Smashing 3-ring binder designs

After a first week with few designs I received good help from the designcontest team and was offered a (free) second week to get to a design that was to our liking. Providing feedback on all designs was time-consuming as not all designers immediately grasped the design requirements. Finally we came to around 6 designs that fitted (or could easily be made to fit) all our requirements. Our team of directors then choose a design and some minor changes were made by the winning designer. The process worked well for us and it was a good experience.


$482 paid

79 custom designs

7pre-qualified designers

Learn more about Trade Show Swag Design Contest

Winning design #72 by TCMdesign, Trade Show Swag Design for Smashing 3-ring binder designs Contest
Gold Medal

designed by TCMdesign

Project description

THE GENERAL IDEA Design a smashing new 3-ring binder cover for our time-proven world-class result-oriented practical leadership development program materials. The binders will be vinyl-covered (white or other color) and I am told that this vinyl will not tolerate too much detail (detailed images will probably not come out right). Our programs are the top and used by top executives so they must look smashing. Our logo shall be put in blue PMS colors against the white. We need one generic binder design. The two note-worthy author-names must be displayed. Lastly, we need the title and sub-title texts shown, in combination with the text "The Total Leader". Attached are two images: One is our international logo (required) and the other is our Total Leader Pyramid image (optional). One brochure (" Folder") is also attached for our Personal Leadership program. This shows how we market our Total Leader programs as a group. More info on our design style can be found on our website The current design is also shown. We think that is no longer modern and representative of the high quality and excellent results that we achieve with our programs. Thus, this contest aims to find an appealing modern alternative that will properly represent the unique programs and high return-on-investment that we deliver. Lastly, also a design template with the proper dimensions for our binders is attached. FEEDBACK AFTER DESIGNS #1 to #4 AS THESE STILL REQUIRE QUITE SOME CHANGES In general, the following shall be adhered to: - The logo shall ALWAYS be displayed in the original colors as in the example. - The logo shall ALWAYS be displayed against a white background. Design of the FRONT of the binders: Most of us like front #1 and #2 but a number of things need to change: - We will have TWO binder types (for the moment) following this design so the design must be good for both. It is a good idea to have the side in the color of the program (the current blue for Eff. Pers. Leiderschap, and Eff. Pers. Productiviteit in the darkest blue color). The bar on the front shall then start with that color of the side and then change (in blocks or as a shade) to the lightest of the FOUR blocks (as displayed on the front of design #4, but positioned as in designs #1 and #4). - Most prefer the logo in the top left corner because that is where it sits on our letterhead also. Leaving out the text under the logo creates more rest in the design, I think. - We like to see the 'AND' between the author names replaced with a '&'. - The term "ONTWIKKELBOEK" shall be displayed more prominently: in a larger fontsize and it is suggested that it shall not be underneath the names of the authors (e.g. in the top-righthand or bottom-right hand corner). Design of the SIDE of the binders: - As written, we like to have the background of the side in the color of the program. We also like the logo here (in the original colors and against a WHITE background) and we want a balanced/nice design. - We definitely want the text "Ontwikkelboek" (in lowercase or capitals) on the side. There will be a second binder for only this program that has the text "Actieplan" (in lowercase or capitals) and we want people to read what binder it is before they fetch it from a shelf. - For the same reason we also want the program name on the side: Just the title, NOT the "Total Leader Concept" text and NOT the author names. Keeping it simple can add peace and style to the design. Alternatively, it may be an idea to abbreviate the name as "EPL" (or "EPP", for the other program binder). - Design #4 comes closest to what we want, considering the above. Nevertheless, a number of changes a re still necessary, and your creativity may well find a much better solution... Design of the BACK of the binders: - We like to keep the back simple as in design #1. In that design we would like to see just the "TOTAL LEADER CONCEPT(R)" text underneath the pyramid. - Possibly also the website-address can be mentioned on the back. The above provides a better insight in what we like. Please be creative. We look forward to a number of new designs! Any further questions? Please write me!

Read full brief


  • Please no company name or address data on the back of the binder. Also, please put the Dutch "EN" between the names on the front instead of "AND". A final design will be selected based on the feedback of by partner resellers here in The Netherlands, but only if they find it "smashing" :-)
    • Thanks for your feedback. Will update the concepts and send over at the earliest. Regards.

