Design Department wins Best School at National Student Show (and much more)
August 13, 2012
Last spring the School of Architecture, Design, and Planning’s Department of Design was named Best School at the eighth National Student Show. KU senior Jessica Marak, of Kansas City, Mo., won Best of Show and the Judge’s Choice awards for 164, a journal that chronicled her experiences while studying abroad.
The National Student Show is an annual three-day conference and awards program put on by the Dallas Society of Visual Communications. It is the only graphic arts event in the U.S. where entries are limited to student work. Prior to the event, projects and portfolios are submitted for judging in an assortment of categories. Independent judges choose Best Of winners and also select work for an exhibition.
Students from 20 states submitted 1,300 entries this year. According to Brandon DeLoach, a Dallas graphic designer and this year’s show chairman, Best School was based on the large number of KU student projects chosen for display in the exhibition, as well as the number that received “Best Of” status. Out of 149 projects selected for the exhibit, Department of Design students authored 62.
“We’ve seen it coming for awhile, and this year KU really tipped the scale,” DeLoach said. “At the show, student work is grouped by school. It was easy to see Kansas had two out of the three best Senior Portfolios, and the Best Junior and Sophomore Portfolios. They won the Best of Show, Judge’s Choice, and had six other best-of category pieces.”
Learning from 164
For Jessica Marak, the awards illustrate how important it is for students to share work with an audience that extends beyond their immediate peers and teachers. “The journal was a very personal process for me,” said Marak, “so sharing it with the design community was a big deal.”
Graphic designer Ann Willoughby of Willoughby Design Group, Kansas City, Mo., awarded the Judge’s Choice to Marak’s journal. She said in a video, “The reason I picked this book is that I thought it was beautifully put together. Every page had some wonderful element, either a photograph or words, that was highly personal to Jessica. I found it absolutely authentic.”
“It feels good to know that people enjoyed it,” said Marak, “and makes me want to create more projects like it, where I can push myself and experiment with design.”
A future dynasty?
Besides celebrating the accomplishments of individual students, events like National Student Show elevate the reputation of a school, and can even lead to employment opportunities.
“KU does very well in student competitions.” said Andrea Herstowski, associate professor of design and the Department of Design’s interim chairperson. “We don’t win for a logo; our students are often awarded and recognized for their branding campaigns, brand guidelines, publications, motion graphics and posters. And our students learn early how to present their work.”
DeLoach said, “The buzz around the Dallas design world after the portfolio reviews was that there were several really good Kansas seniors. Everybody was after them for internships and jobs. We were looking at this and thinking, ‘This might become a dynasty.’ Kansas is the first school that has come down and really competed against the big Texas schools that have always won Best School.”
In addition to Marak’s awards, Department of Design students and faculty also won the following awards:
Best Total Campaign: Justin Bell
Best Sophomore Portfolio: Caleb Newberg
Best Junior Portfolio: Anna Defazio
Best Senior Portfolio (Silver): Lauren Schimming
Best Senior Portfolio (Bronze): Justin Bell
Best Group Project: Kiosk
Best Magazine Cover/Spread: Maggie Hirschi
Best of Book Cover/Spread: Danielle Aldrich tied with fellow student Jessica Marak
Best of Publication Design: Kenzie Tubbs
Best Infographic: Lauren Schimming
A special award called The Golden Apple went to Jeremy Shellhorn, associate professor of design. This is an award given to annually to an outstanding educator. Students nominate their instructors by writing 700-word essays about them.
All of the winners of the Eighth National Student Show can be viewed at http://nationalstudentshow.com. Department of Design National Student Show portfolios can also be seen at http://cargocollective.com/kuvisualcommunication/filter/2012-National-St...
The complete video of Ann Willoughby’s comments about Jessica Marak’s Judge’s Choice selection can be seen here: http://vimeo.com/40595873.