Huawei launches Theme design contest for 2020

From Huawei.

Huawei has just opened the submissions for their Theme design contest for smartphones, with thousands of dollars in prizes for winners.

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Huawei has just opened the submissions for their Theme design contest for this year, 2020. Huawei smartphones are highly customizable through the “Themes” application, which allows users to download both static and animated wallpapers, skins to change the appearance of their system, such as by changing the font or the icons, the phone unlock pictures, or, on some newer smartphones, even change the always-on-display animation. Furthermore, users can also customize the watch faces of their Huawei smartwatches, through the Watch Market, with thousands of different designs available for download. All these Themes are available in two different ways, with some designers charging users for them, effectively selling them, while other designs are free to download. The manufacturer also regularly collaborates with artists or produces various themes and wallpapers for important events, such as commemorating Notre-Dame de Paris at the beginning of 2019.

Coming back to the main subject of this article, the company has now opened the submissions for their Themes contest, starting today, the 11th of May 2020. Users have until July 1st to submit their designs, with the judging taking place between the 2nd and the 20th of July, and the results being announced on the 22nd of July 2020. Users are limited to one entry per category, but are allowed to participate in all four categories, being “Themes”, “Watch Faces”, “Wallpapers” and “Cities”.

As mentioned earlier, “Themes” allow users to heavily customize the appearance of their system, by changing various parts such as the lock screen, the wallpaper and most commonly the application icons. Sometimes these changes can be very subtle, although it is not uncommon to see radical changes with custom illustrations for all the default applications. For this category, users have to include a demonstration of their concept, showing how all their customization work together, with a lock screen, wallpaper and a set of 20 icons. Users can also submit a video of how their theme works, although this is not mandatory, but this submission might get an additional award, the “Amazing Animator” award.

While Themes require quite a lot of work, wallpapers are relatively easy to make, as they are usually just a background picture or drawing. Of course, while some might stick to a simple photo as background, others will create beautiful pictures that truly stand out from the crow, such as the demo used in the marketing material. Wallpapers can also be animated, with this option being, once again, optional, with those submitting an animated wallpaper having the possibility of getting an “Amazing Animator” award for their work.

For watch faces, these are a relatively recent feature, having been introduced at the beginning of 2019, and allowing users to easily download and share hundreds, if not thousands, of different watch faces to customize their smartwatches (mostly the Watch GT and Watch GT2). Here also, users can submit an animated watch theme, giving them an opportunity of getting an award for it.

The last category is “Cities”. While initially one might think users are free to submit whichever city they like, creating a design for their own city, this is sadly not the case, with submissions having to be for one of 9 different Chinese cities: Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Jinan, Luoyang, Nanjing, Shanghai and Wuhan. For this category, users have to submit both a case design and a lock screen design. The manufacturer also specifies winning entries might end up being turned into merchandise in the future, meaning winners might see their design on the back of the smartphones of hundreds of users. Just as with the previous three categories, users can submit an animated video to win an extra award.

For the prizes, there are 100 different prizes, depending on the category and winning place. Here are the various prizes:

  • 1 grand prize: 20K USD, with 10K in cash and a 10K grant
  • Themes:
    • 1 first prize: 16K USD, with 6K in cash and a 10K grant
    • 2 second prizes: 8K USD, with 3K in cash and a 5K grant (each)
    • 3 third prizes: 5K USD, with 2K in cash and a 3K grant (each)
  • Wallpapers:
    • 1 first prize: 13K USD, with 3K in cash and a 10K grant (each)
    • 2 second prizes: 7K USD, with 2K in cash and a 5K grant (each)
    • 3 third prizes: 4.5K USD, with 1.5K in cash and a 3K grant (each)
  • Watch Faces:
    • 1 first prize: 13K USD, with 3K in cash and a 10K grant (each)
    • 2 second prizes: 7K USD, with 2K in cash and a 5K grant (each)
    • 3 third prizes: 4.5K USD, with 1.5K in cash and a 3K grant (each)
  • Cities:
    • 9 prizes in all, one for each city, with 6K USD, with 3K in cash and a 3K grant (each)
  • For special winners:
    • 6 stars of tomorrow, with each getting 1K USD in cash
    • 6 international artists (outside of China), with each getting 1K USD in cash
    • 6 amazing animators, with each getting 1K USD in cash
    • 80 inspirational sparks (20 per category), with each getting a 1K grant

Huawei also species that winners will be getting royalties on their creations for a full year, with 70% of the revenue going to them, while the brand will keep 30% of it. The conditions do not specify anything about non-winning entries, meaning users can still publish them on Huawei’s Themes app and earn revenue from their creation, despite not winning, if this one is approved by the manufacturer.

To judge the thousands of entries, Huawei has assembled a team of 7 judges with different experience:

  • David Carson, a New York based experimental designer
  • Wang Ziyuan, a professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Design
  • Tiger Pan, the chief designer at TigerPan Packaging Design Lab
  • Norito Shinmura, the founder of the Shinmura Design Office
  • Liza Enebeis, the creative director at Studio Dumbar
  • Zhang Zhongyang, the president of the Shenzhen Illustration Association
  • Liang Jun, the chief UX design director at Huawei UCD

Those interested in participating can find more information and details on the dedicated website, with more precise information available here. Various examples are also showcased on the website, giving those interested in participating a clearer idea of what the final result should look like:

Overall, this is an interesting contest for artists looking to showcase their work and eventually make some money out of it, with Huawei Themes being available in over 170 different countries, and having a userbase of over 600 million users.

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