Everything gets verified and catalogued. Hands flip through the pages checking that everything required for the application is included. If the package contains oversized materials or add-ons, these are registered with the same code assigned to the portfolio. The portfolio itself is inserted in a dedicated folder carrying the name of the contestant and other essential information. A handwritten note on the folder highlights the presence of any extra or oversized material, so when the portfolio will be examined by the jury during selections (they will be doing a blind view by the way, not knowing names or schools to focus just on the projects), the extra materials will be brought in and examined as well.
The names of the contestants are checked to verify if we have already met them personally during our annual Scouting Tour, when we travel to schools around the world to interview students on their work. So we sometimes have the privilege of meeting them first, of seeing for ourselves those hardworking hands that have assembled and prepared the portfolio. Interviewing students personally is a very important part of the process. Sometimes it allows to provide the jury with additional information that is not present in the portfolio. Because portfolio-making is a tricky process and it can be tough for a designer to be totally objective about their work. Sometimes they leave out important explanations and we find ourselves telling the jury “Look, we met him personally, we can guarantee that he is capable of producing what he claims, we’ve seen it ourselves”. This makes travelling essential for us, while also allowing us to catch up with the ITS Family, like at the YKK London Showroom, where we had the opportunity to make a toast with many London-based finalists.