Design the next Design Notebook

The Design Notebook has been popular and now it’s time to start the design contest for a brand-new notebook! Next January, a design notebook will be published again instead of the traditional academic year calendar of TOKYO and AYY. The notebook published at the beginning of the year can be used as a bullet journal like a calendar, as a traditional notebook or even as a diary. We hope that the notebook is useful to more and more members of the Aalto community.
Design Notebook 2021

Students of Art, Design and Architecture in Aalto University (TOKYO) has published the Design Calendar since 1975. The project is organised together with Aalto University Student Union (AYY) for the fifth time. 

The designer will be chosen traditionally in a contest from among the students and the winning designer will be paid. The previous design contest was won by Janne Gammelin, Visual Communication Design MA Student, who designed the previous design notebook that was published in autumn 2021. Again, the design notebook is timeless and will not expire after the end of the academic year. 

Are you the designer that we are looking for? The contest will start on Wednesday, 14 Sept 2022. Please submit your entry no later than Wednesday, 5 Oct 2022 at 3 pm! 


Contest rules: 

1. Contest duration and the right to participate 

The contest will begin on 14 Sept 2022 and end at 3 pm on 5 Oct 2022. 

The contest is open to all Aalto University students. Fluent skills in Finnish or English are required in order to execute the notebook design. 


2. Submission of proposals 

Entries must be submitted no later than 3 pm on 5 Oct 2022. Contest proposals must be handed in at AYY’s Service Office (Otakaari 11, note the opening hours) by Wednesday 5 October 2022 at 3 pm. You can also submit your entry by e-mail as a pdf file titled “Design Notebook” to viestinta(a) 

To ensure anonymity, the proposals should be accompanied by a working title and a sealed envelope labelled with an alias, containing the name(s) of the designer(s) and their contact details. The proposal must be attached onto white cardboard or board. If you are submitting by email, please add a working title to the document you are submitting. Please include the designers’ names and contact information in the email message field. 


3. Content of the design 

The entry must include at least the following designs: 

·         notebook cover  

·         notebook spread  

·         student union information pages  

·         possible tracker, to-do list, project calendar, weekly calendar or other suitable section for a notebook  

·         suggestion of materials  

The size of the design notebook is slightly narrower A5, 125x195 or 125x198. Flexibility will be specified depending on the final design and the printing house. Notebook pages should be presented in their actual size. 

Colour: The notebook begins and ends with four-colour announcement and info sections. The notebook section and part of the info section are in two colours. 

Printing volume: 6,000-8,000 notebook copies will be printed.  

Language: Finnish, English and Swedish (info pages and other text). The main language may be English but trilingualism is a plus. 

The choice of materials may need to be changed due to the limitations imposed by the printing house and the project budget. 

4. Choosing the winner 

The winner of the notebook contest will be chosen by a jury appointed by AYY and TOKYO. The jury consists of representatives of representatives of AYY and TOKYO as well as a specialist member on visual communication design. Those invited to the jury cannot participate in the contest. The jury will give feedback on the entries and select the winner. 

5. Winner’s commission 

The winner or winners of the contest will be ordered a final design for the implementation of the notebook published in January 2023. The final design work will take place in October-December 2022. The designer will be paid a fee of EUR 1,800. The person with the second-best entry will be paid a prize of EUR 150.  

6. Content of the design work 

The design work includes making print-ready files in cooperation with AYY’s communications sector. If necessary, offers facilities for working at its office at Otakaari 11. The final design must take into account the customer’s requirements due to the usability of the notebook and the production costs. It is also the designer’s responsibility to modify the announcement section into a publishable format if necessary. Other terms for the work will be agreed in more detail when signing the contract. 

7. Other issues 

The design should take into account the following features: user-friendliness, durability, clarity and accessibility (taking into account dyslexia, for example), originality and environmental friendliness. An ideal notebook works for many different purposes and serves Aalto students in many ways. 

Good features of a calendar include plenty of writing space, paper that suits all types of pens and durable cover material. 

The jury will emphasise the following when evaluating contest entries: 

♡ The notebook should look and feel like the whole Aalto community. 

♡ The jury also emphasises the quality of the presentation. What does the notebook look like? How does it work? Please present your entry in a sensible rhythm. Also present the materials, paper types, fonts and colours you have used. However, visual look is more important than the chosen materials. Please avoid the jargon of graphic designers. 

♡ What is special about your notebook? Please ensure that the jury understands the new and amazing features of your notebook. Explain and describe how the notebook works. Justify your solutions briefly and concisely. 

♡ Have you thought your entry through? Lead the jury’s imagination by submitting an assertive entry. The entry is not a finished notebook but present it as such.  

♡ Do you have what it takes to complete the project? Your graphic design skills and the ability to turn your proposal into a finished product must be apparent from your entry. You do not have to be a graphic designer but the work requires knowledge and experience in printing technology. Please submit your entry on time  – being late suggests that the notebook itself will be delayed. 

For further information, please contact AYY’s Communications Specialist Julia Wihuri (julia.wihuri(a)ayy) or Visual Communications Specialist Maria Tuunanen (maria.tuunanen(a) 

You can read more about the calendar and its history on the TOKYO website: 

You can find more information about the work of the last year’s winner Janne Gammelin on AYY’s website: 

Have fun with design! 

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