Photographing your project | Writing your project strategy


Photographing your project

The photographs included with your entry are your chance to show the judges just how amazing your project is. For the best results, we recommend having a professional photographer capture your project whenever possible.

We know professional photography can sometimes cost a pretty penny. Here are some tips that might help you get quality photos while saving a little on cost:

  1. Reach out to vendor partners, general contractors and end users to see if they would consider partnering with you on the cost.
  2. One of these parties may have already contracted with a photographer. In this case, contact the photographer and see if you can purchase rights to the photos as well.
  3. Reach out to local community or art colleges that offer photography classes. A student with the appropriate equipment may be able to help out for a small fee.
  4. When contracting a photographer to have them photograph your project, or when purchasing images from a photographer, it is imperative to have them complete and sign a Photography Release Form.

If professional photography just isn’t possible and you are shooting your project yourself, you may find the following tips helpful.

  1. Use a quality camera. Mobile phone cameras are getting better all the time, but skip the cell phone and use a digital camera with a resolution of at least 8-10 megapixels.
  2. Use a tripod. This will keep the camera steady and straight.
  3. Make sure the light is coming from behind you, not in front of you. Shooting into direct light will obscure the details of your project.
  4. Watch out for reflections if your project includes any glass or metal surfaces.
  5. Use the Rule of Thirds when composing or cropping your photo. The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. Place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines to make your photo balanced and enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. This is because people’s eyes naturally go to these intersections, not to the center of the shot. A good technique for room scenes is to position the floor along one of the horizontal lines.

Last but not least, be sure to download the photo release form and have it signed by the photographer for each entry. Every entry must include a signed photo release form.


Writing your project strategy

A good project strategy is key to a winning design award entry. The judges must understand what the design was trying to accomplish in order to determine whether or not it was successful.

General category strategies should be about 200 words long and should include the following components:

  1. The nature of the client’s business and their goals for the project
  2. The goals of the design itself and how the choice of flooring fulfilled those goals
  3. And special design challenges, requirements or constraints that made the project unique

This Grand Prize winner had a well-written strategy:

“The classic 32 story LaSalle Plaza Tower is situated in the heart of the Minneapolis business and downtown entertainment district. The LaSalle Plaza skyway system is one of the largest in Minneapolis. It serves as a critical artery for those who work, visit or play. It connects an array of retailers, renowned historic theaters, trendy restaurants, hip bars, office towers with their connecting sky-bridges. The owner’s vision, as conveyed to the architectural design team at NELSON, was one of movement, color, energy and revitalization. NELSON needed to respect the building architecture, recognizing the need to energize and more truly align the restaurant, theater and retail tenants. Taking cues from architectural elements and patterns found within the building, the owner’s vision became absolute reality. The use of colorful repetitive forms and exaggerated imagery punctuate the sleek black Tandus Endhara II field carpet and exudes an exciting energy that leads visitors throughout the skyway/plaza.”

The specialty categories have some additional strategy requirements.Unique Installation Challenge requires that you address the installation itself and point out the challenges and how they were overcome. These descriptions may be in addition to the general category strategy.

The Unique Installation Challenge winner conveyed the complexity of their project with elegance in just 104 words.

“The challenge: Reinventing a 260,000 square foot occupied building during regular business hours on a fast track schedule without interrupting the client’s operation. It was done in 8 phases and included 22,000 square feet of carpet tile; 8,000 square feet of linoleum; 6,000 square feet of VCT; 800 square feet of hardwood flooring w/inlaid border; 7,000 feet of rubber base; 1300 square feet of hand cut carpet patterns; 1,000 square feet of hand cut linoleum patterns, and heat and chemically welded seams. Result: A beautiful facility that incorporates a stunning design, strong branding and efficient work space while producing a creative and comfortable environment.”

THE RESULT: a stunning flooring system with inlaid arches and rivulets running throughout Eastern Idaho’s new state-of-the-art regional medical center. “