Hugo Awards Logo Contest

The Hugo Award Logo Design Contest is now closed.. Do not submit new entries, as we will not consider them. The judges have selected a winner, and we will unveil the winning design at Anticipation, the 2009 World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal, on the night of Sunday, August 9 during the 2009 Hugo Awards Ceremony. The contest announcement and rules below are included for archival purposes.

You can become a part of Worldcon history by designing the official logo for The Hugo Award. Although the rocket atop the Hugo Award has been one of the most visible signs of excellence in science fiction and fantasy for more than fifty years, there has never been an official logo to designate works as Hugo Award nominees or winners. The World Science Fiction Society now aims to change that by soliciting designs for such a logo, with the winning design to be the official logo suitable for use in the publishing and film/television industries.


The designer of the winning entry will receive a $500 cash prize (sponsored by SCIFI), a glass trophy featuring the winning design, a membership to an upcoming Worldcon, signed copies of Neil Gaiman’s Hugo Award-winning novel American Gods and novella Coraline and the collection Fragile Things, including the Hugo Award-winning short story “A Study in Emerald.” The winning designer will also have the right to use the logo and identify him/herself as its creator.

How to Enter

Submit entries by email to Submit all entries as a scalable vector graphic in EPS format, and also as a JPG. See the Submission Guidelines for detailed instructions.

Include in your submission e-mail the name, age, postal address, phone number and email address of the Entrant.

There is no fee to enter the Contest; however, there is a maximum of 3 Entries per Entrant.

Read the Official Rules before submitting entries; in case of any confusion or discrepancies, the Official Rules govern the contest.

Entry Deadline

The deadline for Entries is midnight (one minute after 23:59) on May 31st, 2009, Pacific Daylight Time. (That is 07:00 June 1 UTC.)

We will attempt to acknowledge all entries within one week of receipt; however, we cannot be responsible for entries or responses lost in e-mail.


Entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges consisting of:
Irene Gallo (Art Director at Tor Books and
Neil Gaiman (3 time Hugo Award winning writer)
Chip Kidd (Graphic Designer/Writer/Editor)
Geri Sullivan (Fan & Graphic Design pro)

The judges have been appointed by the World Science Fiction Society’s Hugo Awards Marketing Committee, and the final decision on a winning logo design will be made by the Committee after consultation with the Judging Panel.

Official Rules

See the full list of Official Rules for all conditions and disclaimers.


If you have questions about the rules or other aspects of the contest, leave them as comments below or write to Although we will attempt to answer all questions, we cannot guarantee a reply.

33 thoughts on “Hugo Awards Logo Contest

  1. Hi, my name is John Hornor Jacobs and I’ve tried sending in my entry files to the email address, but I keep getting this error.

    (reason: 550 sorry, mail to that recipient is not accepted (#5.7.1))

    —– Transcript of session follows —–
    … while talking to
    >>> DATA
    <<< 550 sorry, mail to that recipient is not accepted (#5.7.1)
    550 5.1.1 … User unknown
    451 4.4.1 reply: read error from

  2. Yikes! We typoed our own address, which ends in .org, not .com. Six different people proofread that page and we all missed it. Anyway, we’ve fixed the page, and we thank you for helping us correct it so quickly.

  3. AWESOME! I just quadruple dog dared a friend of mine to enter, he said he will if I enter to I’m going to give it a go!
    Awesome idea guys!

  4. Where can we find older Hugo logo’s? I don’t mean to copy but to imagine the requirements.

  5. Why don’t you hire a graphic designer like a real organization would?

  6. A contest is a way to involve fans, get a lot of diverse, interesting entries, and possibly to give a budding graphic designer a leg up. And I would be surprised if there weren’t at least a few ‘real designers’ who submit entries because this is something they’re interested in.

    It’s also a lot cheaper than hiring a ‘real designer’.

  7. Many organizations can’t afford to hire a graphic designer, and if they did they would only have a limited selection of designs from the one designer. Opening up the contest to the general public is a great way of not only involving supporters but also increasing public support.

  8. To: A Real Designer…
    That’s a bit harsh. This is an opportunity for people to get involved with an organisation and see what they are about. It spreads their name out there. Also it allows people like myself to get out there and try win a fab prize. Mostly it’s a bit of fun. I think of these sorts of things as Blue Peter for adults. Why not? I mean raising awareness, having a laugh, chewing the fat with other designers sounds like a great idea.

  9. It’s true that you get a lot more submissions in a contest, but a high percentage of those are going to be dross.

    Instead of one firm working 50 hours to solve the problem in the most successful way, you have 1000 people working for one hour. There’s less commitment, less expertise, and a high chance that they’ll have to get the thing re-done professionally later anyways.

