The YouFab Global Creative Awards has opened its 9th annual call for entries, seeking digital works and projects that use design to reflect on the current events of the world.

In line with its mission of capturing the zeitgeist through art and design, the 2020 award theme is “Contactless”.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced sudden changes to social systems and personal lifestyles through quarantines, lockdowns and social distancing measures, YouFab is calling for designs that shed light on experiences that bring humanity back to everyday life, as well as works that present actual experiences where being contactless is stronger by default.

From bathrooms to payment systems, the technologies and systems that allow us to be “contactless” have become ubiquitous in society as a result of the pandemic. These are systems that defend us from infection, but it’s questionable if they are positive proposals that turn adversity into opportunity.

As such, the 2020 YouFab Global Awards focuses on how we can redesign and reframe humanity, physicality, and “real experience” given the context of a world where being contactless has become the default. Works could be a proposal for a new technology or system, or a new behavioral pattern. The focus could be anything: a house, school, office, commercial facility, clothing, transportation, food, event, festival, dating, funeral, etc.

YouFab is challenging creators to redesign, and then re-value “experience” through a“contactless” lens. Perhaps these experiences could seem frivolous at first glance. A small discovery of something seemingly worthless yet potentially important could be easily lost unless it finds a space that allows free thinking.

Open to Works From All Fields

The award competition, run by FabCafe since 2012, is renowned for being “category-free”; YouFab is open to work from all fields – from art, performance, product, service, architecture, community to any other multidisciplinary field.

Community Entry (YouFab 2019): In 2019, the YouFab Global Creative Award went to a community for the first time. Penta KLabs holds activities around participatory urban planning through art.
Architecture Entry (YouFab 2017): Minima | Maxima By MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY
Student Entry (YouFab 2018): Fusion, a body surrogacy system for collaborative communication.

All works, products and services past the planning stage will be accepted, and works can be physically or practically implemented, currently in operation or have already been published or released. Starting 2019, works done without digital production tools are also welcome.

Join the Global Community of Creators

Headed up by a young Japanese woman director, Chiaki Ishizuka, YouFab aims to build a platform that connects creators directly with society. As such, the award competition is open to creators from all around the world, regardless of age and nationality.

In taking part in YouFab, entrants become a part of an influential international community of creators who are pushing the boundaries on digital art and design. 

Besides collaborating and networking with other YouFab creators, Winners have gone on to win prestigious awards, and their works have received widespread press acclaim. Previous YouFab winners and judges include BBC 100 Women honoree Amy Karle, Forbes 30 under 30 Kazuya Kawasaki and Gerfried Stocker, artistic director of Ars Technica.

Diverse Judge Lineup

Kei Wakabayashi, Former editor-in-chief of Wired Japan, will resume his role as head judge for the competition. Joining Wakabayashi is a diverse panel of judges, including Kampire Bahana, one of East Africa’s most exciting DJs, and Steve Tidball, adventure athlete, designer and CEO of UK clothing company Vollebak.

One of Mixmag’s picks for Top Ten Breakthrough DJs of 2018, Kampire Bahana is a core member of Kampala’s Nyege Nyege collective. Hailing from Uganda, Kampire’s vibrant bass-heavy sets have transported her to clubs & festivals across the world, and her set on Boiler Room broadcast from Nyege Nyege festival garnered thousands of shares on Facebook. Kampire’s DJ mixes have been featured on Resident Advisor, Dekmantel and Fact Magazine, and she has been included as one the best mixes of 2019 on Pitchfork & Fact’s end of year lists. 

Tidball, who founded Vollebak in 2016 with his twin brother Nick, has won innovation awards from TIME, Fast Company and WIRED for Vollebak’s futuristic clothing. Vollebak has been compared to Tesla and elBulli for its radical commitment to the future.

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Kei Wakabayashi
Kei Wakabayashi was born in 1971 and spent his early childhood in London and New York. After graduating from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in French Studies at Waseda University, he joined Heibonsha, and became part of the editorial department for “Gekkan Taiyo.” In 2000, became an independent editor. Afterward, he edited a wide range of publications, including magazines, books, and exhibition records, and became active as a music journalist. He was assigned as the Chief Editor for the Japanese edition of “WIRED” in 2012, and left the post in 2017. In 2018, he launched blkswn publishers, Inc. and authored the book, “Sayonara Mirai” (Goodbye, Future), published by Iwanami Shoten (April​ 2018).

