Entry Guidelines

Past Winners

Submission Deadline:
June 19, 2015

Museums Publications Design Competition

All museums are eligible to enter the Alliance's annual design competition. The winners, determined by a jury, will be featured in the November/December Awards issue of Museum magazine.


  • Publications must be produced between Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2014.
  • Any noncommercial cultural institution offering exhibits to the public may participate.
  • Commercial designers, galleries and publishing interests are not eligible.
  • Entrants need not be Alliance members.
  • A publication is defined as material reproduced in printed form for distribution to the public.
  • T-shirts, buttons, banners, tote bags and the like are not eligible. Only the finished product is submissible (no mock-ups or proofs).
  • Slides, transparencies and photographs of entries are not eligible.

About the Competition

For more than 26 years, the Alliance has recognized and encouraged excellence in the graphic design of museum publications through the Museum Publications Design Competition, the only national, juried competition of its kind. Winners are chosen for their overall design excellence, creativity and ability to express an institution’s personality, mission or special features. The panel of judges includes graphic designers, museum professionals and publishers.

Judges award the Frances Smyth-Ravenel Prize for Excellence in Publication Design to the best publication in the competition. The judges have sole authority over all decisions, including whether and how to award first and second prizes and awards of merit in each of the 15 categories.

Competing institutions are divided according to budget: museums with annual operating budgets under $750,000 and those with budgets of $750,000 or more.