subway or cars driving nearby, that’s the headphones you probably need.

    Bose Headphones9

How Do I Join the Contest? Link

To participate in the poster contest, please follow the rules listed below. Please note that we will not consider designs that don’t meet these guidelines.

  1. Come up with an original, beautiful and unique design. It could be an illustration, collage, photographic piece, typographic design — anything! Please make sure the design looks great when printed out, both in color and black and white.
  2. The design should be well formatted for printing: in A4 and A3 sizes, and with a 5-mm print margin.
  3. The design should include a small Smashing Magazine’s logo10. You may also include your own logo. Please make sure both logos are readable yet unobtrusive.
  4. Pack up your source files, preferably in a layered PSD, AI, EPS or INDD file, in a ZIP-archive, e.g. [your-name]-[submission's-title].zip would be great.
  5. Submit your poster design by the 23rd of July 2012 to the email address submissions[.at.], with the subject line Redesign the Web Contest.

Please also give credit where credit is due. Make sure to respect the copyright of designers whose images and words you use in your design. And feel free to submit multiple entries; however, each entry should be unique and distinguishable.

In the future, we’d love to print the best designs in a series of t-shirts (only with your permission, of course), so bear this mind when designing your work. We will feature the selected posters a week after the submission deadline. Feel free to include a link to your portfolio in your submission email; we’d love to link to it in the release post!

Redesign the Web: Inspiration Link

But what might such a poster look like? Well, we asked five well-respected designers to interpret the “Redesign the Web, Redesign the World” theme with their own ideas, creativity and style. The results are striking and inspiring, and they prove once again that cultural diversity turns every task and problem into a unique experience. These are only few interpretations of the theme — there are many more out there!

Nick La11 interprets the Web as an earth-like eco-system. The Web is situated in an abstract, futuristic environment, with colors and elements that convey an almost mystical atmosphere. The interpretation has a visionary quality to it and shows a touch of Jules Verne. Have you noticed how Nick managed to have both dinosaurs and tweets in one artwork?

by Nick La13

Larissa Meek’s first poster concept is strongly geometric and bursts with color. “I wanted to capture the essence of what a more beautiful world would feel like based on the statement ‘Redesign the Web, Redesign the World,’” Larissa says. The result sure catches the eye.

Larissa Meek’s second concept shows another interesting approach, visualizing the various elements that the Web currently consists of. The poster captures techniques such as CSS and HTML, workflow elements such as storytelling and also the daily realities of the professional designer such as deadlines, coffee breaks and ideation. All elements are interconnected in a clever composition using just two main colors: red and orange.

by Larissa Meek

Simon C. Page15 is known for his abstract geometric styles. His poster design is made up of a variety of shapes and structures that are fundamental to the Web — the world being one of them.

Brazilian designer Ricardo Gimenes16’ first concept relies on Smashing Magazine’s familiar cartoon style and introduces what might be considered a <redesign> tag.

by Ricardo Gimenes18

Veerle Pieters19’ cover design for the Smashing Book 3 reflects the various elements that a redesign has to balance and the various building blocks of Web. Read more about Veerle’s ideas20 behind the design and the process. If you would like to buy a print of the poster, please visit our Smashing Shop21.

Design by Veerle Pieters22
Smashing Book #3 and #3⅓ cover designs by Veerle Pieters23

It’s Your Turn To “Redesign the World”! Link

We are excited to see what you are capable of, and we sincerely believe we can all shape the future of the Web together. The poster contest is just a humble attempt to change the way things are, and it will hopefully trigger your creativity and encourage you and others to reinterpret the Web and the world through a new lens.

Good luck, everyone! We are looking forward to receiving many beautiful entries!

