Frequently Asked Questions

General / How it Works

What is Creative Allies?

Creative Allies is an online community where creative people can submit art and designs for musicians they love, win prizes, sell their work and get discovered. Here's how it works:

  1. A band, festival or film like Passion Pit, Jack Johnson or the Hangout Music Festival comes to Creative Allies with an idea for a poster, T-shirt, logo, album cover, iPhone case, skateboard—anything. Creative Allies posts a new design contest, including a creative brief and technical specifications.
  2. Artists, graphic designers, illustrators, students and fans from anywhere in the world can sign up for free on Creative Allies and start uploading art and designs to any of the active contests.
  3. After the contest deadline, the contest holder (band, festival, etc.) chooses a winner from the submissions. The winner receives a cash prize and any other goodies specified by the contest. For Sponsored Contests, Creative Allies also awards one Fan Favorite and Editors' Favorites for each contest. Learn more about winners. Learn more about winners.
  4. The contest holder can also choose more submissions to sell through Creative Allies. Revenues are shared between the contest holder and the creator of the work.
  5. You can also launch your own design contest with BandArt by Creative Allies. You set the price you're willing to pay and publish your own creative brief on your band's Facebook Page. Learn more and get started.

I'm an artist/designer/illustrator. How do I use Creative Allies?

Just sign up for a free account and start uploading entries to any of our active design contests. Your submissions will be eligible to win cash, prizes and royalties and get featured on and beyond. Learn more about signing up.

I'm a fan but not a designer. How can I use Creative Allies?

Anyone can participate in Creative Allies by voting for your favorite submissions to help determine what becomes available for purchase. Every contest entry is accompanied by its own Vote button. Voting helps choose the Fan Favorite award winner for that contest and helps determine which designs become items in the Creative Allies Store.

I have a band/festival/film/non-profit. How do I use Creative Allies?

You can now launch your own design contest with BandArt by Creative Allies. You can set the price you're willing to pay and publish your own creative brief on your band's Facebook Page. Running a BandArt Contest offers a number of benefits:

  • Fan engagement – Connect with your followers by letting them become a temporary part of your creative team. They'll be honored to participate and you'll be amazed by the results.
  • Make money – You'll choose one Overall Winner from the contest and own it outright to sell as you wish. Every other contest entry can become an item in the Creative Allies Store. We'll handle all printing and fulfillment and send you a 50% royalty on all sales.
  • Get exposure – Expose your band to a community of 25,000+ taste-making creatives on Learn more and get started.

Is this one of those "spec" websites?

The mission of Creative Allies is to connect visual artists with the musicians they love through fun creative projects in music and entertainment. We believe that there are amazingly creative people everywhere, so the big creative agencies in New York and LA shouldn't have all the fun.

Creative Allies is a competitive platform, so by definition, not everyone who submits work to Creative Allies gets a prize or a place in our store. However, we provide a number of ways to highlight and award participants who may not win first place, like our Editors' Picks Galleries, Fan Favorite and Editors' Favorite awards and opportunities to earn royalties when your submission is chosen for the Creative Allies Store. Creative Allies is also a great way to build your creative portfolio and work on high-profile projects with complete artistic freedom.

With that said, Creative Allies is not designed to serve as a regular source of income for participants. Most of our members participate because they love designing posters, T-shirts and other stuff for awesome musicians - not solely for the cash and prizes. We're building a community of more than 25,000 artists, designers, illustrators, students and fans who dig the opportunities we create.

You can read our Terms & Conditions for more information.

Is Creative Allies only for US residents?

Unless otherwise specified in some instances, all participation in Creative Allies is open to everyone, worldwide.

User accounts

How do I sign up for an account?

Click on the sign up link in the upper-right of any page on Creative Allies. Once you've done this, you can go to My Workspace any time to edit your account information and add a profile picture, bio information and links to your website, portfolio and social network profiles.

