JUNE 19, 2020


Grand Prize — $2,000 plus a travel stipend to attend the next Brand Print Americas show

2nd Place Awards — $1,500

3rd Place Awards — $1,000

This year’s theme is MAIL MATTERS. Students are challenged to design a personalized tangible mail piece complete with call-to-action. It can be a postcard, brochure, envelope, catalog – you name it!

We all carry little pocket computers around now but it’s mail that really counts. 60% of Americans say they like receiving mail and those numbers jump even higher for Millennials with their $1.4 trillion in spending power. What helps drive direct mail? Personalization. With the advanced print and finishing technology of today, we can create unique personalized direct mail pieces that get results.


Students are asked to create a unique personalized tangible mail piece. There is no requirement for the type of mail piece. Creativity and innovation are encouraged. Examples include postcards, brochures, fundraising solicitation, promotional calendars, newsletters or other publications, welcome kits, or a package with giveaway item.

The personalized mail piece could potentially:

  •  Promote a fictitious product, service or event
  • Solicit donation or participation in a social cause
  • Present a coupon or personalized offer
  • Connect to an opinion survey
  •  Or come up with your own unique concept!

 In order to be considered personalized, the mail piece should be addressed to an individual, with a message that is relevant to their preferences or interest them in your mailed offer.

Don’t forget the call-to-action! The cornerstone of direct mail is a prompt that motivates the recipient and provides an easy way for an individual to take action. If a mailer includes a call-to-action to trigger a digital response, you need not create the digital experience. The digital experience can be imaginary.


  • Grammar and spelling count!
  • Consider your typeface choice for maximum impact.
  • No trademarked or copyrighted materials are allowed.
  • Production cost is irrelevant for the judging; especially if you incorporate an optional printing enhancement or embellishment. Just be sure the special effect can be produced by an existing printing or print finishing process.

 Important things to know

  • The deadline for entry is June 19, 2020.
  • Unlike previous years, submissions of pre-press ready files via Dropbox will be accepted if students do not have access to printing equipment.
  • All students who attend recognized secondary or post-secondary institutions in the continental United States, studying in a graphic communications, printing, advertising, graphic design and/or interactive media program are eligible to enter.

Entries must include

  • A completed online entry form.
  • A digital image that displays the entry. A screenshot of your digital work is appropriate.
  • A finished, printed mail piece submitted via mail to: Student Design Competition c/o APTech, 1896 Preston White Drive,Reston, VA 20191·       
  • OR pre-press ready files submitted via the Dropbox link listed in the entry form.

Terms & Conditions

  • The entry is the work of the named student, contains no trademark or copyright material, and was completed during the 2019-2020 academic year.
  • All entries must be produced individually. Team entries are not acceptable.
  • All entries become the property of APTech and Konica Minolta. The entries may be reproduced and distributed; and will not be returned.
  • The student (and parent/guardian if student is under the age of 18) must give permission for participation in the 2020 Student Design Competition.
  • There is no fee to enter the competition.

Judging and Winner Selection

Award-winning mailers will be selected by a panel of industry judges who will evaluate the mailers based on the following judging criteria.

  • Innovation (out-of-the-box thinking)
  • Inspiration (creative and original)
  • Cohesiveness (design matches the personalized messaging)
  • Audience engagement (strong call-to-action)
  • Correct use of optional printing enhancements
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