First Place: Neil Winton

[Important: see the retraction.]

Neil Winton. First place. Recipient of a gift basket including:

  1. a subscription to Before & After magazine,
  2. a blog-ready banner,

    <a href="">
    <img src="" width="150" height="114">

  3. an invitation to the judge’s panel of future design competitions.

The decision as explained by judge Dan Meyer:

In a project already tightly wound by constraints, Neil added several more. Each slide carries a photo along the top, broken at the bottom (same place same time every time) by a caption. He justifies each caption by a fixed gray line, sets each caption in the same font, begins each one with “I learned,” and ends each one with a year.

With all that, Neil has his design pinned down like a butterfly in a box. The effect is powerful and nevermore obvious than when you click through his slides quickly. With Neil’s presentation, you spend less and less time each slide figuring out where he’s stored his content (pictures at the top, captions at the bottom, the meat of the caption found just after “I learned”) and more time enjoying it.

It’s tempting to call his design “minimal.” It certainly looks simple. But deciding to constrain an already-constrained assignment is a thorny task, one which layers questions upon questions. By my eyes, Neil has answered all of them well, forming a tidy division between form and content then bringing them back together with a beautiful earthy color palette, winning a difficult competition by making it even more difficult.

The judges invite Neil to deliver an acceptance speech here, perhaps correcting our speculation and explaining his design. Congratulations are in order either way.


  1. The Contest Announcement
  2. The Final Entries

Announcement Schedule:

  1. Second Place (tie): 09h00 PST
  2. Second Place (tie): 12h00 PST
  3. First Place: 15h00 PST
I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Congratulations, Neil. Your four slides are amazing.

    Dan – Thanks for putting this together. The contest was a lot of fun. I showed my entries to my principal and he’s thinking of having the the whole staff do something similar to reflect their teaching philosophy. Neat!

  2. Hey, I did pick Neil’s as the winner over on my blog – it’s not often I’m right! I concur with Glenn, having a go was a lot of fun and I knew the standards would be high before I even finally submitted just by looking thru the links here in prior posts. I even showed Neal’s (and Glenn’s as well) to my staff as an intro for the keynote speaker at our school Professional Learning day and the whole concept of “Tell Your Story In 4 Slides” is one that has a lot of merit and legs as a staff development activity and in the classroom. Dan, this has been a great contest. I’ve learnt a lot more about effective communication from it as well.

  3. So Paul’s and Neil’s entries will solve some of my classroom deco problems this year. Looking for math posters online is a sad story – most that are commercially available seem very cluttered/crowded, like textbook pages blown up to poster size, except that the color schemes are worse. Maybe some future competition on designing more general math/applied math/culture and history of math posters in the blogosphere would result in better work? Maybe odds would be improved if incorporation of feedback/critique were part of the process? A stock of pdf’s that anyone could print out to any desired size at Cinco’s could be another fine resource for new teachers!