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Art Javid is one of the co-founders of the American Design Awards, an international design awards organization with over 20,000 active members and participants based in San Diego, California.

Art is also the co-owner of Graphicwise, Inc. (with his twin brother Kevin) an Orange County, California-based creative design firm specializing in attractive and effective web design, corporate identity and packaging art since 1997.

Besides graphic design, Art has been responsible for co-illustrating 5 published children’s books for a Los Angeles area television personality, and enjoys playing basketball whenever time permits.

URL:
www.graphicwise.com

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Art

 
   
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Running American Design Awards
By Art Javid

A few years ago when we were seriously contemplating hiring a designer to help us with various projects around the studio, we placed a wanted ad in a few online publications, not knowing what a huge response we would end up getting.

The one-month ads ran their course, and at the end we were left with nearly 500 resumes from talented designers from around the world enthusiastic about the opportunity for a full-time design career (even a few from Germany, Italy and France offering to move to California). Of course only one person ultimately got the job, but the process of going through hundreds of resumes and viewing tons of outstanding portfolios knowing 499 of them would be disappointed, left a bitter taste in our mouths. We thought that if there were a way to expose these talented designers to the world, we would be the first to help promote it.

At around the same time in 2000, one of our clients who himself had been in the design industry for many years, asked if we would be willing to help him launch a graphic design related web site, consisting of an awards program, design forums, news, and a product store. We accepted the offer, but with one huge difference; we rejected any ideas of turning this site into a commerce site, and asked that the awards program be legitimate, and only serve the interest of the designers competing in it.

Among the names that our client suggested was American Design Awards, based not only on his patriotism for the United States, but also a suggested domain name available on a domain name registrar web site. In 2000 the American Design Awards was born.

At first we weren’t sure what our roles would be beyond the design and development of the American Design Awards web site and identity, however in 2001 when the site started making some noise in the design community, we were asked to join the American Design Awards board of directors, help set a direction for the organization and take over the day to day operations of the site, especially after the founder stepped down for retirement.

Our first order of business was simple; the American Design Awards would act as a non-profit organization in theory, whereas no one involved in the organization would expect to profit financially. The only checks going out were to vendors and contractors, and often times bills had to be (and still are) paid out of our own pockets, without any reimbursement. Everyone involved in American Design Awards have their own daytime jobs and responsibilities, working out of their own homes and offices on weekends and holidays to organize events, judge design pieces and respond to dozens of questions from our online visitors.

Secondly, we established some rules and guidelines for accepting, handling, and grading of various design pieces, all with the ultimate benefit of the designers in mind. It is our policy to only accept designs that have been created for a fair-paying client (or for the artist’s self-promotion) versus those created for the so-called "contests". We have seen an unfortunate trend in the design industry whereas younger, more inexperienced designers are asked to create dozens of custom-designed pieces for submission into a "contest", in hopes of landing a contract for a meager payoff down the line. The American Design Awards has not, and will never accept designs that have been created in this fashion. Our rules for entry dictate clearly that any artwork deemed to have been created in this fashion will be rejected and any award revoked. Not only do these "contests" diminish the value of designers and the design industry as a whole, but often times leads to legal issues regarding copyright and intellectual rights matters in the future.

We also made it a policy to judge and grade each piece independent of the artist’s experience or client notoriety, creating a more even playing field for everyone entering our awards competitions. Each design is reviewed and graded by at least 3 to 5 design professional judges at any given time, ensuring a fair and balanced consensus. Each submitted design piece is handled with great care, ensuring our participants that their work will remain their own property, and not on a "contest" web site, like some in the industry.

Third, we had to (and still are) establishing our image and intent as a legitimate design awards organization, to the dozens of skeptics out there who constantly question our motives, procedures and of all things, our name! We find ourselves constantly putting out small fires that start up in design forums and chat rooms regarding our objectives, by less-than-informed, ignorant and opinionated individuals who don’t take the time to research the American Design Awards site for answers, or email us directly with their concerns.

Initially we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but are glad we did. There are a lot of responsibilities that go along with helping to run a reputable design awards organization, none of which is more important to us than gaining the trust of the designers who enter the design contests, by not only promoting ethical design standards and procedures, but by following through on the promise that their designs will be judged fairly. When we set out on this venture a few years back, our main goal was to help designers showcase their talents to the world and have the opportunity for future advancement, and that includes conforming to the traditional design industry standards.

All we can do is to maintain our course, learn from those who have failed, and keep our standards higher than the most reputable design awards organization out there, in hopes of one day becoming just that.


To learn more: www.americandesignawards.com

 

2004 Art Javid
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