If you have a question not answered below or elsewhere on this website, please submit it to laplus@design.upenn.edu. 
This page will be updated regularly with relevant Q+A.
(Looking for the Q+A with LA+ CREATURE jury chair, Richard Weller? See here!)


Q: Are there any limits to the creature (client) that I can choose?
A: You can choose any land, sea, or avian nonhuman creature. It can be any species, any size, and live anywhere. It can be an individual creature, a specific population of creatures, an entire species, or even multiple species. For the purposes of this competition, any living nonhuman organism (except for plants) is considered a “creature.”

Q: Why have you excluded plants from this competition?
A: Don’t be disappointed - it is just that we are reserving the world of plants for a future LA+ competition!

Can my chosen creature be an insect?
A: Yes.

Q: Can my chosen creature be a micro-organism…or even a virus?
A: Yes.

Q: Can my chosen creature be a plant?
A: No, but plants may be important to your design or to your creature’s habitat or sustenance requirements.

Q: Can my chosen creature be a fungus? (entrant submitted)
A: Fungi are in a different category to plants (and are actually now considered closer to animals than to plants); therefore, fungi are acceptable as creatures for the purposes of this competition.

Q: Can my chosen creature be a domestic animal?
A: Yes.

Q: Can my chosen creature be extinct?
A: Yes; though, in this case you’ll be designing to rewild/reintroduce the species in the future.

Q: Can I choose a non-Earth creature?
A: If you can prove the existence of a non-Earth creature, we are willing to entertain it!

Q: Can I choose a mythical creature?
A: No, but your design can involve mythology, symbolism, or legend.

Q: Can my chosen creature be a robot or AI?
A: No, but your design can certainly include such technology. 

Q: How much do I need to know about my creature?
A: It’s up to you, but the more you know, the more convincing and relevant your design will likely be. See here for suggested general readings.

Q: Do I need to provide my creature’s scientific name?
A: During the online submission process you will also be asked to provide your creature’s common name (e.g., elephant, large flying fox, black bear) and, if possible, its scientific or Latin name, which typically consists of the genus name and species name (e.g., Elephas maximus, Pteropus vampyrus, Ursus americanus).


Q: Do I need to site my design?
A: It depends on what your design is. Most designs will be sited relevant to the location of the creature they are concerned with. If you are designing a product or a process, the site may be less relevant.  

Q: Can my design include cybernetics, robotics, or other technology?
A: Yes.

Q: Can my design involve, anticipate, influence, or speculate on the evolution of my creature or its species?
A: Yes.

Q: How realistic does my design have to be?
A: LA+ CREATURE is open to the full range of design responses, from pragmatic to poetic. 

Q: What will the judges be looking for?
Conceptual rigor, research, novelty, ingenuity, imagination, and how well the design answers the brief to improve your creature’s life and increase human awareness of and empathy towards its existence.

Q: Can my design relate only to an individual creature, rather than a complete species or specific population?

Q: Are there any limits to what I can design?
There are absolutely no limits! Your design can be anything – a product, a structure/building, an environment/habitat, a process, a system, a mechanism, an apparatus, a landscape, a place, an app, a program, a PR campaign, an art installation, a space, a place, a park, an energy/food source...anything!


Q: Who can enter LA+ CREATURE?
A: The competition is open to students and professionals from any discipline and from anywhere in the world. No professional qualifications are required to enter.

Q: Can we submit a team entry?
Yes; however, teams are strictly limited to a maximum of three (3) persons. No exceptions.

Q: Can I be on more than one team/can I enter more than once? (entrant submitted)

Q: What if I have consultants (e.g., scientists, zoologists, ecologists) who are not part of my team but who I wish to acknowledge? (entrant submitted)
No problem! Just add an acknowledgment line after you identify team members in the online form (make sure it’s clear and we’ll make sure it’s in the published text if you win).

Q: Can we submit an entry on behalf of a professional office?
Absolutely, but the maximum team member rule still applies. Individual team members (a maximum of 3) must be specified by name in the official entry. There’s a space to do that on the online form.

Q: Do I have to register in advance?
While we do encourage registration at your earliest opportunity, it is not required. The competition platform (https://laplus.slideroom.com) opens on August 1 and closes at midnight on October 20, 2020 and you can register and submit at any time during that period. You can even register just to check out the competition platform requirements and log out and back in at any time. Don’t worry, you can save your progress as you go and you won’t be charged the entry fee until you finally submit your entry. 