How do I change my email address or password?

First, sign in to your account. Next, click My Workspace to edit your account information, including email address, password, mailing address and other personal information.

Some of my creations and account information are spread across more than one account. Can I merge accounts?

For help with merging accounts, please contact

Winner selection

How/when are winners chosen?

For each design contest, an Overall Winner is chosen by the contest holder (the band, record label, management team, etc.) and announced within 30–45 days after a contest deadline. In the unlikely event that a winner isn't picked within 45 days, Creative Allies' editorial staff reserves the right to choose a winner. In addition to the Overall Winner, additional prizes are awarded for sponsored contests, including:

  • Fan Favorite Award - Awarded for the most popular design for sponsored contests (sponsored contests are featured in the top section of the design contests page. Fan Favorite is determined by an algorithm combining votes on Creative Allies and activity on Facebook (likes, shares, comments) and Twitter.
  • Editors' Favorite Award - Chosen by the editorial staff at Creative Allies. The Editor's Favorite Award only applies to a sponsored contest.

What do votes do? Does the design that receives the most votes win the contest?

Votes on Creative Allies determine the Fan Favorite. The Overall Winner is chosen by the band, festival or film holding the design contest based on the contest's creative brief and the contest holder's needs and preferences.

With that said, getting votes for your design can help influence the contest holder's decision. The contest holder may choose the highest-voted design as the Overall Winner.

Payment and Prizing

How/when will I get paid for winning a design contest?

Creative Allies sends out cash prizes by PayPal each month. It's best to include your full mailing address in your Creative Allies account; we'll need it to send stuff like CDs, signed posters and tickets. We also recommend including your PayPal address in your account info so we can get your cash prizes and royalties to you quickly and seamlessly. PayPal is required for all members of Creative Allies in order to receive payments.

How/when will I get paid for selling my work in the Creative Allies Store?

If you are entitled to a royalty from the sale of merchandise in the Creative Allies Store, we send payment via PayPal at the end of each quarter for royalties earned during the preceding quarter. If you have not received a payment on time, please contact us at immediately. PayPal is required for all members of Creative Allies in order to receive payments.


How do I get my work in the Creative Allies store?

After a design contest closes and an Overall Winner is selected, the contest holder chooses which, if any, submissions (winners and/or non-winners) will be sold in the Creative Allies Store or through a third-party retailer.

What royalty do I receive when my design is sold?

If your design is selected to be sold, you'll receive a 10% royalty on net profits for each item sold through Creative Allies.

What is the Return Policy for purchases in the Ally Originals store?

Creative Allies wants every purchase you make with us to be above your expectations. If you're not completely satisfied with your purchase, you may return the item for a refund, exchange or credit within 60 days of the purchase date. Click here for a printable return form.

On the form, please explain what you are returning and why. Also indicate if you prefer an exchange, refund or credit to the Ally Originals store. We will also need your name, email address and your original order confirmation number along with your returned item. We do not pay postage for returned items.

EXCHANGES: If your item is available we will send it to you immediately at no cost. If it is not available when your return is processed we will issue you credit instead. If you would prefer to exchange for a different item or to receive a refund, please email us promptly at

REFUND: Refunds will be issued for the price and tax (if applied) of the merchandise itself. We do not issue refunds for the original shipping cost.

All items must be in the condition in which they were received. We do not accept washed items.

Submitting Creations

How strict are the creative briefs for each design contest?

Think of creative briefs as guidelines rather than strict rules. Sometimes winning designs break some of the rules or expand on the written brief in a creative way that the contest holder didn't originally imagine. As long as you stick to the specified print or digital format, you should feel free to follow your original idea outside of the aesthetic guidelines to a reasonable extent. The most important objective should be to create a striking image that captures the essence of that band, film, festival, etc. and catches the attention of the contest holder.

What are the technical requirements for submissions?

