UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Three students in Penn State’s graphic design program were acknowledged for their work as part of the AIGA Pittsburgh chapter’s new student design competition, dubbed Context. The competition is an extension of the chapter’s annual PGH365 awards and exhibition event, which recognizes work done by the professional design community, and celebrates the extraordinary work of undergraduate graphic design students.
Rachael Muir and Haley Stipes, who are in their third year of study, both earned Gold Awards while Noemie Noullet, a fourth-year student set to graduate this semester, was a recipient of the Award of Design Excellence. All three were recognized for their work in Associate Professor Ryan Russell’s Practical Communications course, which pairs students with businesses that then become their design clients.
“The course gives students the unique experience to work with a variety of organizations,” said Russell. “Students work directly with these 'clients' to define and solve a suite of design problems. We have worked with small, non-profit groups – where our students can provide a great service and make an immediate impact to those in need of design help – as well as national organizations.”
Muir’s client was the PGH365 competition and she was tasked with creating the event's social branding, which included a website landing page, email template and three Instagram posts.
“I was inspired by the ‘80's hit TV show, "Saved by the Bell,” said Muir. “The vibrant colors and energetic geometric patterns are essentially what drove my concept.”
Muir also enjoyed the fact that there were not many parameters set for the project, making the process even more fun.
“I was really able to use my imagination with this project and show my personality through my work,” she said.
Stipes was tasked with creating the same deliverables for the Context competition itself.
“I wanted to represent what graphic design is, which is creativity combined with concrete rules and techniques,” she said. “I represented this by combining the more expressive paint strokes with the gridded type and shapes.”
Noullet’s client was Pizza Talerico, a restaurant specializing in southern Italian cuisine, for which she designed a menu and a pizza box.
“I decided that I wanted my design to reflect the family-born aspect of the restaurant, so I knew I wanted to make it look more handcrafted. I also wanted to make it clear that the food was wholesome and made from the finest ingredients in southern Italian cooking,” she said.
A total of 129 entries were received and then judged by a panel of nine Pittsburgh-area design professionals in this inaugural event.
The format of the Context competition was inspired by the former Real Show, the decades-old student competition of The Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington (D.C.), which dissolved in 2013.
All of the students’ submitted works can be viewed via Google Drive.