Senior Moki Blanding has won a regional ADDY Award from the American Advertising Federation of Kansas City, a prestigious award she’ll accept at the Midland Theatre next month.
Although confident in her work, Blanding said she was “extremely surprised” when she found out, mainly because the Kansas City competition is considered one of the largest and most competitive regional ADDY competitions in the country. The other Stephens submissions alone were tough competition, she said.
“I was like ‘Me? Out of all of these people?’” she said, referring to her classmates.
Blanding’s award-winning design came from an assignment in her information and promotion design class last year. One of the last projects of the semester, the idea was to create a concept that combined strong promotional visual elements with information consumers need.
Blanding decided to create an entire product, a new type of caffeinated beer. It’s an idea that’s been tested on the real market and has flopped over safety concerns. Blanding researched those products, determining why they failed, and created her campaign around a safer alternative. After determining her target market would be people who stay up late, she decided to use an owl as the main design for labels, boxes and other materials.
“I researched other nocturnal animals, but the night owl was obvious,” she said.
After finding an image of a real owl, she designed the fictitious company's logo.
“Once I had a strong concept, the rest was cake,” she said. “It took me two to three hours to create the design that could be put on a bottle, box or poster.”
Although this particular project called on students to design for fictitious clients, many graphic design projects at Stephens connect student designers to real clients on campus and around the community. That's what makes the program so unique, she said.
Blanding is also a member of Creative Ink, a student-run marketing firm on campus that is doing work for Columbia Regional Airport and Columbia Public Schools.
“Creative Ink is such a great opportunity,” she said. “You work with real clients and learn the ins and outs. You get a feel of being independent while still working in a safe environment where you’re free to grow and learn and fail sometimes.”
Blanding praised her peers for being part of that nurturing environment. While students technically compete for awards, Stephens graphic design students support and encourage one another, she said.
“We lean on each other for advice,” she said.
Blanding is taking fellow Creative Ink staff member Michelle Marcum with her to the Feb. 15 event, where she’ll find out if her design wins a Gold or Silver, both of which would enter her into the national ADDY competition.
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