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2017 University News

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Art + Design Student Wins Best in Show at 2017 AIGA Flux

West Chester students take home a total of 10 awards

For the first time, a WCU Art + Design student took home the Best in Show Award at this year's AIGA Flux Student Design Competition in Frederick, MD.

Brindy Gibbs, a senior Graphic and Interactive Design major from Norwood, PA, became the 11th student ever to take home the award. A jury of creative professionals selected her work Peake, a prototype publication she created for Calvert County, MD, as the most creative out of over 600 entries from across the country. It captured Best Entry in the publication category as well.

She also received a merit award for her packaging design on Kahawa Coffee. This is Gibbs' second year competing in the AIGA Flux competition. Last year, she took home merit recognition for another package design.

Her influence and inspiration come from her personal experiences and the artwork she observes around her, she says. "Peake was inspired by my family vacations to Maryland as well as my hobby of looking for sharks' teeth along the bay. My classmates are also a huge inspiration because I see the work they create and it motivates me to push myself to the best of my abilities."

Since she transferred to West Chester, Gibbs says that the Art + Design faculty, particularly Assistant Professor David Jones, have taught her effectively. "David not only has a talent for teaching students and pushing them to produce great work, but he genuinely cares for each of us. Through his teaching he has instilled in me a passion for design and the confidence it takes to be a graphic designer."

While his design students develop their inherent creativity, Jones notes that student designers are challenged to develop professional-grade work despite the lack of access to expensive production resources that large project budgets afford practitioners. Student portfolios are instead reliant on high-quality prototypes, so he tries to develop assignments that will be feasible for students on limited budgets to fabricate.

"Packaging projects are perfect as they are cost-effective, dynamic, and among the most visually appealing solutions we interact with as consumers." He elaborates: "The deliverable is specific and simple. The design process encourages transitioning from traditional containers to more eco-conscious designs. Students engaged in this project are challenged to use principals of sustainable design and aesthetic minimalism to develop cost-effective, carbon-neutral alternatives to current standards."

Five other West Chester University students also took home AIGA merit awards:
Senior Megan Marianelli in Packaging for her Evergreen Pencils and in Posters for her One Vote entry.
Junior Christina Robinson in both the Identity and Packaging categories.
Junior Colleen Kochanasz in Packaging.
Junior Tara Shachter in Packaging.
Senior James O'Toole in Publication.

The annual Flux competition is hosted by AIGA Blue Ridge: Western MD, WV, Southern PA, and Northern VA's professional association for design. It is a branch of the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Check out the winners here