Q: Do I need to conform with the Competition Template?
Yes. It’s important that submissions conform to the page dimensions provided in the LA+ CREATURE Competition Template, which is designed to assist journal layout for winning entries and others selected for publication. The competition template is available for download in .pdf, .indd, and .idml formats HERE. Please note that while Sheets 1 + 2 are required to enter LA+ CREATURE, Sheet 3 is OPTIONAL. Each image file must be under 10MB and with a minimum of 300dpi resolution - .jpeg, .jpg, .tif, .tiff image files are accepted. Do not reveal your name on your image files or your entry may be disqualified.

Q: What's the significance of the margin lines indicated on the Competition Template?
Don't worry about the margin lines – they are only for reference. The main thing is that your entry conforms to the page dimensions shown on the template. Sheet 1 should be 8.75 x 10.5 inches (that's the page size of LA+ Journal) and Sheet 2 and the optional Sheet 3 should be 17.5 x 10.5 inches (that's a full double-page spread of LA+ Journal). Images can bleed in any direction to the edge of the page. We just request that if you do use margins in your design, you take note of the margin dimensions provided. It just helps us achieve visual conformity across the publication. 

Q: The Competition Template asks for a plan and section on Sheet 1 – can I put these elements on Sheet 2 instead? (entrant submitted)
Yes, so long as you maintain the dimensions of sheets 1 and 2, and you include a plan and section, you can rearrange the elements in your submission to suit you. 

Q: If the design is something non-physical (an app, a computer program, or an information system of some kind) does the requirement to have a scaled section and plan still apply? (entrant submitted)
No, in these circumstances a plan and section are not required, though you should still provide some technical drawings/information and you must still submit an image sheet in the specific dimensions of sheet 1. 

Q: What sort of things constitute “supporting imagery” for Sheet 2 (and the optional Sheet 3)?
Design details, views, supporting data, artistic evocations, illustrations, infographics, sections, processes, anything you like! Both Sheets 2 and Sheet 3 should be 17.5 x 10.5 inches, as per the Competition Template. Sheet 3 is optional.

Q: Do I have to provide 3 sheets of imagery?
No, only Sheets 1 and 2 are required. Sheet 3 is optional. Use it if you feel you need extra space to convey your design ideas.

Q: Can I provide more than 3 sheets of imagery?
No, only 3 sheets are permitted. You must provide Sheets 1 + 2 to enter. Sheet 3 is optional.

Q: Do I need to give my entry a name or title?

Q: How important is the supporting statement?
The statement is an important part of your submission and will be judged along with your design. It should be under 300 words and can be used to identify your creature, explain your design, its location (if relevant), and how your design fulfils the brief. The text should be of publishable quality. Please DO NOT put your supporting statement on the image sheets. You will be asked to input your statement online separately during the submission process. This is to enable judges to be able to read the statement easily and also for the journal to print the statement separately to the images.

Q: Should the supporting statement appear on the image sheets?
No; it is important to note that for layout purposes of the final journal and for ease of reading by the jury that the supporting statement NOT appear on the design sheets. You will be asked to input your statement into the online platform separately during the submission process.

Q: Can any text at all appear on the image sheets?
Absolutely! You can include incidental text such as titles, labels or legends on Sheet 1 (plan + section). You can do whatever you want with Sheet 2 and the optional Sheet 3 (supporting imagery). Keep in mind that any text has to be easily readable at the size of the journal, as indicated by the dimensions of the Competition Template. Please proofread and spell check your text.

Q: What file formats do you accept for image submission?
.jpeg, .jpg, .tif, .tiff image files are accepted. Files must be under 10MB each and with a minimum of 300dpi resolution.

Q: Are there rules about anonymity and eligibility?
Yes. See the Conditions page on this website for details. Participants who breach the conditions and non-conforming entries will be disqualified.

Q: We are doing the competition as part of a design studio or class – do studio reviews with external reviewers breach the rules about anonymity and eligibility? (entrant submitted)
We love that people get involved in LA+ competitions as part of a design studio, class or exercise and recognize that internal and external review is part of this process. So long as the designs are not published (eg., via websites/print/social media) prior to the announcment of winners you won’t breach the competition rules. 