Yours truly,
The Smashing Team

“Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.” — W. E. B. DuBois

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 /the-smashing-book-3-redesign-the-web-is-out/
  2. 2 /2011/11/30/the-smashing-guide-to-moving-the-web-forward-community/
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
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  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10 /wp-content/uploads/2009/11/
  11. 11
  12. 12 /wp-content/uploads/2012/05/poster-nickla.jpg
  13. 13
  14. 14 /wp-content/uploads/2012/05/poster-larissameek.jpg
  15. 15
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  17. 17 /wp-content/uploads/2012/05/poster-ricardogimenes.png
  18. 18
  19. 19
  20. 20 /2012/03/09/the-smashing-book-3-cover-design/
  21. 21
  22. 22
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The Smashing team loves high-quality content and cares about the little details. Through our online articles, Smashing Books, eBooks as well as Smashing Conferences, we are committed to stimulating creativity and strengthening the web design community’s creative forces.

  1. 1

    Steve Bruno

    July 6, 2012 5:45 pm

    Great contest idea. Looking forward to seeing what the community comes up with.

    • 2

      Vitaly Friedman

      July 8, 2012 11:00 am

      We’re very excited about the results as well! The best posters will be featured in a post in late July.

  2. 3

    Vincent McAulay

    July 6, 2012 5:57 pm

    The inspiration examples are great! I especially like the Ricardo Gimenes illustration. Fancy one of those Inklings too.

  3. 4

    These rock! Don’t think I could compete with Simon’s that for me is one awesome poster! How can I get one of his posters?

    • 5

      Vitaly Friedman

      July 8, 2012 11:00 am

      The posters will be made available in a release post in late July, so please stay tuned, JohnS!

  4. 6

    Jason Hoffmann

    July 6, 2012 6:42 pm

    I’m totally into the spirit of this contest, but sometimes pushing the web forward seems like an infinitely uphill battle. The fact of the matter is, many people on the web simply can’t afford a good design and don’t know that there is access to resources like WordPress that can make their presence on the web affordable. And that’s not even to mention the hundreds of thousands of blogspot, myspace, livejournal, etc. pages.

    Almost makes me want to start a humanitarian mission to save the web, where designers and developers can volunteer their time to create and implement tools to start to turn this all around and reach out to people directly. If only…

    • 7

      I couldn’t agree more and I was expecting to see more backlash. Is there a website owner who wouldn’t want a top notch site? Unless your email template includes something like “And by the way, I’ll offer my company’s coding, design, UX, info architecture, and hosting service at a tiny fraction of the normal price.”, this contest stinks of pretension.

      • 8

        Jason Hoffmann

        July 9, 2012 5:26 am

        Good point and all, but we have to start somewhere and we certainly wouldn’t be the first medium pushing for change with a hint of pretension. Still, at some point we’ll have to get more forceful (or at the very least forward).

  5. 9

    I’d love to see Larissa Meek’s concept larger. In fact I think I’d love to buy a print of it. Its super super dope.

    • 10

      Seconded! Will prints be available?

      • 11

        Stephan Poppe

        July 9, 2012 12:06 pm

        As mentioned earlier: All posters will be made available in a release post in late July. Feel free to submit your own design in the meanwhile!

  6. 12

    Totally awesome concept!! :-)

  7. 13

    Nate Schulte

    July 7, 2012 6:09 am

    Wow, these are great! Will have definitely have to add to this.

  8. 14


    July 7, 2012 10:48 am

    Will definitely join the contest :)

  9. 15

    Great concept! Looking forward to seeing what others make. I think I’ll try my hand at this :).

  10. 16

    It’s a great idea. But if you would do so in my country: the best way to be honored as a spammer on facebook.

    I am leading a little web agency for a special niche of clients. Those one who are in need of a professional website but leading a small business by themself. And they don’t want to read about their code desaster onto their websites in this way.

    Interestingly we can catch them with some other “keywords”. Their are half-educated during reading the print media. If we are talking to people which are interested to use our webdesign service we are hearing “visibilty” as their favorite (and…of cause…only term).

    However their are using this keyword into the wrong context.

