So I’m pleased to now be able to tell you more about this mysterious ‘Experiment 1′.
We were trying to figure our what sort of brief receives the best responses from designers.
If you’ve been involved with us from the beginning, you would have seen three pretty different briefs. As part of developing a long term model for Positive Posters (more to come on this soon) we needed to try and understand what kind of briefs actually produce the highest quality designs that will in turn have best chance of creating the most impact. So to test this we ran an experiment with the following hypothesis as it’s back bone:
1. How we tested this
Step 2: We collected their emails and randomly separated them into 3 groups
Step 3: We sent all the members of the experiment identical briefs expect for the call to action (download the briefs below). The call to actions were a ‘choose you’re own topic’, a ‘general topic’ (women’s rights), and a ‘specific topic’ the story of a Tibetan nun who set her self on fire in protest to Chinas governance of Tibet. Each of the participants was given 7 days to respond.
Step 4: We recorded when each entry came through, how many, the overall quality of the entries from each group and a bunch of other data. We also sent a 10 question survey to each participant after the experiment closed asking them about the whole process.
2. The Results/Key Findings
We got some pretty interesting results. But before I go on, I’d like to point out that we are aware that our sample group (around 90 people) was small and that the results may not be ‘statistically significant’, but we feel it’s important to share them regardless and learn what we can.
Key finding #1 – The Open Brief produced the most posters
This one was probably the most surprising outcome of the experiment. We had thought that the Specific Brief would return the highest number as well as the highest quality designs. We were wrong. 41% of the people in Group A, (the open brief) submitted a poster compared 29% in Group B (the general brief) and only 14% in Group C (the specific brief).
Key finding #2 – Most designers submit their work in the last few days
This was one of those insights that we kind of already knew, but it was still interesting to see the data support it. 81% of everyone who entered did so on the last two days. We’ve seen this same pattern each year with our annual competition too.
Key finding #3 – The quality of the posters were similar, but varied in communication style
As always, commenting on the quality of design is a difficult thing to do. In this case, there was no judging panel, it was just the two of us looking at the entries and then trying to decide which brief, if any, produced higher quality entires. What do we mean when we say ‘higher quality’ though? Well when you’re talking about a poster it really means: 1. Did the design grab and hold our attention? and then 2. Did the design communicate it’s intended message with clarity? After looking at all the submissions from the experiment, it wasn’t clear that one brief produced higher quality designs than another. However, we did notice that the posters that were in response to the Open Brief were more literal compared to the that were submitted for the General and Specific Briefs.
Key finding #4 – Clarity on why people actually take part in our competitions
While we did not set out to discover why designers actually take part in our competitions, some of the direct feedback through email and some of the responses from the follow up survey have given us a bit more of an insight as to what motivates designers to get involved in competitions such as our own. When asked in the survey, “What are the reasons you enter design competitions?“, the top 3 results were 1. To be involved in a community of likeminded people, 2. Personal Exposure and 3. To build my folio. The other options, ‘prizes and money‘ and ‘to compare my self to my peers‘, barely got a mention.
Key finding #5 – We are time poor
We probably already knew this, but in response to the question, “Did you submit a poster as part of the experiment? Why or why not?“, a lot of people said they simply had too much work on or not enough time. Now, we understand that 7 days wasn’t a lot of time to complete the brief, but it did give us an insight as to what things (Uni, TAFE, work, other projects etc.) are keeping you from taking part in competitions like ours.
Key finding #6 – Your computers break a lot
Oh, and we received a bizzar number of people said that their computers broke last week…Hope you’ve all got them fixed now.
3. Was our hypothesis proven?
Our hypothesis was only somewhat proven. While the Specific Brief generated the least amount of posters, they were the more lateral and probably the most engaging. However, for this experiment, we probably didn’t have a large enough sample size to draw any really solid conclusions, but we’ve been able to gain some insights that we never have been able to before. It was defiantly worth doing and as a result, we’ll be doing a few more of these kinds of thing as the year goes on.
If you took part, thank you. We appreciate it heaps.
Any q’s or more info, shoot us mail nick or firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the briefs here”