Second Place (tie): Ethan Bodnar

[Important: see the retraction.]

Ethan Bodnar. Tied for second place. The decision as explained by judge Dan Meyer:

Excepting his font selection, there isn’t much locking Ethan’s slides together. It’s tough to feel disappointed, though, when the individual slides demonstrate such tight, formal skill.

Ethan compresses a semester of design instruction into four slides.

The first two are photographic cannonballs, powerful images which slam right through my quality control checkpoints. With his final slide he conjures up the same effect, only by exclusion, using empty space to accentuate his lists of life-completed and life-to-come.

The third slide at first seems like Text Gone Wild! but it is by far my favorite. Ethan includes so much text and he imposes so much order to it (there’s some precision gridding at work here) the result is a text-heavy slide which (oddly) begs you not to read it but just to look at it.

Ethan’s point with slide three isn’t that, hey, I connect with artist Ben Frost. It’s that he connects with a lot of people – more artists than bloggers, more bloggers than authors. Ethan manipulates our perception of his work so precisely, which is a skill I can’t help but commend.

The judges invite Ethan 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. Thanks Dan for those kind words and thanks to the judges. I think that this contest has been a great success and I look forward to hearing reports back if teachers bring it into the classroom as an assignment for their students.

    Furthermore, I believe that the program that the Chicago Graduate School of Business has implemented in their admissions process is great. As being someone who will be applying to many different colleges this year, it is something to keep an eye on in the future as hopefully other colleges try it out.

    Thanks again, it was a great experience.

  2. Well deserved, Ethan.

    All 3 judges were stopped-in-their-tracks after seeing your entry the first time. Clearly, age is not an issue…and intentional design is the only thing that matters!

    My silent and not-so-silent hope is that a few of the teachers who are watching pick your brain on design ideas as they present to their kids and colleagues alike. Oh, and I can tell you you can expect to hear from a designer in my network who has already uttered the words, “I need to give that kid an internship” last night…

    …and I’m not surprised at all!

    Look forward to seeing the arc of your career, my friend. Glad that our blogging conversation began a year ago and that you’ve clearly earned your chops ever since! Can’t see any limits for you in the future, either!

    Cheers, Christian

  3. Definitely well deserved!

    I love the first slide – would you mind if it were posted in a classroom?

    I will be working with 14-17 year old boys this year and I think that slide just may jive with them!

    a job well done!