“Outside the Box” Competition

Today, in our forum, we discussed the possibility of a new competition which features unique designs that still retain a commercial feel. It was felt, by some, that a large majority of our templates are a bit “one note.” Ultimately, it comes down to what sells best. Generally, templates that are too “artsy” don’t perform extremely well. Having said that, there is definitely a market for custom “outside the box” templates that will still appeal to a large audience.

Before I officially launch this competition, I’d like the community to have as large a role as possible in this one.

  1. How would you prefer that we judge these themes? The goal is to make as many sales as possible. If the designs are too strange, no one will purchase them. We must remember this.
  2. Assuming we offered $1500 in cash prizes, how would you like this to be divided. Top 3 … Top 10?
  3. Should we limit the category to site templates only? I don’t feel that PSDs should be accepted for this competition. An amazing Photoshop design that is monstrously difficult to convert to HTML/CSS is worthless.

If you’re interested in participating in this competition, please take a moment and let me know your thoughts! I want the community to have a large and deciding roll this time — should be fun!


  • iPad says:

    Here’s my opinion

    1.- The themes have to be judge by the community on Nettuts
    2.- I think Top 3 considering the hard work they have to do that means 500$ each
    3.- Definitely you should we limit the category to site templates only.

    That’s what I personally think. ;) Good luck everyone

  • Mabuc says:

    My Thoughts of this:

    1. Let the envato reviewer decide how they choose the unique design template. or a voting system.
    2. $1500 should be divided into top 3 only 10 are too many.
    3. we should only limit this in site templates.

  • I Think :

    1. Need to decide with sales ( templates which sells more and that should be out side box template not regular kind ).
    2. Top 3.
    3. only site templates category.

  • Brandon says:

    Awesome competition idea – I know the community is stoked that you’re listening closely to us and I see this as a great opportunity for the talented authors to show off what they’ve got. My suggestions:

    1) Offer a hybrid judging system. Community votes + batches of votes awarded based on sales – ie: 1st place in sales = +100 votes ; 2nd place = +50 votes ; 3rd place is decided only by community votes. I think sales should play a strong role simply because they’ll decide whether or not these “unique” designs are actually useful to the community of buyers.

    2) I like the idea of splitting the top 3 winners evenly; $500 to each.

    3) Limit to Site Templates so everyone is on equal footing.

  • Daan says:

    Hi Jeff, great that you’re so quick ;)

    1. Maybe put together a small judging panel (known designers?) that judges every template on originality, whilst still remaining good design principles.
    This system, because very often “community votes” turn out to be nothing more than a popularity contest..

    2. $1500; 1st: $750, 2nd: $500, 3rd: $250.. Or $500 each is fine too ;)

    3. By default, themes that are “extremely difficult to convert to markup”, do not get accepted, and I guess the theme has to be accepted first. Therefore, you could offer the ability to design PSD templates as well, as they do not require coding skills. From experience, I know not all GREAT designers here have coding skill, so requiring this to enter will limit a lot of designers to do “out of the box DESIGNS”, and I did that in uppercase because the competition is about design still, not about code.

  • Marko says:

    1. Wow! Design, Grid, Organization, serves the purpose, usability, message across, pleasing.

    2. Top3

    3. Site templates

  • Arthur says:

    1. Let envato decide the winner just like the New Year’s competition. Community Voting is a good idea too.

    2. Top 3 for $500 each. If you can stretch your prizes to $2500 for Top 5, then great. More chances of winners means more entries.

    3. Site templates only.

  • Kriesi says:

    1) Most sellling templates win. The template must of course be approved as out of the box template by envato. We have seen lots of competition during the last months and never did the best selling template win :P

    2.) top3: 750, 500, 250

    3.) Site Templates

  • Kevinsturf says:

    1. I say let the community and envato staff judge.
    2. Top 3
    3. Only site templates

  • Mark Dijkstra says:

    Here’s my opinion

    1.- The themes have to be judge by the community on Nettuts and envato staff judge.
    2.- Top 3 ( 1st: $750, 2nd: $500, 3rd: $250.)
    3.- Definitely you should we limit the category to site templates only.


  • saurabh shah says:

    1) Dont care about judge …. Be sure that it will be fair
    2) Top 3 –
    1st prize : $1500 (with Html/Css) / $1000(without Html/Css)
    2nd prize: $500
    3rd prize : $500
    3) Site templates (if u choose..)

  • Bryce says:

    You could possibly have a panel consisiting of well-known graphic artists and web designers, and maybe to a Dancing With the Stars and combine their votes with sales rankings

  • U says:

    1. same as others..

    2. and 3. : The prize could be divided up amongst two categories the best PSD and the best Template, thus making it interesting to participate in both and also giving both designers and coders a chance of participating.

  • I’m so glad my thread in the forums has sparked a new competition! :D

    Let’s keep it simple:

    1. Envato chooses. If you DO decide to allow community voting, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get a polling system, not another “Leave your vote as a comment in this blog post”. ;)

    2. I like the Top 3 tier idea ($750, $500, $250)

    3. Site templates ONLY to keep everyone on the same level. No WordPress, PSD, etc. PSD templates won’t get as much credit when compared to a jQuery powered click-able site-template. It’s just a fact. If you’re JUST a designer and you’ve got a great idea, get someone to code it for you.

    Can’t wait!

  • Jônatan Fróes says:

    1. Envato staff judge.
    2. Top 3 (1st: $750, 2nd: $500, 3rd: $250.)
    3. Site templates only.

  • Jeff says:

    I think it’s a great idea:

    1. Judged by Evato, meybe you can do something funky with page votes/polls or similar.
    2. Top 3 purely because it’d make it worthwhile and hopefully see better quality submissions
    3. Site templates only. Doing this ensures/shows that the winner is super-talented in both their design and coding practices – something I can only dream of!!