    The other problem with contests is that you’re almost guaranteed that a flashy direction will get picked– since it takes flashiness to stand out from hundreds of submissions– even when a flashy design would be wholly inappropriate.

  10. I’m disappointed to see yet another “contest” like this. It devalues the work of professionals. I’m especially sad to see Neil promoting it.

  11. @Neil Fan: I’ve worked a lot with graphic designers and seen some of the behaviour that seems to have prompted the negative reaction from many designers. So I understand where they are coming from and that the concern is justified.

    That said, I don’t think it applies in this case — WSFS and the Hugo Awards are fan-run operations where all the work is done on a voluntary basis. These are people who send considerable amounts of their free time (and often money out of their own pockets) to promote the things they love. I don’t think it’s at all unfair to ask other people who might also be interested in doing something to participate in the contest (which is a real contest, by the way, so your quotes are misplaced) — nobody who thinks it’s not a good use of their time has to attend, of course, and the Hugos arent so widely known a brand that I don’t think any new and impressionable designers would be “tricked” into participating just for a possibility of working with the brand.

    I think this is a case where many professionals who don’t know the fandom circles have jumped the gun. But don’t take my word for it — maybe the fact that Neil (and the design professionals in the jury) have chosen to participate should tell you they understand something you don’t about this particular case.

  12. Tero, thank you for putting it so clearly.

    The nospec campaign is fine for what it is, but it is not relevant to fandom. If you don’t like it, then don’t participate, but don’t browbeat fans who want to participate in their own contest for their own purposes!

    Next thing you know they will start criticizing amateur fan writers and artists for “giving away” their work.

  13. “Next thing you know they will start criticizing amateur fan writers and artists for “giving away” their work.”

    That won’t happen b/c it’s not analogous: fan writing can be shopped around, a design of a specialized symbol can’t.

    If Hugo is the exception to the questionable ethics of creative service contests as I keep hearing over and over, then I’d expect Hugo to be selling that angle. They sell it like any other contest holder: “this gives a designer a head start”, etc. Just like all others it’s packaged as good fun, and even proportionately beneficial between parties.

    Hugo is an umbrella org for a creative sector that is a cousin to design. Hugo certainly deserves it’s fan support, so it’s not quite picking on Hugo alone. I think those that are putting a frown on this are trying to slow the widespread perception that design contests are a healthy first resort to take advantage of for anyone. Most are grossly exploitive and go to extra lengths to be extra-exploitive in the fine print. So to hear Hugo, part of the overall greater creative services brethren adopt the usual “It’s fun for the designers, they’ll enjoy it” tone is (to me) a bit sad and insensitive.

    Designers have good reason to keep their market value strong, and I think that’s all their doing here.

  14. I’m afraid you’ve out-clevered yourselves on the End date.

    What you’ve actually set it as is 2400, 30-May-2009; that is, while you *say* May 31st, entries may not actually be *submitted* on May 31st, as the deadline is past.

    If you mean 2359 on 31-May (which is more sensible), that’s probably how you should phrase it — never set deadlines at midnight; this is why insurance companies don’t do it.

    See you in Montreal!

  15. Baylink:

    That is why the actual words in the rules are “midnight (one minute after 23:59) on May 31st, 2009” in order to clarify that we mean 2400 on May 31 (end of the day), not 0000 (beginning of the day).

    No matter how you plan to quibble about it, we’ll accept any entries submitted on May 31 (Pacific Daylight Time, which is UTC – 7). If you prefer, that’s 0700 June 1 UTC. Thank you, however, for leading me to note that we said “Standard” when we meant “Daylight.” I’ve fixed it.

  16. Lon:

    Yes, you may enter individually. The restriction on “companies” entering doesn’t apply to the individuals employed by or who own those companies.

  17. Amateur art contests have a long tradition. As long as everyone knows up front what the terms are — specifically what rights the entrants are granting to whom — and is comfortable with those terms, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

    Yes, a contest will produce a relatively small percentage of seriously interesting material. As long as the organizers are willing to spend the time wading through the “slush pile” looking for those few, that’s fine too. And if they don’t find anything good enough, I’m sure they have sense enough to shrug, award the prize, and then continue looking for something which does meet their needs… either contributed or commissioned.

    If you aren’t sufficiently amused by the game, don’t play… but I don’t see any reason to attack it. It’s in no way a threat to the pros, or an exploitation of the amateurs. And the two groups do sometimes overlap.

    Paraphrasing Walt Kelly’s characters: “Don’t take life so serious, son. It ain’t nohow permanent.”

  18. Would love to see some of the entries posted once the judges have made their selection. If not all of them at least the top ten or so.

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