By SHANNON WATKINS
For the second year in a row, graphic design students from Radford University dominated the Western Virginia ADDY Awards. Radford students took home 28 awards, including Student Best of Show and a special Judges’ Choice Award.
The annual event, which was held this year on Feb. 23 in Roanoke, is sponsored by the American Advertising Federation and is the first step in a three-tier national competition. Awards are made to professionals as well as to students in a range of fields, including sales promotion, collateral material, direct marketing, trade publications, newspapers, television and interactive media.
Winning an award is a strong indicator among advertising and graphic design professionals of creative excellence, said John O’Connor, assistant professor of graphic design in Radford’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.
“It was an interesting night,” O’Connor said. “Many of the professional winners were companies whose owners, directors or designers were RU alumni. Needless to say, their support of our students was joyfully loud.”
Liberty University came in second at this year’s competition, with 26 awards. Four faculty members in Liberty’s Department of Studio and Digital Arts hold M.F.A. degrees from Radford, O’Connor said.
Gold ADDY recipients advance to the regional level of competition, which includes winners from Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Radford’s student awards this year included four gold ADDYs to RU alumnus Zach Ulmer for “MAN,” “Girls Poster Promo,” “Creative Gamer Spread” and “Hipster Design Show Poster Series.” In addition to the gold ADDY, Ulmer took home the Student Best in Show Award for “Hipster Design Show Poster Series.”
Ulmer graduated in fall 2012 but remained eligible for this year’s ADDYs because his works were completed while he was an enrolled student during the 2012 school year.
Elizabeth Favazza won a gold ADDY and Special Judges Choice Award For A Unique Product Idea (That You Should Sell To A Manufacturer) for her piece “Mixed Elements.”
In addition to winning acclaim for their work, ADDY-winning student designers make a vital link with their professional counterparts.
“The Western Virginia ADDY Awards provide an opportunity for our students to get their work out of the halls of RU and in front of the kinds of industry professionals that they’ll be working with after graduation,” said Ken Smith, assistant professor of graphic design. “Furthermore, they have a chance to speak with those people and get feedback on the work they’ve done and the work they hope to do.”
In the past, Radford students’ participation in the ADDYs has secured them both internships and full-time positions, in addition to bolstering the reputation of RU’s arts and graphic design programs. “It alerts regional design professionals to the fact that Radford has a vibrant and growing art program and that they should always look this way when they’re in the market for talented design students,” Smith said.
RU gold winners were Zach Ulmer with “Hipster Design Show Poster Series,” “MAN,” “Girls Poster Promo” and “Creative Gamer Spread;” Elizabeth Favazza with “Mixed Elements” and “Dough’s Pyramid;”
Jerome Sturm with”M Russak Ruins;” Derek Reynolds with “Lemax Figures;” and Laura Ashley Marlowe with “3D Steampunk Fountain Pen Model,” “Modern” and “Caught Red Handed—Cinema4D Rendering.”