Monday, February 7, 2011

Inque Nails Design Contest! DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 11:59PM PST, FEBRUARY 28th!

It's time for a contest! Last year, we held a contest for our readers to design our banner and it was so much fun to see what our readers submitted. (P.S. I still love the banner. A lot.) Now, we're going to give our readers another creative challenge:

A nail sticker collection design contest, sponsored by Inque Nails!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to design a collection of nails that will be sold at Inque. See, anyone and everyone is welcome to make their own custom nails that Inque will print up and ship to you personally. But not everyone gets to have their collection sold by Inque on their website.

And who will choose the winning collection? Our readers! Of course. :)

The winner will not only see their creative nail sticker vision sold and worn by others, they will -- as all Inque guest artists do -- get paid a 10% commission for every set Inque sells (paid quarterly). The winner will also their choice of six sets of Inque nails for free!

The three runners-up will receive their choice of three sets of Inque nails each. :)

(There may be other goodies in store for our talented winner and runners-up but those details are yet to be determined.)

Here are the essential details:
  • This contest is open to all readers of the blog, from anywhere.
  • CONTEST HAS BEEN EXTENDED: it now ends on Monday, February 25th at 11:59pm PST (2:59am EST).
  • Your nail sticker design collection MUST contain at least 5 unique designs but no more than 20.
  • Readers may submit up to TWO collections
  • Submissions should be sent to polishorperish @ with the subject line: "INQUE CONTEST". Include your name (or what you want to be known as).
For those readers who want to submit two collections, this option is best if you have at least one collection with a well-defined theme. There, however, can be no overlap in unique designs between the two collections.

We do NOT encourage readers to submit two collections of 20 if both are a mishmash, just for the sake of getting in 40 nail designs. That being said, it's not really for us to judge if a collection has a "theme" or not.

You must own the images that you use for the nails (i.e. purchased or created) OR
You must be authorized to use those images for commercial purposes (i.e. images that are "free for private use" are not necessarily free for commercial use) OR
You are reasonably sure that copyright has expired on those images or were otherwise released to the public domain.

There are a ton of free photos out there, but just because it's found on Google, doesn't mean you can use it or alter it for your own gain. Similarly, images with Creative Commons licenses are not the same as public domain images: many CC license holders specify conditions under which you may use their work... and it's rarely "do whatever you want and don't give me credit."

No one is going to sit there and verify ownership of every image used, but those who steal or re-appropriate someone else's work as their own do so at their own risk.

Some resources to start from to figure out what you can or cannot use (if you don't want to pay for it):

How finalists, runners-up and winner will be determined:

Our banner contest last year got over a hundred submissions but we have no idea what the reader response to this particular contest will be. On one hand, we have more readers now than we did then... but then, it was only to design one banner, not a collection of 5-20 nail designs.

As it's highly impractical for readers to vote on more than 20 collections, we at Polish or Perish, along with the folks at Inque, will be making the first cut. We will choose the 15-20 semi-finalists that readers will then get to vote on.

How to design a set of nails:

1. Go to and go to the "Pick Out Some Nails!" link.

2. Click on "Create Your Own"

3. Choose the Long Nails option (it's easier to scale a pattern down or crop it than to scale it up and there are people of all nail lengths out there who might want to wear your designs!)

4. You will see a screen like this: play around with it to see what kinds of things you can do with it.

Be sure to click on the menus for adding an image, adjusting it and switching between hands!

5. Follow the instructions for uploading images to use and let your imagination run wild! Remember to use high quality images.

How to format your submission (IMPORTANT):

There is currently NO WAY TO SAVE YOUR WORK on Inque: once you close your browser, you will lose all your work. And you can only work on one set of nails at a time. You are responsible for keeping track of your images, how you placed the photos and what you want your finished product to look like. (If you win, either you or Inque will have to be able to reproduce the designs.)

In order to submit your work to us, you will have to take screenshots of the nails you have created using Inque's online app:
  • If your design is a pattern that is the same -- or virtually the same -- on both hands, you only have to take a screenshot of one of the hands AND a close up of a couple of the nails. It is assumed that both hands will feature the same pattern (i.e. the pattern for the right hand will be the same for the left hand).

