We're looking for a desktop background to use as default in our upcoming Linux Mint 18 release.
The contest will be "guaranteed" as soon as we're happy with one of the designs.
We want one great default background and we want to attract the best designers to work on this so we created a Gold contest and there will only be one winner. With that said, we've got a budget and we're always on the lookout for great artwork, whether it's to use in the future or to ship as non-default in Linux Mint 18 (in this release we'll ship a total of 23 backgrounds, most of them acquired from artists or contributed by our community).
Here are the requirements and guidelines:
It has to be fully created by yourself. If you need to use bits of artwork from somewhere else, please mention where it comes from and its licensing.
It has to be be high quality/resolution so that it can look perfect on a wide variety of computer screens.
It can be branded (i.e. it can include the name of our project and/or logo). I think it might be better if it does, but it doesn't necessarily have to. One important aspect is that we use different logos for different editions (a green one mostly, but also a blue one for our KDE edition, and a debian one for our LMDE edition). If you have our logo somewhere on the design, and if you're considered to be the winner we'll ask you to provide variations of the design for each of the three logos (they're very similar so this shouldn't impact the design too much).
We work with png and jpg, but if your background includes text, please don't merge layers. For instance, if your design an awesome wallpaper with a text saying "Mint 18", we want to be able to modify it easily if the need comes to change that text to "Mint 18.1".
We're open to different forms of art. You can use photography, abstract art, 3D, etc etc..
How we'll pick the winner:
The winning design won't be the one which looks best on its own, but the one which makes Linux Mint look best when applied as its desktop background. Linux Mint 18 will ship with the same default theme as Linux Mint 17, which is available for download at https://linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=204. We strongly encourage you to run Linux Mint 17 on a computer (or a virtual machine using virtualbox or vmware) and to try your background in real conditions. This is how you'll know how well it matches the desktop icons, and how well it fits with the desktop panel. Alternatively, you can look at screenshots at https://linuxmint.com/screenshots.php, transform the 17 wallpaper into a transparent zone and place your background in there. As we get close to selecting winning designs we'll ask for high res samples (which can be watermarked if trust is an issue), because we'll want to try the designs in real condition.
If I could draw it, I would try to design a dark slate/grey background, simple in shape or material, and with branding on top. I've no idea what you'll come up with though and if you've got your own ideas, then by all means please follow them, I don't want to influence you too much here. We want something that looks great, that feels great on the long run (not something that looks awesome but that is too noticeable or annoying if you have to work with it continuously), and that looks pro without looking boring (on many computers, and in many companies this default background is what you'll see on the screen.. imagine an open space with 50 computers showing that design).