  • Alex Hughes says:

    1. Judging done by Themeforest reviewers. As they do a pretty good job judging templates ever day.

    2. Prizes.

    1. $750 – Featured Item & Author.
    2. $500
    3. $250

    3. Site Templates only.

  • Adam says:

    Awesome idea.

    1. Most selling template (after the reviewers accepted it, the template which will sell the most will win)
    2. Top 3
    3. Site templates only.

  • Alex Vorn says:

    1. Envato staff judge.
    2. Top 3 (1st: $1300, 2nd: $200, 3rd: $0.)
    3. Site templates only.

  • Stephanie says:

    Great contest idea!! Here is my opinion:

    1. Winners chosen by top sales. We should only consider files that are submitted with a note saying it is a part of the contest.

    2. I like the top 3 tiered idea

    3. Definitely only site templates. You can do some crazy unique things in Photoshop that would be next to impossible to code. Plus, keeping the contest in one category will level the playing field.

  • Mondre says:

    I agree with Site Templates being judged for the contest.

    Do you think a winner should be chosen by the most sold and not by the design?

    This might get the designers to borrow from the most selling design trend again and not completely follow the “Out of Box” idea. Choosing a winner based on unique design without other conditions would get some awesome designs to the competition.

    We can all learn from which ever sells fast from there on.

  • Tincho says:

    1. Envato pre-select the best 10, then the 3 best sellers win

    1. Top 3 (600 , 500, 400)

    3. Site templates

  • Jimmyme says:

    If this is a template for the month of July for example..

    Consider the ratio if we judge on most sales as the winner. like sales per day. It would be unfair if the competition starts in July, the template that is accepted by July 1 of course will have more sales than the one accepted by July 30.

    Just judge it the way you judge the New Year’s competition. I think that was fair.

  • Amli says:

    1. Winners chosen by top sales.

    2. Prizes. $750, 2. $500, 3. $250

    3. Site Templates only

  • 1. Envato staff judge.
    2. Top 3 (1st: $750, 2nd: $500, 3rd: $250.)
    3. Site templates only.

  • Sarah says:

    1. Best selling templates

    2. Top 3

    3. Site Templates only

  • Mondre says:

    1. Community Votes and Envato Judges on Design and Usability
    2. Top 3 $750, $500 and $250
    3. Site Templates only

  • Amber Turner says:

    1. I think the designs should be judged on how they approach the site design in a unique manner–still meets the needs that the templates sell for but has something different with them.

    2. Top 3. $750 1st, $375 for 2nd and 3rd.

    3. I think they should strictly be HTML/CSS coded. We know that you can do cool stuff in Wordpress/Joomla/Drupal, etc. Thus I think submissions should be limited only to HTML/CSS templates.

  • The website design which would suit the more and more appealing designs should be voted.

    Regarding the prize money. i think you should divide it as follows:

    First prize: 600
    Second prize: 450
    Third prize: 200
    Consolation: 50
    Consolation: 50
    Consolation: 50
    Consolation: 50
    Consolation: 50

    If you ask me why the consolation prize? Well the answer is simple. To make sure much more of the community gets involved and interested resulting in more sales.

  • dynumo_interactive says:

    Does site templates include us who make templates for things like Joomla? As that is no walk in the park either…

  • Daan says:

    Just some new idea I just had.. Too bad it also has a downside though.

    Why not create a fictional client? By specifying the goal, use, etc of the design, people will have a easier way designing the thing. It’ll also be much easier to judge, as you can have as another criteria:
    “Who followed the project specifications best, and with those remained a creative, out of the box design?”
    Another advantage is, when creating a fictional client, you really NEED to make a design that remains sellable, so the output will be great for sales!

    The downside is that you might be limiting people to one part of design too much, and that people won’t participate.

  • Jenna says:

    1) I think they should be judged by Envato and the community and NOT based on sales. Unfortunately, some authors are not exclusive which means they do not get as much exposure (e.g. they do not feature in the “Recent items” lists) on TF. This will inevitably impact their sales and will be an unfair statistic to judge.

    2) 3 winners and prize money SHOULD NOT be split evenly. What’s the point in coming first if you just get the same as 2nd and 3rd place? So, 1st: $750, 2nd: $500 and 3rd: $250.

    3) Site templates only

  • jimmyme says:

    1.Envato staff judge.
    2. Top 5. 700, 400, 200, 100, 100
    3. Site Templates only

  • Lukas Orgovan says:

    1. My opinion is, that envato team should consider top 10 sites and comunity schould choose TOP 3

    2. TOP 3 – 600, 500, 400

    3. Site templates only

  • Erik says:

    Rahul – Web Guru

    ^^ I agree with him.

  • A theme may not have outside the box design but still can beat any other theme with it’s features that buyers may need.

    We see many examples of that on TF. So my personal idea is, maybe you add a little widget for each time for voting during the competition period. Like “vote + for outside the box design” on item maybe?

    1st $750, 2nd $500, 3rd $250.

  • iwpdesign says:

    When we start ? :)

  • Al says:

    1. top 10 authors (by sales amount on site templates) choose top 10, and
    then of those choose the top 3 (if one of the top 10 wants to enter the
    contest, then they are ineligible to act as a judge (of course)).

    2. Top 3 ($750 , $500, $250)

    3. Site templates


  • jonathan Atkinson says:

    1 – envato reviewers judge only (you can’t go off of sales on something like this)

    2 – top 3 ($750 – $500 – $250)

    3 – site templates only

  • Clark says:

    I think the staff should pick a few finalist then hold a poll where the community decides. I think a full on community election would be fun!

  • Amy says:

    I agree with Jenna

  • Jacob Yap says:

    Great idea! Agree with Jenna too :)