How to elevate your creative work onto the world stage

YCN recently announced its call for entries for the 2014 YCN Professional Awards. The aim? To shine a light on the freshest creative talent around the world.

If you graduated or started working within the last eight years, YCN invites you to submit your best client projects (published or released no later than 31 March 2013) to the awards, before the closing date of 21 May 2014.

Canadian artist and designer Anthony Gerace created the Call for Entries print visuals

Canadian artist and designer Anthony Gerace created the Call for Entries print visuals

Categories include brand identity, design for print, digital design, illustration, photography and animation – and individuals, teams or studios collectively can enter. You'll find the full eligibility criteria on the YCN Awards website.

Last year, Studio Moross and Computer Arts cover illustrator Eiko Ojala were among the 25 winners, selected from a pool of entries submitted from over 35 different countries. That's an impressive international reach for any awards scheme, let alone one in its first year – as the YCN Professional Awards were in 2013 – and one YCN hopes to repeat this year.

Star-studded jury

Work submitted to the YCN Professional Awards will be judged by an international panel of world-class designers, creatives and commissioners, with the likes of Vince Frost, Noma Bar, Craig Ward, Morag Myerscough and APFEL's Emma Thomas and Kirsty Carter all considering entries alongside representatives from Pentagram, Mother London, Leo Burnett, The Guardian, Ogilvy & Mather, BBDO, Nokia, M&C Saatchi and other leading design studios and creative agencies.

Another image from the Call for Entries print advertising campaign

Another image from the Call for Entries print advertising campaign

Winners will be announced in July and presented with their awards during a special event in London's Shoreditch House, and all winning work will be showcased in a special printed publication.

We took five with YCN founder Nick Defty to find out more about what the YCN Professional Awards 2014 are all about - and why you should care…

What's different about the YCN Professional Awards?

We launched the programme last year to create a platform for the freshest creative talent at work around the world. We believed there was a good opportunity to do so, and that YCN was perfectly positioned to produce something great.

We've tried to make things simple and accessible; and to curate a jury with a genuine breadth of creative specialism and interest.

Why should young creatives enter their work to the scheme?

The purpose of our programme is to elevate outstanding new work. We believe we achieve this through an Awards mechanic by socialising entries among an extensive jury; and then further so by showcasing the best of them through our editorial channels digitally and in print.

One of the best aspects of last year's programme was bringing together all of the winners in London to meet, eat and drink with each other.

What were the most surprising countries you received submissions from last year?

The most remote was a Caribbean island called Bequia; part of St Vincent and the Grenadines. We are hosting live jury days, through our partnership with the Soho House group, in London, Toronto, New York and Berlin and are hoping to get as international a spread of work as possible once more.

What would you say to those who question the value of industry awards schemes?

We believe that, when well designed and well organised, award programmes are a great way to elevate and celebrate positive and effective creativity. I think the cynicism stems from the often high expense of entering.

Can you give any advice to creatives entering the Awards this year ?

This year's programme is all about entering projects rather than portfolios. So we'd say choose the projects you're proudest of, show them in their best light — sharing as much as you can to show off what you've done.

Is there anything else we should know about the 2014 YCN Professional Awards?

The deadline for entries is 21 May, and YCN Members pay a discounted entry price. One of the plentiful benefits of joining YCN!

YCN stands for You Can Now. Born in 2001, the membership organsiation is dedicated to helping creative people do new things. Find out more about the benefits of joining here.

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Julia Sagar
Editor-in-chief retail

Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future Ltd, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar. She's been writing about art, design and technology for over 15 years.