Design Challenge: Gaming Coasters

Ponoko Design Contest

Ponoko Design Contest - Gaming Coasters

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The Design Brief

Our make-believe company Ficticious Games Inc. has come to you and said: “We want coasters to sell on our website and giveaway at an upcoming gaming conference. And we need your design ideas within the next 10 days!

Ficticious want you to design a set of four coasters to fit its target market needs:

The Brand: Ficticious Games Inc. provides software tools for gaming designers and developers. It also sells gaming-related merchandise on its website (and gives it away at conferences).

The Event: Game Developers Conference is “the world’s largest professional game industry event.”

The Audience: You are designing for gaming developers, designers and players. (See gaming themes on GooglePinterest, Instructables and Etsy.)

The Product: A set of four laser cut coasters designed to meet all aspects of this design brief. (See laser cut coaster examples on Google, Pinterest, Instructables and Etsy.)

Product Purpose: To sell on the Ficticious merchandise website; To draw crowds of people to the Ficticious booth at events; To give away to 500 lucky conference attendees; To create social buzz for Ficticious.

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The Prizes: $2,470 Free Laser Cutting

1st Place – Judge’s Choice: $1,068 Free Laser Cutting 
$600 Ponoko voucher + $468 Ponoko 12 months of Prime (55% off laser cutting).

2nd Place – Judge’s Choice: $868 Free Laser Cutting
$450 Ponoko voucher + $468 Ponoko 12 months of Prime (55% off laser cutting).

3rd Place – People’s Choice: $534 Free Laser Cutting
$300 Ponoko voucher + $234 Ponoko 6 months of Prime (55% off laser cutting).

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How To Win (Judging Criteria)

Design is all about balance. The winning designs will have the most market potential for Ficticious, based on a smart balance of these three traits of successful commercial product design:

Production Feasibility

Can your design actually be made (at scale) and used by real Ficticious fans?
Your design needs to be:
1. Formatted for lasers (use these design guidelines).
2. Ready to sell (no assembly or finishing required).
3. Functional as a coaster.

Product / Market Fit

Does your design achieve all aspects of the Ficticious brief above?
Your design needs to be:
1. Remarkable to your audience (gaming designers, developers and players).
2. Something users feel they can’t do without.
3. Original.

Profitable And Competitive Pricing

Does your design minimize cost so Ficticious can set a retail price at least 4x the cost?
Using these cost reduction guidelines your design needs to be:
1. Efficient: Simple straight line shapes cost less than complex curved line shapes.
2. Nested: Share cutting lines, place parts close together, inside other parts.
3. Engraving Savvy: Small simple areas close together cost less than big complex stuff.


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Design Requirements

Step 1: Create Your Laser Design File

– Use a vector design software tool such as Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, Corel, etc.
– Fit all four coasters inside a 7.1” x 7.1″ square.
– Use blue line for cut line; red line for line engrave; black fill for area engrave (raster).

Ponoko Design Contest - Gaming Coaster Design Example

Step 2: Apply Your Material Color

– Select (from here) the material from which you wish to make your coasters.
– Copy/paste your laser design, then apply your material’s color to the copy.
– In these examples we’ve selected the Aqua Acrylic and Amber Bamboo:

Ponoko Design Contest - Gaming Coaster Design Example Acrylic

Ponoko Design Contest - Gaming Coaster Design Example

Step 3: Submit Your Screenshot

– Screenshot your laser design and material image side by side (see examples above).
Submit the JPG or PNG screenshot as your design entry (no vector design needed).

Helpful Info

– Each of the four individual coasters in the set can be the same or different.
– If submitting multiple entries, each entry must be a completely unique design.
– Coasters don’t have to be round, blue or brown (like our basic examples above).

Go wild!

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How It Works


Design Submissions And Voting Are Open!
– Design a set of four coasters that achieve the design brief, the judging criteria, plus the design requirements above.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 13, 2018 at 11:59 pm PT

Design Submissions Close (While Voting Continues)
Submit a JPG or PNG screenshot of both your laser and material designs side by side.
– Answer the questions within the submission form below.
– Share your entry so others will vote for you (optional, but useful if you wish to win).
– Your “” email will display publicly as “”.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 20, 2018 at 11:59 pm PT

Voting Closes And Judges Deliberate
– All entries are open for People’s Choice voting now plus seven days after the entry submission deadline of October 13, 2018.


Winners Announced
– 1st and 2nd Judge’s Choice winners are determined by a panel of Ponoko team members.
– 3rd People’s Choice winner is determined by the popular vote.
– Winners will be emailed first, then announced here and by our media partners.

Design Challenge Rules And Guidelines
– Enjoy reading the details over here.

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Media Partners

Say thanks to our partners who are promoting your design entries far and wide:

product design hub

Interaction Design Foundation

In addition to promoting this design challenge, the world’s largest UX design learning community is giving you Three Months Free UX Design Education.
design mark graphics

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