  • If your design uses images or some other obviously non-repeating pattern (i.e. the nails are not all the same), please submit screenshots of BOTH hands, and close-ups of all the individual nails.
For those who do not know how to take screenshots:

Some submission-formatted examples I made up of photos I've found online

For nails that either have a repeating pattern (every nail is the same) or there are only very subtle differences (every nail looks like might be the same but isn't), please include:

A set of nails from one hand.

And close-up of a couple of the nails.

Adapted from a photo from Photos8 (a stock image site that allows the commercial use of its images -- or at least, that's what it looks like). It was originally straw-colored but I decided to turn it green. Because I like green.

If you are submitting a design that involves different images on every single nail, you must submit:

Screenshots of BOTH hands.

And close-ups of MOST, if not ALL, the nails:

Paintings by Alphonse Mucha (Winter, Spring) that are in the public domain, found on Wikimedia Commons.

For images that do not have a repeating pattern (but the nails look fairly similar to each other) and will be the same for the right and left hands, you only have to submit:

One hand of nails.

And one close-up of at least half of the nails.

Taken from photos available from the US Dept of Agriculture, whose photos are in the public domain.

And here's one set I really like that I'm going to claim that is being used here purely for instructional purposes, since I'm pretty sure the Whitney Museum is not going to give me permission to make these into nails. :(

So... here: example of a work (Hopper's Early Sunday Morning) that is not out of copyright (published after 1923). Made into nails, as an example of what kinds of screenshots should be submitted for patterns that have a repeating pattern with subtle but significant variations (but will be repeated across both hands... yes, I've already covered this):

One set of nails.

And a close-up of a couple of any of the nails.

  • Every nail design submission in a collection must be represented by a screenshot of at least one hand of nails and one close-up of at least two or three of the nails.
  • The more variation there is in your design, the more screenshots you will need.
  • When in doubt, take as many screenshots as you need to fully show off your talent! :D

I know this is quite a lot of info to keep track of. Before submitting your designs, please read over this page again to make sure that you are in accordance with the guidelines.

If you have questions about the CONTEST itself: please direct your questions to me (flinty). You can contact me through the form (link is on the top of the page).

If you have questions about using Inque's program or what they can or cannot print: please direct your questions to Inque (

Finally, some tips and tricks from Doug at Inque:

1) Use background images

a. If you are a designer, it is good to have a background texture with a primary image on the nail pattern.

i. The primary image can have a transparent background allowing the wallpaper image to fill the rest of the nails

2) Use different patterns on different nails.

a. Our system supports this, but most of our designs don’t use this feature, I think it is cool when they are different

3) Resolution size. Images should be about 200-300 pixels wide to print clearly across the width of the nail. The length of image (height) should be about double that because most of the nails are rectangle (taller than they are wide)

4) Keep in mind that the primary image on the nail bed should be placed low on the cuticle. This is because most of the nail strip may get filed or cut off when it is placed on the nail.

5) French type designs may not fit right on the nail. They are neat, and we like these, but keep in mind to design them so that about half the nail is covered by the tip. This is because the strip gets cut off. Doing a small tip can be problematic.

6) Some unique (image) designs are good, but patterns are big sellers.

a. Most people buy patterns, however, we do have some images that sell. We like a good balance of both types.

Happy designing, everyone! I am SO excited to see what y'all come up with. :D

(Remember: contest closes Monday, February 28th at 11:59pm PST!)

And please tell anyone else that might be interested in doing this! There are no extra rewards for passing along the news but we at the blog would be very grateful. :)

Like this? Click below to let us know!


DMHilliker said...

I don't know about making my own (because nothing could beat my Orion nebula stickies), but I would buy the Mucha example in a heartbeat.

extraH said...

I think this is going to be awesome! Flex your creative muscles, everyone!

Unknown said...

GAH!!!! Need more time!!

Minty said...

I'm so excited, I've already made one design and now I'm making an even better design for my second submission.

Anonymous said...

Well I've read and reread the instructions to the contest and if I have gotten them wrong...well that's that. *crossing me eyes* LOL My two entries are winging your way as I type. Good luck everyone, can't wait to see all the different entries!

Unknown said...

Thank goodness....... I just submitted my designs. That was intense!

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