AIGA hosts second annual student contest
Tensions were high as the eyes of 21 students remained glued to computer screens and fingers feverishly clicked away at mouse and keyboard, no one wanting to waste a precious second as they fought the battle known as Design Wars.
Hosted by the Liberty student graphic design group affiliated with the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the second annual Design Wars took place March 21 in DeMoss Hall for all graphic design majors and minors. Contestants were presented with a fabricated movie title upon arrival and spent the following four hours creating a poster to promote it. Three winners were named at the end of the night.
Lauren Stell, president of AIGA@Liberty, said that she was excited to see what creative pieces the students would design. According to Stell, this year has brought a good response from students.
“Last year, we did a three-series event that was actually over the course of three weeks, where (students) came in and did a different design competition, but we found that people lost interest by the end of the event. So, this year, we’re doing a one night, four-hour (competition), and by the end of it, we’ll have a winner.”
According to Stell, Design Wars provides a good way for students to boost portfolios and increase their experience with designing.
“It just shows that (students) care because they participated, and it’s important to job recruiters that you do more than just scoot by with your degree,” Stell said. “It’s also good because it gives them a clear idea of where they rank among other designers in the community. It’s a good, healthy competition.”
Winning a Wacom Bamboo Create Tablet for first prize, senior graphic design major Jacob Siner received the movie title “The Dreaming Land.” According to Siner, he had to re-learn how to keep his designs simple because the simplest designs can be the best designs.
“The first thing was weeding out all the first things that came to mind, because everything that hit me right at first was stuff I’ve seen, like floating islands,” Siner said. “That typically happens with design.
Everything you know comes back first, and you’ve got to weed through that and try to do something a little newer.”
Siner said that he did not know what to expect beforehand because he did not know what the competition would be like. Upon arrival, however, Siner also said that he knew he was in good company with his fellow designers.
“I sit down and design all the time,” Siner said. “It’s just how I spend most of my time and most of my life. The hard part really was just sitting and waiting for the judging in the end. The whole night was just great fun, being here with everybody. It didn’t feel like a difficult atmosphere. It was a good way to create.”
Assisting with the judging was instructor of Studio and Digital Arts Monique Maloney, who said that she agreed to be a judge because she wants to be able to cheer her students on as they go above and beyond school assignments.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Maloney said. “I was expecting good things, but our expectations were exceeded. Overall, the show of work was great. People did a lot of portraiture, a lot of illustrations. I was really impressed especially because they were on the spot. They had no … incubation time. It was really good.”
During the judging process, Maloney said the judges looked for things such as concept, type execution, illustration execution and overall arrangement. The judges also looked for the overall appearance of a movie poster.
David Meyer, also a judge and instructor of studio and digital arts, compared the competition to physical exercise.
“When you do it, you feel better afterward and you start to have good physical benefits. So their minds get conditioned to think like this, and it becomes easier and easier,” Meyer said.
Conditioning the mind with conceptual thinking was a main benefit that Meyer said this competition brought to students.
“When you’re in the industry, you don’t always have the normal school assignment deadlines that last for weeks,” Meyer said. “It could be a couple days or a few hours. So that’s one reason why I wanted to come, because it’s something we teach in our classrooms.”
According to Stell, competitions like Design Wars are created to encourage the students to foster community among fellow designers while motivating them to succeed in their field.