More than 100,000 entries. Millions and millions of votes cast. World-class judges. Five months of fierce competition. At stake: spoils and riches beyond the wildest imagination…velvet rope-parting glories…endless tributes fit for a Roman emperor. A champion crowned and a hero born.
No, my friends, this is no mere mortal contest. This is Doodle 4 Google 2011.
Every year, thousands of K-12 students submit drawings to Google with hope of winning the ultimate prize: having their doodles featured as the Google.com homepage logo. But there's more at stake beyond the admiration of your peers and the impressions of zillions of Google visitors.
"I don't know if these kids are really aware of the magnitude of partnering with a company like Google," says Olympic gold medalist and world champion Evan Lysacek, a guest judge for Google. "For me, because I've grown up and watched Google develop and grow and conquer the market, it's amazing for me even in the tiny role that I have in this competition. For these kids to be partnering with a company as powerful as Google, it's something I hope they can put on the resume for the rest of their lives."
"Maybe [you'll] join our team some day," said Google VP Marissa Mayer at the Doodle 4 Google 2011 event Thursday. "You've already had your work seen by more people than many famous artists."
But not all contestants can be so fortunate. With more than 107,000 submissions, Google whittled down the competition to 400 finalists, then 40 regional finalists, and finally, one national winner.
For those looking forward to 2012, Fast Company got the scoop on what Google is looking for.
"The ones that to me overall had the most clarity were the ones that I voted the highest. I think the key is honesty—the ones who went with what they're heart told them to doodle," says Lysacek. "It's hard to compare to the pressure of the Olympics, but I did really quite a sense of responsibility because there wasn't a single doodle that was not deserving of being a winner."
"What I was looking for was clarity," echoes judge Jeff Kinney, acclaimed author and illustrator, perhaps best known for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. "You need to get it right away, and you need to see the Google logo in it. I wasn't necessarily going on artistic merit so much as I was going on the theme and idea behind it, and then the execution."
"Take your time, but don't really think about it too much," adds one father, whose daughter is a two-time finalist.
Got that, kids?
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