Wednesday, April 16, 2014         


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Contest open to redesign new postal service 'aloha' box

By Erika Engle


Your design could grace the next USPS flat-rate box.

The Hawaii district of the U.S. Postal Service is going high tech, crowd-sourcing via the Internet for local-kine designs for its next locally themed, large flat-rate shipping boxes.

It is partnering with Prova.fm, an online crowd-sourcing company started when founder David Prova lived in Hawaii, to get the next winning designs for a "Seasons Greetings from Hawaii" holiday box, as well as an "Aloha from Hawaii" box for year-round use.

The goal is to create a local design that adds an "extra touch of aloha to the gifts that are being sent" from Hawaii to far-flung destinations, said Duke Gonzales, senior communications specialist.

The Hawaii district of the USPS broke new ground last year with its "Aloha from Hawaii" flat-rate box following an internal design contest.

Local officials at first were not sure anything would happen with the design, as the Postal Service had no history of allowing its districts to have uniquely branded mailers, Gonzales said. However, "HQ" approved the artwork by employee Jasmine Lum for a flat-rate box, and it became the first such regionally unique box in the nation. It also dramatically increased USPS revenue.

The Hawaii effort recently won an award in the Public Relations Society of America Koa Anvil and Koa Hammer competition.

Now, "because of our experience," San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego all have their own unique flat-rate box artwork, Gonzales said.

Put away any notions of using bright and lush tropical hues in your proposed design, however. Contest rules require use of a specific red and a specific blue to match other printing on the box. Dimensions are also specific, 4 1/2 -by-1 1/2 inches. The winning image will fit into a section of the box that doesn't replace other text.

Contest-runner Prova.fm "facilitates design contests," said David Prova. "It is basically a means to help small business owners get access to better advertisement designs."

Prova.fm has a "large community" of designers who compete to get their work chosen by clients. New contests are added frequently and many are for Hawaii businesses. Winners are paid for their designs, while all contestants can see feedback on submissions, as site-viewers "vote on them and provide feedback," Prova said.

This USPS contest is open to everyone.

"That's the advantage of working with the crowd-sourcing technology," Gonzales said. In addition to locally created entries, the contest "will also demonstrate what images other people associate with Hawaii, too," Gonzales said. Say, the dreamy image in the mind of someone shivering amid the below-zero dead of winter in some cold, snowy clime.

All entries must be submitted electronically by the Sept. 7 deadline. The winner will get $200 and have his or her design travel the world on boxes from Hawaii.


» www.prova.fm

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at erika@staradvertiser.com.

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