Complete technical specifications are listed on every design contest page. Only files that meet the listed technical requirements for that contest will be eligible to win. If you submit a file that doesn't meet those requirements, it will be uploaded and viewable on Creative Allies, however, it won't be eligible to win a prize or be sold in the Creative Allies Store until it is replaced with a file that conforms to specs.

Can I submit multiple entries?

There is no maximum number of entries per design contest or per entrant. In other words, you can upload as many different entries or distinct variations of an entry as you would like.

Why does my upload take so long to appear on the site?

We have the most blazing fast servers available and efficient software to get files onto Creative Allies fast. However, when dealing with large graphics files, it may take some time to process the images, add in our watermark and create thumbnail/preview files. You will receive an email when your upload is complete.

Should I upload in RGB or CMYK? (When I upload a creation, why do the colors come out weird?)

We recommend uploading all submissions in RGB color mode. If you upload a CMYK file, the colors on your images may appear different on Creative Allies than in your original file (Your original CMYK file is saved in our vault, so your creative vision is still intact). The printers we work with can receive RGB data and print just as well from that colorspace. Most design contests require the winning designer to provide a layered project file of the winning design, so you can always send us a CMYK file for print once your creation is chosen as a winner.

Can I use stock images or photographs?

DO NOT use stock images or clip art in your submissions to Creative Allies. This includes:

  • all images downloaded from sites like Getty Images, iStockphoto, Corbis Images and Shutterstock
  • free vector art
  • it doesn't matter if you purchased a license for the image or if it does not require a license

Submitting work to Creative Allies containing stock images—even in a modified form—is grounds for the immediate and permanent deactivation of your account.

Generally, contest holders prefer original art and illustrations, but photographic elements are acceptable if you can prove ownership of all photographic elements in your design. If you cannot provide a layered file and prove your ownership of all design elements to the satisfaction of Creative Allies staff within 48 hours of being notified as a contest finalist, your submission will be ineligible to win.

I downloaded a free font from a website. Can I use it in my design?

Do not submit designs using fonts you don't own. There are many websites where you can download free fonts to use in your designs. However, do not assume you can use those fonts for free. Every font has unique terms of use determined by the font's creator. Common terms include:

  • Free for any use
  • Free for personal/non-commercial use only. A fee or donation is required for commercial use
  • Fee or donation is required for any use

Do not submit designs using fonts that are only free for personal/non-commercial use without paying the appropriate fee or donation to the font's creator to obtain a commercial use license.

If your design is selected as a finalist or winner on Creative Allies and you are asked to provide a layered file of your design, please convert all text to outlines (i.e. shapes, not editable text).

Does a logo count as copyrighted material?

Only incorporate a logo or other proprietary image in your work if these assets are provided in the design contest's Support Files.

Do I have to use the Support Files provided for a design contest?

You are not required to incorporate the Support Files provided for a design contest unless explicitly required in the design brief. In cases in which Support Files are provided but not required, winning submissions are often those that don't use the Support Files but opt for an all-original illustration or design instead.

Can I rotate my submission once it has uploaded?

Nope, sorry. If you wish to submit a different orientation that does not fit within the required specifications, try sizing your image down to fit within the maximum width or height accepted.

What do I do if my upload did not meet the specs?

If you submit a file that doesn't meet the specs for that design contest, it will be uploaded and viewable on Creative Allies; however, it won't be eligible to win a prize or be sold in the Creative Allies Store. You will receive a notification asking you to upload a file with the correct minimum specs before the contest deadline.

What Time Zone are design contest deadlines written in?

All deadlines on Creative Allies are written in Pacific Standard Time Zone, or PST (GMT -8). Most design contests close to new entries at midnight PST at the end of the posted date.

Can I remove one of my creations from Creative Allies?

Yes, you may deactivate a submission at any time before the contest to which it was uploaded has closed. Use the "x" button in the top right corner on the creations page in order to deactivate the submission. If you have a special case and need to remove a submission after a contest deadline, contact us at

How do I add the source files for one of my creations?

