Alumni News

Monopoly-inspired design project wins LU grad gold in national ad competition

June 13, 2017 : By Drew Menard/Liberty University News Service

Instantly recognizable, the cash-grabbing, top hat-wearing, cane-holding, mustached Rich Uncle Pennybags has been a staple of American pop culture for decades as the mascot for the popular family board game Monopoly. Though many think of Pennybags’ world as one that teaches basic economics through play and inspires future business dealers, a rather unique element of Monopoly caught the eye of recent Liberty University graduate Hannah Pinkie — an artistic story.

Inspired by the original design features of Monopoly —  contrasting color blocks, half tones, and thick, black lines, as well as the 1930s art deco stylization representative of the game’s golden era — Pinkie created an entire media campaign for a would-be Monopoly museum feature exhibit, including outdoor ads, indoor graphics, and information pamphlets. (View her work in the video above and slideshow below.)

“I sought to put my own twist on the design, all while keeping the original integrity and identifiable features of the game,” Pinkie said.

Her entry, “Collect 200: The Building of Monopoly,” was originally created for a class project, but ended up winning Pinkie a coveted national gold award in the 2017 American Advertising Federation (AAF) Student American Advertising Awards (ADDY) competition. Pinkie received her award last weekend in New Orleans during the AFF’s annual Admerica National Conference. Drawing more than 40,000 entries annually, the ADDYs are the advertising industry’s largest competition. Pinkie won gold in the Single Occurrence or Installation category.

“I was definitely blown away, very excited,” Pinkie said. “I feel honored. It was encouraging and reassuring of the skills and abilities I have learned and developed at Liberty.”

Pinkie said she decided to focus on Monopoly specifically because the game is so prolific, having stood the test of time while adapting over the years.

“I just wanted to do something fun — everyone at least knows something about the game, so it could reach a wide audience,” she said. “I wanted to put a modern, artistic style to it. This is something that has impacted a lot of us. If you were to walk through an exhibit like that, you would enjoy being there, and it would come alive to you, and you would see it in a different way.”

Pinkie, who graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design and a minor in business, said she is grateful for the professors at Liberty, who saw a talent in her and encouraged her to pursue it. Originally a business major with a graphic design minor, Pinkie flipped the two as her passion for design was discovered, cultivated, and nurtured in the classroom.

“It started off as a passion; I’ve always enjoyed art,” she said. “With a little nudge from professors, it took off from there. They definitely gave me confidence that not only was this something that I enjoyed doing, but something I could make a career out of.”

Pinkie recently started working at Alloy Research & Brand Strategy in Columbus, Ohio, and said that her education at Liberty prepared her for early success in her career.

“I feel so much more knowledgeable, and my abilities have grown immensely,” she said. “It is exciting to be able to do something that I have always enjoyed for a job.”

Todd Smith, chair of Liberty’s Department of Studio & Digital Arts (SADA), said Pinkie stood out as a student producing content at the professional level. She earned the department’s Outstanding Student Award, presented during the degree presentation ceremony at Commencement.

“Hannah not only possesses strong design skills, but she has the other intangibles that are so important in the field of art and design,” Smith said. “She's a team player, reliable, innovative, and always willing to go to the next level. We’re very proud of Hannah. Competitors from art and design schools across the nation are represented in the ADDY competition, so to win at this level means Hannah is one of the best-of-the-best in the country.”

Smith said the award also speaks to the quality of Liberty’s academic program.

“We have excellent faculty who have years of industry experience and invest hours both in and out of class mentoring our students,” he said. “Our goal has always been to reflect God’s creativity and bring him glory in all aspects of the field of art and design.”

Pinkie is the third national ADDY winner from Liberty. In 2013, a graphic design graduate won gold for his movie poster illustrations, and in 2014, a team of graduates won silver for their website design. Liberty consistently garners numerous awards at the local and district levels of the competition.