Maroon & Gold Awards are presented annually to University of Minnesota Communicators Forum (UMCF) members whose work exemplifies the University’s core values: excellence, innovation, effectiveness, integrity, diversity, collaboration, sharing of knowledge, accountability, stewardship, and service.

The awards highlight the significant role that communicators play in shaping the relationship between the University and its constituents: students and their parents; staff and faculty; alumni and donors; colleagues in higher education; leaders of business, industry, and civic life; legislators; and the general public. Projects must successfully demonstrate timely, targeted, credible and effective messages combined with the most compelling concept, format, design, and materials.

By promoting high standards, the awards program encourages the interpretive, analytical, integrative, and creative skills necessary to the communicator’s task. In their organizations, communicators must be both authoritative and collaborative, as necessary. They are thinkers and doers whose work collectively supports the University’s primary mission.

For more information on the Communicators Forum Awards, please go to http://umcf.umn.edu/awards

Any work created and used by the University of Minnesota between February 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018 is eligible.

Submissions close at 3 p.m. on Friday, February 23, 2018.

If you would like to submit your piece for the U Brand, Margo, or Mike Awards, you can do so within the general category form. To submit multiple pieces for the special awards, you will need to fill out multiple forms.

Directions for printing a copy of your entry form can be found in your confirmation e-mail. To print a copy of your entry form if you have lost your confirmation e-mail, click on "Dashboard" at the top right corner of the screen, after submitting your application, and click on "My Submissions." Then go to "View" on the submission you would like to print out, click on the "Summary" tab, and hit "Print."

Hard copy submissions should be delivered to:
Holly Klinger
190 Coffey Hall
1420 Eckles Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55108
Campus Mail Code: 6074

Deadline Clarification: All components of your submission(s) must be completed by 3:00 pm CST on Friday, February 23, 2018. This includes online and/or delivery to the committee member collecting hard copies (see above address). Plan ahead to achieve this ahead of time. As of 3:01 pm submissions will not be accepted in any form. If you are not confident that your mode of delivery (e.g. USPS, courier, campus mail) will achieve the 3:00 pm CST deadline, consider an alternative. This firm 3:00 pm CST deadline across all submissions is non-negotiable in order to be fair to all parties entering work.

Entries must consist of two or more pieces that are separated in space and/or time. Entries will be judged for excellence in identity and message, design and content synergy, creativity and originality, technical execution, planned distribution strategy, effectiveness, appropriateness for intended audiences(s), technical execution, overall impact, and ability to meet the organization's communications goals.

There are four sub-categories within Campaign/Series:
  • Instructional/Informational — Campaigns that teach or guide the intended audience, whether internal or external. Possible examples: community outreach, making scientific information accessible to general audiences, library resources, professional or institutional networks, resource databases, directories, etc.
  • Promotional — Campaigns that publicize or strengthen branding; conferences, events, services, seasonal or cyclic campaigns for major events or issues, etc.
  • Coordinated Social Media — Can include any social media tool: blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. Entries will be judged on clearly-defined strategic purpose, creative and effective approach to message, excellent writing and interactivity, and effective exploration of the particular qualities of the medium employed. When more than one of the social media is used in concert, criteria will include synergy among the different media that supports the overall effort and effective exploration of the particular qualities of each medium employed.
  • Innovator — Campaigns that use new media, techniques, tools or combinations of communication tools in innovative ways heretofore unseen by the University of Minnesota community.
Entries must consist of a single piece that will be judged for outstanding strength of voice, tone, prose, grammar, punctuation, awareness of intended audience, application of University standards, style as appropriate to the entry’s classification and success in meeting the organization's communications goals. The primary focus will be creativity in solving the problems of institutional writing within the context of the category.