You will need to add the source hi-res layered or vector file(s) for any creation you enter to a contest in order to receive payment if you win. The source file uploader will only accept .zip file types. You must .zip your source file(s) before uploading to the creations page.

How To Compress (.zip) a File or Folder:

  • In Windows: Right-click the file or folder, point to Send To, and then click Compressed (zipped) Folder.
  • On a Mac: Right-click the file or folder, select "Compress [file name]".

Submitting to a BandArt Contest

Although powered by Creative Allies, BandArt contests are created by and maintained by the contest creator, not Creative Allies.

BandArt is an open platform where anyone can start their own design contest. Creative Allies does ensure that all selected winners will receive their cash award within a month of being selected. BandArt contest holders have 30 days from their contest deadline to select a winner. The BandArt contest holder is solely responsible for any additional offered prizing such as concert tickets, CD's, etc.

Submitting a Merchandise Graphic

When submitting a merchandise graphic don't feel constrained by borders. Design something that could be used on a T-Shirt, iPhone Case, Tote Bag or Water Bottle. Avoid designing for a poster layout and avoid background colors. See examples of how these designs submissions transate into merchandise:


Guidelines and Policies

Someone is making rude or overly critical comments on my submission.

We welcome constructive criticism between designers. However, users who engage in rudeness and personal attacks will be warned and then suspended from Creative Allies. Please review the Community Policy here.

What should I do if I think my creation has been plagiarized?

We take claims of copyright infringement very seriously. All claims are reviewed by our creative team and resolved as soon as possible. Any site member who is found guilty of copyright infringement will be suspended indefinitely from Creative Allies.

Why shouldn't I use Internet Explorer?

At present time, older versions of Internet Explorer don't accommodate some of the technology that we work with to make your page awesome. Modern browsers like Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera (plus the latest versions of Internet Explorer) are better equipped to make sure that your experience on Creative Allies is easy, fast and presented properly.

If you prefer using Internet Explorer, please update to the latest version before using Creative Allies.

Copyright and Legal

Who owns my submission once I upload it?

When a contest to which you have submitted entries reaches its deadline, Creative Allies has the right to license your content and sell it as merchandise. Depending on whether the content is selected as an overall winner, store item, stock image or other winner, you will receive the stated cash prize or earn a royalty on sales. See how/when are winners chosen.

If your design is not offered for sale or made available as stock art by Creative Allies within 4 months after the submission deadline of the contest it was submitted for, you may terminate Creative Allies' right to sell or license your image by notifying Creative Allies via email. In that case your image will still appear on Creative Allies but it will never be offered for sale so you can repurpose that design.

Creative Allies can also use your work for promotional purposes, like featuring it on our homepage, displaying it in a physical gallery or including it in a coffee table book.

We want to give everyone the opportunity to earn revenue from their designs for their favorites bands. Please be aware that it is illegal to sell or profit from artwork using the name and likeness of a band, festival, TV show, etc. outside of Creative Allies.

Who owns my submission after it wins a contest?

Once you win a design contest, your design immediately becomes property of the contest holder and you will be awarded a licensing prize for use of the design.

Who owns my submission after it is selected to be sold by Creative Allies?

When you submit your work to Creative Allies, you are giving an exclusive license to Creative Allies to sell merchandise featuring your design or license your design in return for a royalty.


What are galleries?

Galleries are curated collections of art submitted to Creative Allies. You can create unlimited galleries containing submissions by you or other users. Galleries can be shared with your social networks and embedded on your website and Creative Allies profile. Your galleries could even be featured on the Creative Allies homepage or in our Featured Galleries. Get started creating your first gallery.

How can I add a gallery to my Facebook page?

Creative Allies offers the unique ability for users to add galleries to Facebook pages they administer. Get started by following the tutorial Adding a Gallery to your Facebook Page.