Q: I’ve done a design in the past that meets the brief, but it has been shown in my online portfolio – can I still enter it? (entrant submitted)
Our interest here is in preserving the anonymity of entrants during the judging process, but we understand that students do place past projects online as part of their body of work and that such work may be accessed by a limited number of people. So long as you do not publish the submission/design itself separately (including on social media) with any connection to the competition (such as the competition name) prior to the announcement of winners you likely won’t breach the competition rules. We also have strict rules of juror recusal in place in the event that an entrant’s submission is recognized. 

Q: What happens if a juror thinks they recognize the identity of an entrant from their entry?
Jurors are required to immediately advise the competition organizer and recuse themselves from voting on the particular submission in the event that they believe they recognize the identity of an entrant from the submission. 

Q: Will you accept physical/mailed submissions?
No. All submissions must be made digitally through the competition platform: https://laplus.slideroom.com. See the Submissions page on this website for more details.

Q: Is there an entry fee?
Yes. Payment of the competition entry fee of US $50 is the last step before submission. You'll receive official confirmation of your entry upon submission and payment. Major credit and debit cards are accepted. Every entry receives a free digital issue of LA+ Journal’s last competition issue, LA+ ICONOCLAST!

Q: How do I submit my entry?
See the "How to Enter" section at the bottom of the Submissions page on this website (use the submissions tab above). Entries must be made through our online platform (https://laplus.slideroom.com) by October 20, 2020. You'll be asked to sign up to a free SlideRoom account to get started. You can log into your account to to check out requirements and start your submission. You can save your progress as you go and finalize your entry at any time. You'll also have a chance to review your materials before final submission and you don't need to pay the entry fee until you submit.

Q: If I entered LA+ IMAGINATION or LA+ ICONOCLAST will my SlideRoom account login be the same?
Yes, your login credentials with SlideRoom remain the same, although you may create a new login with a different email address if you wish. The team members do not have to be the same as your past entries – you’ll identify team members during the entry process.

Q: Can I enter more than once?
Yes, you may make multiple entries but you must make a separate entry/application (using a new SlideRoom account under a different email address) and pay a separate fee for each entry.


Q: When will I know if I have received an award?
Award-winners will be announced on December 8, 2020. Contact will be made within 12 weeks of announcement to arrange transfer of prize monies.

Q: Will I be able to view the winning entries?
Yes, winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this website on December 8, 2020. They will also be published in LA+ CREATURE (fall 2021), along with interviews with the jurors and other material. Even if you are not a winner, your entry may be selected for publication and/or exhibition. Click here to subscribe to LA+ Journal for $10/YR (digital) or $29.90/yr (print) and receive two beautifully produced, thought-provoking print issues of LA+ each year delivered to your door. Individual digital issues are $5.95. Our upcoming issues are on the themes GEO, COMMUNITY, GREEN, and SPECULATION.

Q: What could I win?
The total prize pool is US$10,000. Each of the five winning teams will receive US$2,000 prize money, a certificate (one per team), and publication in LA+ CREATURE. The honorable mentions will receive a certificate (one per team) and publication in LA+ CREATURE. Team members of each awarded team will receive a free print copy of LA+ CREATURE. Every entry receives a free digital issue of LA+ Journal’s last competition issue, LA+ ICONOCLAST.

Q: If I did not win an award, how will I know if my work will appear in LA+ CREATURE?
You'll need to buy the journal in fall 2021 to find out! Select non-winning entries may be published in whole or in part. We’ll be revealing some of the non-winning entries selected for the LA+ CREATURE Salon des Refusés on our social media accounts. You can follow us @LAPlusJournal on twitter, instagram, or facebook by clicking on the icons to the left of your screen.

Q: If my work is chosen for publication, how will it appear in LA+ CREATURE?
The way in which entries selected for publication appear in the journal (or associated exhibition or promotion) is solely at the discretion of LA+ Journal and will be subject to considerations of overall layout and aesthetic continuity, among other things. Selected entries may be published in whole or in part. By entering you give LA+ Journal a license to use, publish, exhibit, distribute, edit, alter, and make derivatives of your submitted materials. For further information, see the Conditions of Entry.

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