Enter the inaugural D54 design challenge


Call for Entries

Make a powerful, self-affirming statement of any kind in any African language.

Submit your best original poster and T-shirt designs, and your work could WIN a place in the D54 #KeepLanguagesAlive Collection, on show forone day only, in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday 22 October 2019.

The top 5 entries, as judged by an all-star panel, are to be produced, distributed, marketed, and then sold on D54 online platforms and through partner retail outlets, under the D54 label, starting at the end of November. Commercial arrangements are on a profit-sharing basis.

Winners get a share of $2000 in instant cash: a grand prize of $1000, second prize of $650, and a third prize of $350.

Only designersliving and working in Africa may participate. Terms and conditions apply.

Ready to enter? See details below.

Theme: Keep Languages Alive

Language. It’s how you share your thoughts with the world, how you define who you are, where you come from, and what you are about. It’s how you learn complex ideas, communicate emotions, defend your rights, and participate as a collaborator. Language allows you to record histories, preserve customs, and recall memories. And, remarkably, through language, you can navigate distant futures, and conjure up new realities.

Language brings you closer to your essence than anything else.

Yet, far too few Africans are able to conduct their lives in their mother tongue without having to contend with the inevitable constraints and prejudices. What’s more, according to the United Nations (UN), who have declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages, of the world’s 7000 languages, 2680 are endangered. Just over 11% of those endangered languages are spoken in Africa. UNESCO, a specialised agency of the UN, reports that cultural assimilation, enforced relocation, educational disadvantage, poverty, illiteracy, migration, and human rights violations of all types, are amongst the factors most responsible.

It goes without saying that the best way to preserve and revitalise your language is to use it – in spite of the challenges – to spite the challenges.

You must speak it, you must write it. You must keep it alive.


Your Entry

Use any of typography or illustration, text or symbolism to make your statement. Feel free to  work in the traditional design idiom of the culture of your chosen language. Keep in mind that a surprising twist that gives your idiom a contemporary interpretation will likely strike the right chord. Remember to include an accurate English translation of any words you might use (the irony doesn’t escape us). 

Design for a poster, design for a t-shirt, design for Africa.

Submit your designs in 2 ways:

(1) Poster design, at A2 (hi-res PDF)

(2) T-shirt design, at A3 (front only, in hi-res PDF)

send your submissions here or here or info@amacreatives.com.


20 August | Call for entries

14 October | Entries close (extended deadline)

15 October | Finalists announced

22 October | One-day-only exhibition in Johannesburg, winners announced 

Late November | Posters and T-shirts available for sale online and at partner retail outlets


D54 works with partners who share our excitement about the future of Africa.

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