HOT NEW NEXT is a design competition intended to help designers based in the Pacific Northwest (US and Canada) hone their pitches and gain recognition and exposure. While celebrating the innovative ideas moving design forward in this Shark Tank-style program, GRAY offers contestants the chance to present a rapid-fire pitch of a compelling new design-related concept or product to an expert panel of judges and live audience.There will be one competition in each city: Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. The winner from each city will advance to the championship round held on the GRAY Stage at IDS Vancouver in British Columbia, the largest design platform on the West Coast! The champion wins a cash prize, mentorship from the judges, and the designation of truly being the next big thing in Pacific Northwest design.Whether your idea is brand new, or a clever update to an existing product, all design disciplines are welcome—from architecture and furniture to interiors, product design, fashion, tech, urban planning, and beyond.Even if you aren't selected for the competition, we may still consider publishing your idea in GRAY—so submit today!

Submission deadline: March 8, 2019

Event dates:

Portland, OR: April 8, 2019 at Design Within Reach

Vancouver, BC: June TBA, 2019

Seattle, WA: July TBA, 2019

Championship Round: Sep. 28, 2019 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West during Interior Design Show Vancouver


  • Designer must be based in the Pacific Northwest region of the US and Canada.
  • Concepts or products must be fresh and design-related.

The Judges:The esteemed panel of business experts—representing entrepreneurship, manufacturing/production, finance/venture capital, sales, and marketing—will challenge contestants, poking holes in their pitches to help make them stronger. They'll consider the degree of innovation, marketability, aesthetic quality, scalability (if applicable), and more. After each contestant has pitched, the judges will determine the winner. The audience will be listening carefully as well and will vote to select the People's Choice winner at each event.

You will benefit the most from HOT NEW NEXT if:

  • You have a compelling and detailed idea for a product or concept that hasn't yet made it to market, or that you want to scale
  • You have an innovative idea that will evolve existing paradigms in the design world.
  • Your pitch includes photography, illustrations, or renderings.
  • Your pitch addresses and existing problem, or will be an exciting new addition to the market. 
  • You think you can present a dynamic personal pitch

What to expect:

  • Step one: Submit your idea via our online submission form by March 8. Don't worry, your idea is safe with us!
  • If you are selected, you will be invited to pitch at any one of the HNN events happening throughout the region.
  • At the event, contestants will have 5 minutes to pitch to the judges in front of a live audience using images and/or video to illustrate their ideas. Judges will then ask questions and/or provide feedback. At the end, judges will deliberate to determine the design they believe was pitched most successfully and has the most potential.    

Winners receive:

  • Championship round winner featured in the Dec./Jan. 2019/2020 issue of GRAY magazine.
  • Spotlight on evente recap.
  • Advancement to the Championship round held on the GRAY Stage at IDS Vancouver, the largest interior design platform on the West Coast   

Champion receives:

  • $1,000 USD cash prize to help your idea become a reality!
  • One-hour of one-on-one mentoring sessions with the judges.
  • Feature in the Dec./Jan. 2019/2020 issue of GRAY magazine (the Awards issue!)
  • The designation of truly being the next big thing in Pacific Northwest design!


If I entered Hot New Next or the GRAY Awards last year, can I use the same Submittable account I already created to submit for this year’s HOT NEW NEXT?

Yes! If you don't already have an account, it's easy and free to create one.

How do I know if my idea or product is a good fit for HOT NEW NEXT?

We are looking for a diversity of ideas, so whether you are an established or emerging designer or company, we are interested in hearing about what you have in the works! Read about past winners here: HNN is free to enter, and we may contact you about future opportunities to be featured in GRAY, so you have a lot to gain by entering, and only the short time it takes to fill out the submission form to lose!

How do the multiple events in three cities work?

There will be a HNN event held in Portland (April 8), Vancouver, B.C. (June), and Seattle (July). We aim to assign contestants to the competition held in the city closest to them, and even ask each submitter to indicate their city of preference. However, as our goal is to curate a diverse mix for each event, there is a chance that you will not be offered the closest city. Contestants will participate in ONE city event. The single winner from each city event will advance to the championship round. By entering, you agree that if you win the city round, you will be able to compete in Vancouver BC at the championship round on Sept. 28, 2019. **Note** associated travel costs are not provided for city or championship rounds.

How many contestants will be chosen?

Each event will feature 4-5 pre-selected contestants. Each contestant receives broad promotional exposure on GRAY's platforms, live feedback from the prestigious panel of judges, plus the chance to pitch at the west coast’s biggest design show and potentially win the grand prize!

Do city winners need to register for or buy tickets to attend Interior Design Vancouver?

Nope, GRAY provides that for you!

I have a question that wasn't answered above, what should I do?

Email us at, and our HNN team will respond as soon as possible during business hours (9am-5pm PST). 

By clicking the Hot New Next form below you will be asked to sign in (for returning submitters), or create a free account, and then you may view the submission form. 

For any questions, please refer to the guidelines on the Submission landing page, here.