    I am totally agree with this great idea to start a web action. But with experience with sensible future clients in mind it seems to be a little bit difficult to reach the audience with no exception.

  11. 17

    Great idea to limelight for a hidden talents.
    Feel great to participate in the contest.

  12. 18

    Justin Maier

    July 8, 2012 7:04 am

    So how exactly does redesigning the web redesign the world?
    It would be interesting to apply the idea behind this movement to things outside of the web. How many usability problems are there outside of the web?

    • 19

      Stephan Poppe

      July 9, 2012 12:16 pm

      Hey there Justin – How many people around the world do not have access to all the information on the Web because of accessibility issues? This contest is an attempt to motivate people to ease Web usability within their scope of possibilities. Of course there are a lot of usability problems outside the Web, no doubt about it – but would a campaign have the potential to reach as many people as it does through the Web? And after all – don’t we all like to help where we do it best?

      • 20

        Justin Maier

        July 9, 2012 10:23 pm

        Hey Stephan I agree that this is a good contest and relevant to the audience of this blog, but I’d really like to see this same thing applied in the real world. All users can identify a time when something didn’t work the way they thought it would…

  13. 21

    I want that poster by Simon framed now! Love the contest — will definitely enter!

  14. 22

    Great idea! I think the one who would need this the most are public universities everywhere (maybe the non-design ones only?). Due to backward and obsolete SAP and IBM scripts they still run old versions of Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer. I think I dont have to explain any further.
    The websites themselves: forms are frame in frame with 2< scrollbars within each other.
    Please! To get to the timeschedule you need 2 log on masks and over 7 clicks.
    This is where I would love to start to improve the web, if only they would listen…

  15. 23

    Bima Arafah

    July 8, 2012 10:53 pm

    Please make a version of Nick La’s poster into a wallpaper — I’d like to have it! :-)

  16. 24

    Hajijah Sperrer

    July 9, 2012 9:23 am

    Like always, Nick La’s illustrations are ‘layeredly’-stunning! There seems to be always a lot of thoughtful elements in all his works. And yes, please make a version of Nick La’s poster into wallpaper. And great, inspiring examples from the other designers too! Cheers! (putting-ideas-into-poster now…)

  17. 25

    Michael Knepprath

    July 9, 2012 1:36 pm

    Man, how many of these is GoDaddy going to receive?

  18. 26

    Will the Smashing team send out emails in reply to submissions? I’d just like to be sure my entry was received. Thanks! :)

    • 27

      Vitaly Friedman

      July 9, 2012 11:40 pm

      Dear Kate, yes, we will send out replies!

      • 28

        I did not get a reply yet. My submission was “Transform” with the moon and earth. Could you let me know if you got it? Thank you very much for your time! I want to send other entries but would like to make sure my email is going through properly first. :)

  19. 29

    Vanessa Woo

    July 9, 2012 11:47 pm

    Think dailyoverview might just come up with a submission for this ;)

  20. 30

    Julien Maury

    July 10, 2012 12:25 am

    Here it’s not warm July. ‘Hopping for a better web’, that looks great! I’m in.

  21. 31

    suiting up & jumping in :)

  22. 32

    Great idea. Thanks for be there to take out something with sense and creativity at the same time..

    Work in progress…

  23. 33

    Sovit Ranjitkar

    July 12, 2012 10:13 am

    Awesome concept. Super Like.
    I also featured this post as network in

  24. 34

    Layered A3 PSD’s are too large to email, can we dropbox them?

  25. 35

    Yay! Managed to conjure up a design and I have sent it before the deadline.

  26. 36


    July 24, 2012 7:45 am

    I’m trying to send my design but A3 layered psd is quiet huge, didn’t make it this time. Hope Smashing Magazine will extend the deadline.

  27. 37

    Hi, pls let know when the results will be announced.

  28. 38

    Are these posters available for print? I’d love to display some in my classroom.


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