Six Islanders Score 11 Graphic Design Awards at Local ADDYS

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The graphic design program at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi once again dominated the student competition portion of the local American Advertising Awards, held virtually this year in late February. The graphic design program, which is part of the Department of Art + Design, took home 11 awards, including the coveted Best of Show award won by senior Neiman Ward. 

Allison Bahr won a bronze award for nuRx App Redesign and a gold award for Crust Pizza Co. Ad Campaign. Danielle Galindo won a silver award for Life is Good Rebrand & Collateral and a second silver award for ScifiNow Magazine. Ward also received the Best of Show award, a Rising Star $500 cash scholarship and a gold award for Bega Cheese Annual Report; he also earned a bronze award for Huddle Magazine. Other winners include silver award winners Drew Scott (Artistry), Jason Sullivan (Grown Trilogy), and Mandy Espericueta (Señor Muerte Packaging Series).  

The competition was held live on Facebook for the first time in the local club’s history.

The American Advertising Awards is one of the industry’s largest creative competitions, attracting nearly 35,000 professional and student entries each year through competitions offered through local AAF clubs, according to Nancy Miller, TAMU-CC Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and program coordinator.

“The local ADDY Awards is the first of a three-tier, national competition,” Miller said. “Twenty percent or less of submissions will win at the first tier.”

At the second tier, local ADDY winners compete against winners from other local clubs in one of 15 district competitions. District ADDY winners are then forwarded to the national stage of the American Advertising Awards.

Ward, who hails from Dallas, is no stranger to the Addy Awards – he won a bronze award and silver award in 2018 and two bronze awards in 2019. For this year’s contest, Ward created an annual report for the Bega Cheese; it was his first effort at designing for a food brand.

“Just when I was adjusting to the brand, COVID-19 struck and we switched to online learning. During the project, I spent many nights in the graphic design lab. That semester was full of all-nighters and self-induced stress of wanting to be the best. The judges appreciated how the annual report gave all of the fiscal data that was needed but in a way that didn’t feel like you were reading an annual report.”

Ward said winning the Rising Star Award was a moment of surprise for him.

“What made the moment special was making my professors proud. I know they believe in me, and if I can show them that their hard work isn’t all for nothing then I feel just a little bit better at the end of the day. They push me harder than anyone has ever pushed me,” Ward said.

Espericueta said she designed a Día de los Muertos-themed line of hot sauce over the course of two months from conceptualization to execution.

“The idea came to me surprisingly quickly, but it took several hours of market research and sketching ideas before I began to form an actual concept for the design itself,” the College Station native said. “Skulls, Mexican themes and Spanish phrases are nothing new in the world of hot sauce products, so I needed to be sure that I could combine these elements in a way that was unique and engaging.”

Espericueta, who is a graphic intern in the Office of Marketing and Communications, also holds a part-time position with H-E-B.

“One of the career options I am now considering after graduation is pursuing a job as a graphic designer for H-E-B’s line of products,” she said. “I had never considered this career path until I took the class on packaging last semester and fell in love with the design process. Winning an award for my packaging series has inspired me to pursue this interest and continue to grow as a designer.”

Alexandria Canchola, TAMU-CC Assistant Professor of Art, won Best of Show for a 52-page art catalogue called Drawn Worlds in the professional competition.  

The art catalogue, which was created for the Art Museum of Texas, profiled the work of six Texas artists who depict their “worlds” in graphite.

Canchola said that in approaching this work as designer and illustrator, she wanted to make sure each artist’s work was respected and given equal weight in the catalogue.

“I developed a flexible grid system that could work with the varying dimensions of images. I chose to give special attention to the visual elements that would tie the catalogue together as the viewer flipped through the book, such as the graphite lines, a dynamic hand lettered typographical treatment for each name, and blocks of color. With those elements repeated from spread to spread, the artwork was then able to be treated as a surprise, engaging the viewer in visual delight as they turned the page,” Canchola said.

Miller said despite the challenge of an all-virtual competition, students rose to the occasion.

“They did not disappoint. In fact, I had a judge email me after the results were confirmed to express their appreciation of the caliber of the student work from our institution,” Miller said. “The graphic design faculty is extremely proud of the efforts and dedication of our students. The recognition earned will serve to advance them on their career path.”