In collaboration with Samsung Mobile and the leading smartwatch watch face platform Facer, we are helping to host a design competition for watch dials meant for the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch. aBlogtoWatch reviewed the Samsung Gear S3 here. This is an exciting opportunity for designers who like traditional and modern connected watches to apply their efforts in making faces that will truly help bring the Samsung Gear S3 to life for more people.

By default, the Tizen operating system on the Samsung Gear S3 is designed to accept third-party watch faces which can be downloaded straight to the device. This is your opportunity to get some exciting prizes for designing the best possible watch dials you can for use on the very “traditional watch-like” Samsung Gear S3.

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What makes the watch dials special on this particular device? Samsung designed the Gear S3 to have an excellent always-on state which makes full use of the OLED screen but doesn’t significantly drain battery power. It’s animated and in full color. Thus, in addition to the main watch dial users see while the Samsung Gear S3 screen is activated, there is the possibility of an always-on state which onlookers can view all the time. In my opinion, that makes the Samsung Gear S3 the most “communicative” smartwatch to date, offering a lot of the same fashionable experience as traditional watches.


So with that said, I encourage designers entering this design competition to make something classic and timeless, but also ideally suited to the environment and design of the Samsung Gear S3. I, Ariel Adams, along with founder of Facer (whose name also happens to be Ariel), and Samsung Gear S3 co-designer Yvan Arpa will serve as the judges for this competition.

There will be five finalists chosen who will all receive their choice of Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch. Each of the finalists will also get their watch dials coded into working watch faces for the Samsung Gear S3 (with potential compatibility on other smartwatch devices) that people can download from the Facer platform. In addition to the above, the first prize winner will get $500 in cash. All finalists who get their watch faces coded into downloadable watch dials will be eligible to receive revenue sharing royalties for the sale of their watch face on the Facer platform. I think that’s pretty darn cool, and I’m excited to see the entrants.

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I’ll offer a few tips for entrants before they get started – but before I do, note that the full rules and process for how to submit designs are in the link below on the facer.io website for the Watch Design Competition. Designs must not only be 100% original, but they must also harmoniously blend form and function. Utility and attractiveness will be equally measured because people want to look at something that is both useful and beautiful.

Yvan Arpa adds his own advice to entrants: “I look for watch dials that bring me pleasure. Pleasure is for me a very important factor when designing and can/should be felt by the audience of any creation in addition to that creation having utility. More so, it is more difficult to design a dial that becomes iconic and will last for the next decade – which is something that I will look for. To measure timeless designs it is important to step away from your work, and then later return to see if it evokes the same emotion as when you first designed it. To all the entrants, enjoy the competition and as we say in Switzerland, merde et que le meilleur gagne (the standard translation of “good luck” is weak in comparison, but that’s the spirit).”


What’s great about the digital design of smartwatch face is that designers are not bound by traditional limitations such as the movement, materials, etc. This can also make it more difficult given the wide spectrum of possibilities. You can enter as many designs as you like, but only one of your designs can be eligible to win, of course.

I also want to remind designers that starting with the hands and not the dial is a wise decision. Good hands (no matter what form they take or the number of them) are the cornerstone of all good watch designs. From there, you can build an appropriate dial along with other features. Also, don’t feel compelled to include as much functionality as humanly possible given the wide range of data available in a smartwatch. Remember that the dials should be attractive and legible when viewed in smartwatch size, and not just on a computer screen. I, for one, will be judging designs not only for how attractive and original they are, but also for how well they take particular advantage of being on a smartwatch platform such as that of the Samsung Gear S3. Also remember that the always-on state screen is not exactly the same as the fully-on state screen, so the most complete designs will have both.

The deadline to submit designs is around March 1, 2017 – but see the below link for final decisions. After that, a judging phase will ensue. To submit designs, you can use the Facer Creator, Photoshop, or Illustrator. For full terms and to apply, please visit the Samsung Gear S3 watch design competition page on Facer here.

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