By Amanda Castro-Crist and Denisha Kranthoven
Amarillo College graphic design students and instructors cleaned up at the 2015 American Advertising Awards (ADDYs) this semester, bringing home a record 12 wins.
“We entered 12 student pieces and three professional pieces and we won nine student awards that included Best of Show and three professional awards,” graphic design instructor Derek Weathersbee said. “Two of the professional awards got gold, and one of them got a silver.”
All the pieces entered were graphic design pieces based off logical and real-world parameters, he said.
Students spent the previous semester rebranding hypothetical creative logos and developing new brands for existing companies in Amarillo.
“We had actual content that a person would actually have to deal with, which is what we have to do all of the time, and one of our students rebranded a local company and that thing won Best of Show,” Weathersbee said.
“That thing” was Michelle Low’s project for Mister Doyce Tuxedo.
Low created an advertising campaign and a total rebrand for the business. The project included business cards, full stationery, letterheads, envelopes, signage and a store redesign, along with full print and Web redesign.
Other pieces entered included typefaces, a logo and poster illustrations. Stefanie Carruth, an AC graphic designer in college relations, also took home a gold ADDY for her work on a brochure for the Amarillo Opera.
Students not only are learning how to create what would be considered “pretty” work, but also gaining the necessary skills in how to create and work on real-world projects.
“Our program is kind of a boot camp to get students ready for the real world,” Weathersbee said. “The fact that we can give these relatively real-world parameters to get these results that are award-winning with contemporary results.”
Though graphic design student Bethany Zalman was not planning to submit any of her work, she ended up winning Best in Show in the Outstanding Design Concept category.
“I gave my project to Perez, and it won an award,” Zalman said.
Chris Perez, a graphic design instructor, chooses not to focus entirely on the awards, but what you actually can learn from the experience.
“What I take out of this is hopefully setting that precedent that students start to set their own goals and start to see that there are more things outside of the third floor,” Perez said. “Design is not only local; you can go on to regional, or maybe national, but there is a whole world outside of the school.”
Weathersbee and Perez hope students will take all the success from this year and start to apply it in the work world.