The Real

Show 23

Call for Entries

An Art Director's Club of Metropolitan Washington tradition since 1975, is now presented by George Mason University School of Art.


In March 1975, the ADCMW held their first The Real Show.The Real Showwas an annual competition giving college students the opportunity to solve real-life communication design problems. The idea was simple: give “real-world” design problems to local design students for them to solve in their own way. Students take the challenge of real competition, real projects, and real deadlines.

We invite students to enter the 2023 competition. We want to see your solutions to actual problems that area designers were asked to solve in their professional practice. Entries will be judged by a distinguished jury of local designers and educators.

Free Enter

To enter, students are to choose one of the problems below and create their solution within the limitations described. Students may collaborate with another student, and enter as many proejcts as they wish.

Project Briefs

Click the links below to download a PDF of each project.

Due Date

All submissions are due on April 7, 2023, 5 pm. A submission link for uploading your PDF is to come.


headshot of real show judge Antonio Alcalá

Antonio Alcalá //

headshot of real show judge Tom Gamertsfelder

Tom Gamertsfelder //

headshot of real show judge Lillian Ling

Lillian Ling //

headshot of real show judge David Plunkert

David Plunkert //


All undergraduate students currently enrolled in an accredited college or university are eligible to participate.


The judges will be looking at concept, design, and execution. After judging is complete, professors will be notified as to who is in the show.


All winners included in the show will receive an Award of Merit. There will also be Gold, Silver, and Award of Excellence winners.


Exhibition details are to come.


For questions and sponsorship opportunities, please contact: