My standard response? I am always looking for creative approaches with good design and fine execution.
That really is what it all boils down to. And really, I'd like to emphasize that while I know that we'd all like to "win" on occasion and that "winning" a challenge in the Moxie Fab World is a goal for many of you, I'd like to hope that all y'all are here because you enjoy stretching your skills, taking some risks, and having some fun. I'm hoping that the deep-down reason why you join our challenges is to get feedback from one another, to champion one another, to learn from one another, and to grow together.
I know that sounds very kumbaya and all, but that really is my true purpose here. That being said, I do have a few tips that may help you get the results you're hoping for. Check it:
1. Offer a creative approach.
A creative approach is just that--it's an interpretation that no one else has offered throughout the challenge itself. Piali's recent card in which she stamped with okra for our Household Items Challenge in Practical Solutions Week is a perfect example:
Not only did no one else stamp with okra for that challenge, I have never seen it done in my nearly 7 years as an editor for Paper Crafts magazine. I know it's a cliche, but you really do need to think outside of the box in order to be a winner.
2. Employ good design principles.
This can be tough if you're not sure what "good design principles" even are. Paying attention to challenge-winning projects, projects that are published in magazines, or projects that really catch your eye online can be a great exercise in discovering what makes good design.
Dissect them. Pick them apart. Ask yourself, why do the elements in this card work so well together?
I don't know if you're aware of it or not, but I try to point out the good aspects of design in each of the Moxie Fab Alerts that can be found beneath each winning project here in the Moxie Fab World. This is what I said in the Moxie Fab Alert for Jinny Newlin's card in the Don't Throw It Away Challenge in Practical Solutions Week, above:
Jinny used the back of some Jenny Bowlin packaging to serve as a template for her background paper in this super fun card. And note the diverse elements she's used--it takes a lot of skill to be able to combine this many embellishments without overloading the design. To see what I mean, start at the bird focal focal point and see where your eye is taken. No element is wasted. Each serves to drive your eye around the card until you are able to take it all in in its delightful, cohesive whole.
Feel free to take some cues from those. And you know that Paper Crafts magazine itself is full of tips and tricks on good design. (Click HERE to subscribe.)
Become aware. Try some new approaches. Ask your friends for advice.
And keep playing. If your goal is to win, then you've got to keep playing.
3. Make sure your projects are executed well.
It's important that your stamping is well-defined, ribbons are not frayed, and elements are perfectly placed.
The technique in this card by Gayatri Murali for the Cure for the Winter Blues Challenge is flawless.
4. Learn how to take a good photo of your project.
It may not sound fair, but first impressions are important in every aspect of our lives. Projects that are well-lit and free from background visual clutter that competes with the design will always look better than if these aspects are not considered.
Note the simplicity of the background and the loveliness of the foreground in the photograph of this card by Amy Wanford, one of the winners of the DIY Embellishments Challenge for Practical Solutions Week. You can see the elements in her card very well because nothing competes visually with the card, and there is plenty of light.
5. Don't combine too many challenges.
I get it. There are a ton of fun challenges out there and you want to play in them all. But I have found that more often than not, the projects in which 3 or more challenges are combined tend to stray from what the one challenge is looking for. And please don't misunderstand, I will pick a project that caters to more than one challenge, as long as it meets the guidelines I've outlined, as I did with this card by Virginia Lu. She combined the Household Items Challenge for Practical Solutions Week with the Runway Inspired Challenge #8:
Because the two challenges don't compete for the same design element requirements, Virginia was able to combine the two with great success.
6. Don't underestimate the "wow" factor.
You may have already guessed that I am emotional gal, a "feeler," if you will. Projects that make me gasp out loud will immediately be moved into the realm of "contenders" when I'm judging a challenge. They won't necessarily win, but they will definitely capture my attention.
The "wow" factor in this card by Laura Bassen for the DIY Embellishments Challenge for Practical Solutions Week is high, high, high!
7. All styles are welcome.
Believe it or not, I love all styles. When judging submissions as creative editor for Paper Crafts magazine, I was always a champion for including all styles. It is just as difficult to create a clean and graphic card as it is to create a layered and shabby card. And I promise you, if it is done well and offers a creative approach, it will be a contender.
This gorgeously layered card by Joan Ervin for the Embossing & Debossing Challenge for Cool Tools Week is definitely a "winner"!
8. Check your intentions.
The goal of these challenges is to stretch your skills, to foster growth, and to have some fun. If your desire to win is getting the way of any of these things, then step back and take a look at why you're playing. It's the same as with anything else. If you are not in it for the right reasons, then the right reasons will begin to elude you.
In the email JJ Bolton sent me regarding her win in the Fascination with Feathers Challenge, she said:
I'm so excited that you picked my card(s) for the Fascination with Feathers Challenge! Your kind words mean so much to me. :) I've never done anything with the theme of feathers before. Who knew it would be so inspirational (except you, obviously)? That's what I love about your challenges!
Now that's what I call a "winning attitude"!
In closing, I hope that I have earned your trust and confidence to select winning projects that I know will inspire you, my moxie fab readers. Because that's what it's all about, inspiring one another. We may not all have Moxie Fab World badges on our sidebars, but I hope you all know that in my book, you are a winner every time you take the risk to play.
Here's to the "good stretch" that is Moxie Fab World,
PS Speaking of the "good stretch," we've got two challenges currently happening in the Moxie Fab World. Our weekly Tuesday Trigger (the deadline is Sunday at midnight), and our Spectacular Spectacles challenge, due Monday, May 14. I would moxie love to see you there!