There are eleven sub-categories within Interactive:
  • Short Feature — Copy up to 1,000 words in length such as editorials, reporting, magazine features, annual report articles.
  • Long Feature — Copy for stories more than 1,000 words in length such as editorials, reporting, magazine features, annual report articles.
  • Message — Signed communication to an audience conveyed in a clear, concise fashion from a specific person or group, such as essential information for employees, crisis communications, letter from the editor, "from the director" or "from the dean". 
  • Informational Writing — Copy that informs or guides the intended audiences, whether internal or external. May be focused on community outreach, making scientific information accessible to general audiences, library resources, professional or institutional networks, resource databases, directories, etc.
  • Promotional/Marketing Writing — Copy that is promotional and/or marketing-focused, meant to motivate and inspire action; publicizes or strengthens branding, such as conferences, events, services, seasonal campaigns for major events or issues, etc.
  • Technical/Instructional Writing — Copy that tackles a technical topic for a non-technical audience, such as how-to instructions, end-user assistance or technical documentation. 
  • Press/News Release Text — Copy pitching stories to outside media, including press releases and news releases. 
  • Script text/Text Meant to be Spoken — Copy written to be presented aloud to an audience, such as speeches, public service announcements, presentations.
  • Newsletter — Any newsletter issued by the University system on a regular schedule.
  • Web — Writing for the web, including for websites, wikis or blogs, in a way that is serves web users' needs -- scannable, readable, aiding navigation.
  • Innovator — Using writing in innovative ways heretofore unseen by the University of Minnesota community. 
Note: Entries must consist of a single item
That item will be judged for excellence in concept, design, craftsmanship, graphics, typography, format, if applicable materials and printing, as well as effectiveness, quality, ability to meet organization's communications goals and application of University standards and creativity in solving the problems inherent in institutional design.

There are fifteen sub-categories within Design:
  • Magazine/Regular Publication — A series of at least 2 periodicals published during the eligibility period in print, online or both, such as case statements, guidebooks, annual reports, books/booklets, calendars or magazines.
  • Multi-Page Print — An entire piece in print or as PDF, such as case statements, guidebooks, annual reports, books/booklets, or calendars. 
  • Multi-Page Print Section — One section, in multiple pages, of a single multi-page piece, such as case statement, guidebook, annual report, books/booklet or calendar.
  • Poster or Single Sheet — Printed piece consisting of one sheet, flat or folded, such as book or CD cover, brochure or flyer.
  • Card — Printed cards of any kind, either flat or folded, such as holiday cards, invitations, postcards, greeting cards, or informational cards.
  • Display — A banner, exhibition, event installation or booth, three-dimensional object, billboard, or environmental graphics.
  • Website — Design of a standalone collection of web pages from a single web domain.
  • Web Section — Design of a section of a website that has its own sub-navigation
  • Web Page — Design of a page within a website.
  • Web Application — Design of an application meant to fulfill a particular purpose, such as a specific task; or to promote, support, or advance a communications function.
  • Multimedia/Video — Visual communication elements in recorded video, television show, commercial, streaming video, mobile/tablet app, online kiosk, or flash animation.
  • Newsletter — Any newsletter issued from the University system on a regular schedule, in print, online, or both.
  • Illustration — Single image, text treatment, graphic, or photo illustration, used in print or online.
  • Infographic — An image meant to help visualize data or other complex sets of information, in print or online. 
  • Innovator — Using design in any media/venue in innovative ways heretofore unseen by the University of Minnesota community.
Entries will be judged for usability, interactivity, accessibility; effective design, layout, and appearance; understanding of and engagement with the intended audience; creativity and style; application of University and online standards; ability to meet the organization’s communications goals.

There are nine sub-categories within Interactive:
  • Social Media — Communications effort housed on any single social media platform. Please include evidence of engagement with the intended audience.
  • Interactive Blog — Web log by a University of Minnesota-based individual, department, unit, college, club, organization, or other entity. Must consist of discrete entries that inform or engage a specific audience and allow comments from readers.
  • Video (long) — A video communication more than three minutes in length, such as documentary, television show, commercial, recorded or streaming/live.
  • Video (short) — A video communication less than three minutes in length, such as documentary, television show, commercial, recorded or streaming/live.
  • Website  — Standalone collection of web pages from a single web domain.
  • Web Section — A section of a website that has its own subnavigation. 
  • Web Page — A page within a website. 
  • Application (App) — Application meant to fulfill a particular purpose, such as a specific task; or to promote, support, or advance a communications function.
  • Innovator — Using interactive media, techniques, tools or combinations of communication tools in innovative ways heretofore unseen by the University of Minnesota community.