  • I prefer to have at least the title and, if applicable, the binder ID ("Ontwikkelboek" or "Actieplan") printed on the back of the binder so users can easily identify the binder when it sits in their cupboard.
  • Hello Ehoek, Thanks for your rating. Please do let me know if you need any modifications. Would love it to get it for you and finish off. Awaiting to hear back. Thanks, Regards, Hims, ESolz.
  • Dear ESolz, I assume that this was erroneously placed as it does some editing but no improvement over previous designs.
  • Dear ESolz, Thank you for your added design! It looks good, may be a bit restless but does not take into account what I have written in the extended brief. Please read that, and my feedback to Swasti, for corrections on coloring and texts. People may like your previous (horizontal bars) design idea better. It would allow the logos and texts to not be slanted (more straightforward, like our programs)... Taking into account all the extra feedback that I have provided and combining it with the original designs may still stand a good chance of being a winner!
  • Dear Swasti, Thank you for your designs and changes; you make very good efforts! One thing may no be sufficiently clear, so I will explain in more detail now: We have 4 different program titles and associate (in our brochures) 4 different blue colors with them,. All colors are shown on each brochure and they are the same as in the pyramid. The normal sequence is that clients who go through these programs start (with Effectieve Persoonlijke Productiviteit) at the bottom of the pyramid and end (with Effectief Strategisch Leiderschap) at the top of the pyramid. This means that they will move from the darkest to the lightest blue color. We find it important that the design of the binder for a program clearly shows the color that we have assigned to that program (so we can also see the color change when all 4 program binders are on a shelf). In the current design (for Effectief Persoonlijk Leiderschap, the second layer and color from the bottom in the pyramid) you let the color flow to dark blue of the bottom layer. I think that creates a nice effect, but wonder what the bottom layer program binder (Effectieve Persoonlijke Productiviteit) would then look like. One more thing: The program Effectief Persoonlijk Leiderschap has 2 binders, het the addition "Ontwikkelboek" or "Actieplan" on the binder. These texts will not be shown on any of the other 3 programs as all their contents will fit in one binder. Maybe you have taken this into account and maybe you have not. I just thought I'd highlight this for you.
  • dear CH, thank you for liking my design. i have made changes (#6) respecting your comment on #5 . And #7 for another similar design. i hope you like it too, will be looking forward for your feedback, thank you!
  • Would also prefer the logo on the side of the binder.
  • One point that I just notice: There shall be an '&' instead of the 'EN' between the names of the authors. (Minor detail though.)
  • This very much fits the criteria that have been set forward. I also like the new creative touch! This does look modern and may be perceived as 'too playful' which could hurt our solid/proven/reliable image; I would say it is "on the edge" in that sense. I also wonder what the coloring on the other 3 program binder types would look like... (that would be easier if the shading would move to the lightest shade of blue near the rim of the binder). Looking forward to similarly creative and excellent out-of-the-box submissions.
  • Hello ehoek, can you give further details please on your corporate identity? Here are my questions: 1 I have your two Pantones from your logo artwork but I notice on your site you also use an orange. Is the orange part of your corporate identity palette? If so what is the complete colour palette reference please? 2 Do you have a corporate font you use or am I free to use any font I choose? 3 Do you have any corporate brand guidelines to follow which include things like minimum logo size, spacing, positioning etc? Many thanks MC Creative
  • Hi dear CH, i ve submitted by first entry, #5 , i hope you & your team would like it, and im looking forward for your feedback. thank you very much.
  • Hi Babar786, Thank you very much for your quick adjustments; I like these still better. Two more point before they're perfect and ready for the final selection on taste: - Please correct the title: It says LEIDERSHAP instead of LEIDERSCHAP. - Please remove the two address lines on the back, below "LMI Nederland". Thank you; I will rate them after this, and they'll be among the top. :-)
    • hi ch. ehoek thanks alot for liking and gave me good comments so i have send to you design #22 as your require changes i hope you will like my final entry best regards babar786

    • Thank you! You're among the top in the competition.

    • hi ch. ehoek good morning thanks for like and give me top postion i have send to you new entry #23 i hope you will like as your require changes i am awaiting your comments thanks best regards babar786

  • See comments with #18
  • See comments with #18
  • See comments with #18
  • Hi Babar786, Thank you for the new entries. I like them but hope that you have not misunderstood me: I also do still like #15, but #15 still requires some changes in the text. To be precise: - & instead of "AND" between the names of the authors - 'TOTAL LEADER CONCEPT' below the pyramid (is corrected in #16 and #17); NO OTHER TEXT below the pyramid. - I like the 'address block' of text on the #15 design, but do not like the actual address there. It would be better, as we want to display the website, to display just the 'LMI(r) Nederland' text and the webadress '' below it. Some other remarks: - We use Helvetica Neue Bold Condensed font for main titles (see the brochures). Please can you also use it? - I like the larger font used in #15 because it IS lets the title stand out. Also, I understand that a compromise is sometimes needed :-)
    • ok sir I understand your comments I will send to you very soon as your require changes I hope you will like my new entry thanks all the best babar786

    • hi ch. ehoek I hope you fine I have uploaded design #18, #19, #20, #21 as your require changes I hope you will like my new entries I am awaiting your valuable comments all the best babar786

  • see #16