Monday, September 17, 2007

Two Designers Enter ... Only One Walks Away

Among stock art websites, Veer holds the coveted position of the design community's sentimental favorite. With its mix of high-end, designer-aimed photos, video, illustrations, merch, and fonts, Veer already stands apart from – or at least toe-to-toe with – its momentous competitors Getty and Corbis. But it is with Veer's ideas that we find particular pleasure. Its mixture of activities, events, and head-to-head combat entertain, inspire, and distract – all the necessary ingredients to fight boredom.

Wait. Did we say head-to-head combat?

Indeed! Veer recently began featuring competitive lightboxing. Two designers are invited to create designs based on a particular theme, from products in a preselected lightbox typically consisting of six images and/or typefaces chosen by the Veer creative team. Our first round was a quirky Fembot-themed contest between British designers Rian Hughes and Jon Hicks. From there on, we were hooked.

For those not familiar with the terminology here, a lightbox was once an illuminated panel upon which photographic slides would be sorted and viewed. It has recently taken on the additional meaning of a folder or directory in which stock art assets are gathered and organized.

The rules are simple: The designers are challenged to make something great. They can use any software they want. Crop. Cut. Paste. Use filters. Fight dirty. Write copy. Whatever they need to do to make a knockout design. Veer's judges then comment on the designs and choose a winner using a highly sophisticated and completely subjective scoring system based on originality, effectiveness, and gut reaction.

Lightboxing was inspired in part by Coudal's Photoshop Tennis (recently back from a long hiatus as Layer Tennis) and Speak Up's Word It. But regardless of its origins, lightboxing makes for a great time waster. Even the lackluster bouts are worth it for the judges' biting criticism. There's even an archive of past lightboxing matches to further distract and entertain once the current rounds have been exhausted.

Now if only we could figure out to join this particular fight club. Like Tyler Durden's ubiquitous group, no one's talking. But rest assured, if we ever figure out to get ourselves in the ring, we won't sit quiet about it.

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