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Liberty News

‘Unfortunate Events’ design leads to fortunate win at national competition

June 19, 2019 : By Tobi Walsh Laukaitis/Liberty University News Service

All it took was a packaging cylinder and a unique theme for recent Liberty University graduate Rachel Kelli to take her graphic design project to the next level.

For a class assignment, Kelli and her classmates were charged with creating product packaging related to a television show, movie, book, or fictional character.

Kelli drew her inspiration from Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

“I pulled all of my ideas from the book series that he has already written, where (the author) Lemony Snicket is a character in the books themselves,” Kelli said.

She designed three versions of a spyglass (a small telescope) that each contain puzzles with secret messages. The spyglasses are used to decipher the messages.

“Throughout the book series, the characters are constantly using a spyglass to find hidden messages,” Kelli said. “I cut the cylinder into thirds and used different colored tops. It was a very in-depth process, but it was a lot of fun.”

The project, “The Coded Collection,” was awarded a Silver Award at the 2019 American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) Student American Advertising Awards (ADDY) earlier this month in Hollywood Beach, Fla. The competition is one of the industry's largest, with nearly 35,000 professional and student entries each year.

“At first, I couldn’t believe it,” Kelli said of winning silver. “It was really exciting to be able to go to nationals and meet other design professionals and see the things the industry is doing on a national scale.”

But the project did more than earn her recognition at the national stage; it challenged her as a designer.

“It prepared me to approach a project from multiple levels,” Kelli said. “You don’t approach it as ‘just packaging.’ You approach it from, ‘I’m creating packaging that I want people to keep and not throw it away,’ which is what people normally do with packaging. But it’s not just the packaging; it’s how a customer interacts with the product.”

Kelli, who celebrated earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Studio Art at Liberty’s Commencement in May, said the degree program prepared her to be well-rounded as a design professional.

“Whether it’s print design or something more digital interactive-based, like web design or apps, I think Liberty does a good job of giving you a good basis of knowledge in those areas,” Kelli said. “When you go into the career field, you’re not just going in as a web designer or a layout designer; you go in with the skill set to help out in all those areas. You become more of an asset for whatever company or organization you work for.”

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