SURTEX: designext®

SURTEX® is proud to present its 28th annual International Student Design Competition honoring outstanding art & design students for exceptional surface design work.


As the only B2B marketplace dedicated to selling and licensing original art & design, SURTEX provides a valuable and exciting opportunity for artists, designers, agents and licensors to meet art buyers and licensees from around the world. The Show features an unparalleled and up-to-the-minute range of color, design and pattern trends while drawing professionals looking for unique, innovative artwork for every product category imaginable. SURTEX is held annually at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City alongside the signature mix™ marketplace and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair® (ICFF®). 

About designext

Since 1986, SURTEX has hosted an annual International Student Design Competition honoring outstanding art & design students for their exceptional surface design work. Students and their work get exposed to thousands of worldwide industry professionals – a terrific path for beginning a career. We invite you to participate in our 2014 competition. 


Theme: Street Inspirations

For this year’s theme, "Street Inspiration," we challenge students to create 6 original surface designs inspired by what they think will be "street influences"  in the year 2020.  Students must create these 6 designs (as a collection) for one of the following four product categories:

  • WEAR
    • fashion, scarves, hats, shoes, belts, cell-phone and electronic accessories, handbags & wallets
  • WORK
    • Retail/Office (furniture, upholstery, floor and wall coverings, and decorative accessories)
    • Hotel (furniture, upholstery, floor and wall coverings, tabletop and linens)
    • Home Office (desk accessories, organizational products, upholstery, floor and wall coverings, curtains)
  • LIVE
    • Elements for any interior room:
      • Bedroom (sheets, comforters, curtains, floor and wall coverings)
      • Dining (table cloths, dinnerware and wall coverings)
    • Elements for any exterior room
      • Patio furniture, seat cushions, awnings, table, umbrellas, and floor coverings
  • PLAY
    • Celebration (invitations, gift bags, wrapping paper, paper plates and napkins)
    • Personal (journals, note cards, writing paper, storage boxes)
    • Craft (scrapbooking paper, stickers, rubberstamps, and quilting fabrics)
We encourage students to think future trends – be creative, inventive and dramatic as they develop their overall concept and related surface designs. They should develop designs that will be rendered on products that relate to each other within their chosen category. A successful entry will also demonstrate potential for viability in the marketplace, as well as excellent presentation skills.


Four winners will be selected, and will be given the unique opportunity to display their project at SURTEX 2014 (May 18 - 20, 2014) in a designext “booth” setting. Winners will be given specific direction for their on-site presentation and will be required to create the materials for display.
In return, winners will:

  • Receive mention in a special designext press release (going to several hundred trade and consumer press)

  • Be featured in On The Surface e-newsletter

  • Be included in various SURTEX promotional materials and the show’s website

  • Be provided hotel room in New York City during SURTEX (5 nights)*

  • Be given a daily monetary allowance (for meals) during the NYC visit

  • Be included in numerous activities at SURTEX to network and gain exposure in the marketplace. Activities include: Networking Event, introduction to members of the press and key art & design professionals, admission to SURTEX Conference Program sessions, and more.

  • Have their portfolio professionally critiqued 

  • Have the opportunity to present their portfolio to SURTEX participants

Students’ on-site display, portfolio, overall presentation and the ability to maximize their participation at SURTEX will be reviewed by Show Management and judges during Show days. One student (of the four winners) will be selected to be honored Grand Prize, prior to the close of the Show. This prize includes:

  • $1000 USD
  • Special mention on SURTEX website for one year
  • Recommendation letters to prospective employers

* Students must provide their own transportation to/from New York City. Two students will share a room, as designated by Show Management.


There is no cost to enter the SURTEX designext competition!  However, all entrants must be students in their 3rd or 4th year (junior or senior level) in a college/university, and be enrolled in a surface design-related curriculum. Submissions must adhere to the competition requirements in order to be considered.

Participating is Easy

1. Professors or students, register you and your school by November 15, 2013 using the Online Registration Form.
2. Get creative, have fun and complete your project - keeping the jury/criteria in mind.
3. Fill out the official entry form.
4. Double check that you have met all the competition requirements.
5. Ship entries in sturdy packaging to the address below. We cannot be responsible for boards damaged during shipping. Entries MUST be received by January 24, 2014.

SURTEX® designext competition
Michelle Daniels
Emerald Expositions
1133 Westchester Avenue, Suite N136
White Plains, NY 10604 USA


The following requirements must be met to qualify the entry for judging. Each student must:

  • Professionally present original artwork, demonstrating an understanding of surface design

  • Be in his/her 3rd or 4th year (junior or senior level) in college/university

  • Submit 2 rigid presentation boards, each sized 18" by 24"

  • Label each design with its intended product application
  • Submit a completedOfficial Entry Formplaced in an envelope adhered to the back of 1 board (Please do not write the college/university name anywhere on the boards)

Winning students must be able to travel to New York City to participate in SURTEX 2014.

Jury / Criteria

The jury will review entries based on the following criteria:

  • Surface design development (i.e. hand-drawn and/or computer-generated)

  • Creativity, style and use of color and pattern

  • Potential for viability in the marketplace

  • Presentation of overall concept and surface designs

At SURTEX, the judges will review each of the four winners’ booth presentation and portfolio in order to determine the Grand Prize winner.

Dates and Deadlines

Online Registrations - November 15, 2013
Entries Due - January 24, 2014
Judging - Mid-February 2014
Notification of Winners - March 2014
Winners arrive in NYC - May 16, 2014
Winners set up at Show - May 17, 2014
SURTEX opens - May 18-20, 2014
Final judging - May 19, 2014
Winners depart - May 21, 2014

Download a printer-friendly version of designext 2014.

Any questions, contact Michelle Daniels at +1 914 421 3216 or