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VMSD's 2021 International Visual Competition

VMSD's 2021 International Visual Competition

VMSD invites all independent designers, design firms, visual merchandisers, retailers, manufacturers and distributors to enter the 27th annual International Visual Competition. Visual projects must have been completed between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. This competition showcases visual display achievements of limited shelf life. Please do not submit interior or exterior architectural design projects or permanent store display projects.

Deadline: February 24


First Place and Honorable Mention awards will be named in each category at the judges’ discretion, as well as Best of Show. Winning entries will be featured in the July/August 2021 issue of VMSD magazine and the Best of Show winner will also receive a complimentary registration* (a $1700-plus value) to VMSD's International Retail Design Conference (IRDC).*

Please note: Only retailers, visual merchandisers and designers are eligible for a free IRDC registration. Manufacturers, distributors or suppliers must become a sponsor in order to attend IRDC. In the event a manufacturer, distributor or supplier wins, they will be allowed to share their free registration with a preferred retail client.

Designers may submit more than one entry in as many of the following categories as they wish. No entry, however, may be submitted in more than one category:

  • Category A: In-Store Apparel Presentation – In-store single apparel presentations include women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and intimate apparel.
  • Category B: In-Store Accessories/Beauty and Shoes Presentation – Single presentations include women’s, men’s and children’s accessories, beauty products, shoes and jewelry.
  • Category C: In-Store Home Goods Presentation – Single presentations include furniture, tabletop, toys, electronics, books, music, stationery, sporting goods, gourmet foods and gifts that do not fall into the other categories listed.
  • Category D: In-Store Storewide Promotions – A series of images that illustrate the continuation of a single theme (such as a storewide product launch promotion). Entries must include store interior and window displays, otherwise they will be moved to another category.
  • Category E: In-Store Seasonal Promotions – A series of images (including store interior and window displays) that illustrate a seasonal promotion like Christmas or Back to School.
  • Category F: Non-holiday Window Displays (includes seasonal windows like Back to School, Fall, Bridal, Events or Cause-related.)
  • Category G: Holiday Window Displays
  • Category H: Temporary/Pop-up Retail Space
  • Category I: Food and Beverage/Consumables – Grocery and/or specialty food store displays/in-store promotions or product/food merchandising. Marijuana dispensaries, candy shops, quick-service restaurants and bakeries are also covered in this category. 
  • Category J: Student Project – Includes temporary student-created merchandising and visual display projects, whether part of a school assignment (high school or college) or from a freelancing, internship opportunity. Entrants must be full-time students enrolled in a visual design program.** 

Note: At the discretion of the competition chair and the judges, an entry may be placed in a more suitable category.

Please note: Two new categories were added in the last couple years. Category I encompasses groceries, specialty food stores, marijuana dispensaries, QSR and bakeries. Category J includes projects created by students (or an individual student) that were either part of a school assignment or part of a freelancing/internship opportunity. 

Terms and conditions: All entries become the property of SmartWork Media Group/VMSD (Publisher) and cannot be returned. VMSD reserves the right to publish winners in upcoming issues of Visual Merchandising and Store Design (VMSD), to post the content, including photography, on Publisher's websites, to edit, revise and otherwise adapt the content before or after such publication or posting, and to reprint and republish the content in such form and in such manner as Publisher, in its sole discretion, deems appropriate. Entrants must certify that the credits, project descriptions and other information on the entry form are correct. Project credits listed with VMSD stories are provided by retailers and/or project designers. While we make our best efforts to ensure that credits lists are as thorough and accurate as possible, VMSD assumes no responsibility or liability for the accuracy or completeness of project source information provided by firms or retailers. 

Online payment is made at the end of the online submission process. The entry fee is $50 for the first entry and $20 for each additional entry. (For example, four entries would be $110: $50 for first entry + three @ $20 = $110.) **Students will receive a discounted entry fee at $20 per entry.  

Winners will receive…


  • FREE registration to the 2021 International Retail Design Conference (IRDC; valued at up to $1700+)
  • Featured coverage in VMSD’s July/August 2021 issue
  • A commemorative award and certificate


  • A discounted rate (savings of up to $400+) to attend IRDC in Denver
  • Coverage in VMSD’s July/August 2021 issue
  • A commemorative certificate


  • A discounted rate to attend IRDC in Denver
  • A mention in VMSD’s July/August 2021 issue
  • A commemorative certificate

 *Only retailers and those who work for design firms are eligible for a free IRDC registration. Manufacturers, suppliers and distributers MUST purchase an IRDC sponsorship to attend the conference. In the event an manufacturer, supplier or distributer wins, they will be allowed to gift their free registration to a preferred retail or design firm client. For more information regarding sponsorship opportunities, please contact Murray Kasmenn at

Questions? Contact Managing Editor Carly Hagedon at