A Graphic Design Competition

We currently have reality competition TV shows for fashion, interior design, dance, Lego building, special effects makeup, body painting, tattoo arts, glass blowing, and bladesmithing; among others. There have even been a few visual arts competition shows over the years, but they never gained much popularity (In Canada anyway). But what about a graphic design reality show?

In all the years people have been binging reality TV, why hasn’t there been one about graphic design? I think a graphic design reality show could work and be interesting enough for non-designers, but we’d need to figure out what parts of the design process are the most interesting to watch.

What It Would Look Like

A graphic design TV competition show would probably be formatted in a similar way to Project Runway or Cupcake Wars. Line up the contestants (designers), and give them each their own station with pencils, sketchbooks, and a computer.

There would be a series of tasks each episode, each of which would work towards a larger challenge at the end. For example, the first task could be to create a mood board with colours and font ideas for a specific client, who, of course, would be one of the judges. Each designer would have an hour to complete the task, then be judged on the success of their ideas. The judges would then decide which one of the designers to eliminate from the competition.

The second task could be to create rough sketches for a logo design, where designers would also be allotted an hour to complete. At the end of this task judges would grade the designers on the potential of the logo concept. Again, afterwards, the judges would need to cut another designer from the competition.

At the third task, designers would be given two hours to put together a finished logo design and present it. Whichever designer was scored the best by the judges would win the whole thing; probably a cash prize and year subscription to Communication Arts magazine. Or maybe a new iPad.

Would It Work?

So would that work as a show? In theory, sure. But how entertaining would it be to non-designers? Cooking & baking shows are popular because everybody eats. Fashion shows because everyone wears clothes, and and interior design shows because everyone wants to live somewhere nice. But what about the tattoo artists, glass artists and bladesmiths? Those are pretty specialized crafts that wouldn’t appeal to everyone, and yet they are simply entertaining to watch because of the raw talent and skill on display. Would that be the case with a graphic design reality show?

Entertainment Value

I think the reason we don’t have a graphic design reality TV show is that it’s very niche. The problem solving, brainstorming, and silent sketching just wouldn’t be interesting enough for most audiences. Even on YouTube, graphic design channels are nowhere near as popular as some cooking, beauty, or gaming channels. Although, a lot of people on the internet do seem to love critiquing logos. So maybe there’s something there. Is brainstorming logo concepts interesting enough to watch?

A Graphic Design Reality Show: In Conclusion

I don’t think a graphic design reality competition show would be too boring for TV, but it likely wouldn’t be interesting enough to captivate a general audience. It would need to find a way of appealing to a larger demographic than simply designers, and that’s the challenge.

Do think a graphic design competition TV show would ever work? If so, how should it be structured in order to to appeal to a larger audience? Would it even need to? Let me know in the comments 🙂

If you want to take on some design challenges in real life, check out The Graphic Design Exercise Book by Jessica Glaser or Creative Workshop by David Sherwin.

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