Kampire Bahana
Among East Africa’s most exciting DJs and a core member of Kampala’s Nyege Nyege collective, Kampire’s vibrant bass-heavy sets have transported her to clubs & festivals across the world.One of Mixmag’s picks for Top Ten Breakthrough DJs of 2018, Kampire’s set on Boiler Room broadcast from Nyege Nyege festival was a legitimate ‘internet moment’, with thousands of shares on Facebook leading to serious FOMO from electronic music fans watching online. Kampire’s DJ mixes have been featured on Resident Advisor, Dekmantel and Fact Magazine, which saw her chosen amongst the best mixes of 2019 on Pitchfork & Fact’s end of year lists. Her Rinse FM radio residency has seen her shine a light on other East African DJs & artists, including Hibotep, Faizal Mostrixx & Catu Diosis.

Steve Tidball
Steve Tidball is an adventure athlete, designer and CEO of Vollebak, which he founded in 2016 with his twin brother Nick. Over the last four years their clothing has won innovation awards from TIME, Fast Company and WIRED, and the brand has been compared to Tesla and elBulli for its radical commitment to the future. Prior to Vollebak the brothers spent 15 years in advertising. Working as Creative Directors at TBWA\London they designed the multi-award winning Floating House for Airbnb and the D Rose Jump Store for Adidas.

Historically Award-Winning Visuals

The stunning new 2020 main visual was created by Tokyo-based video director, artist and developer BAKU.

The visual last year was designed by American-based designer, programmer, educator and artist Zach Lieberman, one of the creators of openFrameworks, an open-source C++ tool that allows anyone to create visuals with code.

The main visual has won several prizes in previous years, including the One Show Award, the D&AD Award, and the NY ADC Award.

Special NewHere Prize

YouFab has partnered with the East Japan Railway Company to present this year’s special “NewHere Prize. The prize is calling for works that fall under the theme of “New Mobility”.

YouFab and JR are calling on creators to envision — in line with the main award theme of “Contactless” — what the future of transport and mobility looks like. From the vehicles that carry us and the services that induce and aid us to travel to the spaces people are travelling to and how to handle handle records of each individual, creators are encouraged to consider how to update the future of mobility to realize a society where  individuality is respected, connected, enriched and trust, 

The winner will be awarded a special certificate and $1,000 USD in prize money.

Selection Criteria

YouFab2020 looks for the most innovative, engaging, and meaningful designs among other criterias, from around the world, that uniquely implements and communicates clear messages that challenge the existing norms.

By innovative, we mean how you are thinking outside of the box, as well as how ambitious and creative you are with your design. We want to see how you are connecting bridges between various elements such as the environment, the society, the economy, and the political, with design. For example, what types of materials are you incorporating, and why? How are you creatively identifying your answer or reaction to the topic?

By engaging, we mean how you are engaging the audience’s imagination to reflect upon current events to understand our world today. How does your design open minds to speculate about our future? How does your design help your audience feel both independent and connected with society?

By meaningful, we mean the story you are executing, through your design. We want to know how and why you incorporated the messages behind your design, to understand the existing norms you are trying to challenge. What are you trying to say or do through your design? How are you as a designer and artist, connect the purpose and significance of your design with the audience?

The selection criteria are as follows:

  • Degree of innovation
  • Emotional engagement of message with audience
  • Level of creative interpretation of the theme
  • Overall quality of experience design
  • The open-mindedness communicated in the spirit of “Fab”

Entry Info

Submission dates: Saturday August 1, 2020 – 12:00pm JST Saturday October 31

Grand Prize: Kohei Nawa-designed trophy and US$2,000 

First Prize: Kohei Nawa-designed trophy and US $1,000

Student Prize: Certificate and US$500

Special NewHere Prize: Certificate and US$1,000

Go to YouFab Official Website

YouFab Global Creative Awards 2020

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