Montana State University

MSU student designers win national ADDYs

July 11, 2017 -- Eliese Besemer, MSU News

A graphic design project by MSU senior Norrie Syme earned a silver award in the national student division of the 2017 American Advertising Awards, held June 10 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Image courtesy of Norrie Syme.Ski designs by MSU spring graduate Bill Leighton, which were a part of his senior thesis project, won Leighton a silver award in the national student division of the 2017 American Advertising Awards, held June 10 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Image courtesy of Bill Leighton.

A graphic design project by MSU senior Norrie Syme earned a silver award in the national student division of the 2017 American Advertising Awards, held June 10 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Image courtesy of Norrie Syme.

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BOZEMAN – Two Montana State University graphic design students won silver awards for their designs in the student division of the 2017 national American Advertising Awards, or ADDYs, held on June 10 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Norrie Syme and Bill Leighton, students in the MSU College of Arts and Architecture’s graphic design program, created their winning designs as part of the School of Art’s Graphic Design 465 course taught by Meta Newhouse, a professor in the School of Art.

“These awards really speak to the high level of instruction in our program and the individual students’ skills and hard work,” Newhouse said. “We are extremely proud of all our winners.”

Syme, a senior from San Mateo, California who won silver in the logo design category, worked on a project that required him to rebrand an existing music festival, including the identity, the website and other branded items. He chose the bluegrass festival FreshGrass, which combines traditional and new types of bluegrass music in a festival set in a rural, mountain atmosphere. In creating his logo, Syme employed a design technique called forced connection, which pairs two separate visual ideas to create a cohesive image, communicating the two ideas simultaneously, according to Newhouse.

“Norrie paired a banjo, to represent the type of music featured in the festival (bluegrass, which often features the banjo), with seedlings, indicating a fresh, new idea, to give people a good visual representation of what this festival is all about,” Newhouse said.

Leighton, a 2017 MSU graduate from Eagan, Minnesota, created his project, which won silver in the integrated brand identity campaign, as part of his senior thesis. The project involved creating a fictitious ski company that he called Modifi, which makes skis focusing on sustainable materials, such as wood from pine beetle-killed trees or reclaimed barn wood. Leighton designed a general product image, company logo, designs for different product models and a website, all geared to promote his fictitious company.

“Receiving such positive feedback from my industry has been a major confidence boost,” Leighton said. “I can't think of a better way to end my years at MSU.”

Leighton also mentioned that, someday, he would like to launch Modifi as a real business.

“This project really means a lot to me,” he said. “Other than design, skiing is my passion. Creating Modifi was my way of combining my love for both things.”

In addition to the national awards, MSU students won five silver ADDYs and one gold award at the district level and six silver and three gold ADDYs at the state level, including a gold and Best of Show award for Syme at the state competition.

“The students have traditionally done well at the state and district levels,” Newhouse said. “Last year MSU student designers won 14 ADDYs at the state competition, including the award for Best of Show. It really is wonderful to have two national winners from our program here at MSU this year.”

The gold award winner at the district level was Syme. The silver winners included Annie Peterson, for mobile app; Corsi, for outdoor advertising; Brandon Gomez, for integrated advertising campaign; Leighton, for integrated brand identity campaign; and Baker for packaging.

The gold award winners at the state level included Syme; Jessie Madeson, in packaging; and Annie Peterson, in app design. The silver winners included Emily Brosten, in packaging; Brandon Gomez, in integrated advertising campaign; Leighton, in integrated brand identity campaign; Erik Dale, in logo design; Ariel Baker in packaging; and Erin Corsi in outdoor advertising.

The ADDYs are sponsored by the American Advertising Federation, the national association for those in the advertising field. Each year, the AAF sponsors a three-tier competition, the ADDYs, to celebrate the best of advertising in the U.S. The student competition, sponsored by the AAF and AD 2 National, an organization designed for young professionals in advertising, mirrors the professional, with events at the state, district and national level. It recognizes and rewards creative excellence in student projects and honors the creative spirit of advertising, according to the description on the student entry form.

For more information on the student ADDYs, see http://www.aaf.org/AAFMemberR/AWARDS_AND_EVENTS/Awards/American_Advertising_Awards/AAFMemberR/Awards_and_Events/Awards/American_Advertising_Awards_Overview.aspx?hkey=754c9c3c-6d6e-4bdd-aaac-951e79a7445a.

For more information on the MSU graphic design program in the College of Arts and Architecture, visit http://art.montana.edu/areas-of-study/graphic-design.html, or contact Vaughan Judge, director, School of Art, at (406) 994-4501 or vaughan.judge@montana.edu.

Contact: Meta Newhouse, School of Art, (406) 994-2201 or meta.newhouse@montana.edu