Our next contest: Design for America


skitched-20100317-143529.jpgOur next contest, and first of two contests of 2010 is “Design for America”. As we talked about in January, opening government involves more than just developers: we need the art and design community to take data from our government and tell stories about it.

Part contest, part festival, the Design for America contest’s intent is to inspire the design community to tell great stories about how our government works, what our government does, and what it could do. It’s a contest as much about possibility as transparency, and with categories ranging from infographics to web design, there’s plenty for all to compete in. Each category has a $5,000 prize associated with it now, and as we gain sponsors for each category, we’ll be increasing the prizes associated as sponsorship allows.

We’re really excited to announce some great judges for this contest not only because of their talents but because we’re simply big fans. Nicholas Felton famous for his Feltron Annual Reports is judging visualizations around Recovery.gov. Andrew Vande Moere is judging data visualizations from our own community. We’re excited to have Nathan Yau from Flowing Data judging USASpending.gov visualizations alongside the New York Times Visual Op Ed columnist Charles Blow. And we’ll be announcing a slate of many more judges in the weeks ahead.

On the sponsorship side– our Platinum Sponsor is Adobe, and it wouldn’t be very transparent of me if I didn’t mention that we’ve talked about them on our blog once or twice. Adobe and Sunlight share common interest: we want government to be more engaging and we want government data to be available to citizens. We’re finding common ground in the design community to do just that and we’re appreciate having their support for this contest.

Google is also sponsoring our contest as they’ve done in the past. We enjoy working with Google and appreciate their support, but more than their support, they make a lot of great tools that make our lives a lot easier– whether it be Fusion Tables or the public data explorer they’re great proponents of opening up government so that the public can see what’s going on. Google’s sponsoring two of our categories this time around: Best Visualization of How a Bill Becomes a Law, and Best Visualization of Federal Budget/USASpending.gov data.

The contest will end with a showing of the best entries at the Gov2Expo in May, and we’ll announce the winners there. We’re happy to have the support of O’Reilly, TechWeb and the Gov2Expo team. It will be a great event– and the showing itself will be free and open to the public (though you’ll need to RSVP).

We’re really looking forward to this new contest. After Apps for America and Apps for America 2, we’re looking forward to seeing how the design community can make a difference with the way people see their government and its data.