As the year comes to an end, it is natural that we look ahead to the next one. January is usually a time to start fresh. Many of us make resolutions -- promising ourselves to be more organized, become more fit or whatever self-improvement we want to work on. In the stone and tile industry, as well as the design community, the beginning of the year is also the time when many design competitions take place. As the editor of Stone World, Contemporary Stone & Tile Design and TILE Magazine, I have received press releases for several competitions lately.

I know as the end of the year draws near, people start to feel rushed with the holidays approaching, and they want to wrap projects up at work. Taking the time to fill out submission forms might fall last on the priority list, but it is really worth the effort. After all the dedication that was put into bringing a design to fruition, it would be nice to receive recognition for it. And many of these contests offer some enticing prizes.

Tile of Spain recently was searching for several architects and designers who use ceramic tile in the most creative applications. The winners will be part of a trip to Valencia, Spain, to attend the international tile exhibition, Cevisama.

The Coverings Installation & Design (CID) Awards honors the most superior designs and installations of tile and stone. The design competition, which is sponsored by Contemporary Stone & Tile Design along with TileLetter, is open to architects, designers, builders, contractors, distributors, retailers and installers. The CID Awards celebrate creativity and technical know-how in the use of tile and stone in residential, commercial, international and sustainable projects. What is significant about this competition is it promotes not only innovative designs but quality workmanship. It illustrates the importance of teamwork among members of the design community and tile contractors. It is not too late to enter the CID Awards. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, January 20. Read more about the competition in the Industry News section of this edition of the Stone & Tile Design Insider.

Also highlighted in this edition is the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition -- sponsored by Confindustria Ceramica (the Italian Association of Ceramics) and the Italian Trade Commission. Taking place for more than 20 years, this competition is well established and honors the work of North American architects and designers who create exceptional spaces using Italian ceramic and porcelain tile. It celebrates the pairing of inspiring design ideas with products from leading manufacturers to create spaces that are well appointed, versatile, timeless and sustainable. Winners of the competition receive a trip to Bologna, Italy, to attend Cersaie, the international tile exhibition held in the fall.

The competitions I mentioned are just to name a few. As you wind down 2014, take a minute to check out what is being offered and fill out a submission form. I know there are many beautiful stone and tile projects out there that should be recognized.