York/Sheridan students scoop up graphic design awards – again

There’s no doubt about it: York/Sheridan graphic design students are oozing with talent. For the second year in a row, they’ve won a majority of student awards presented annually by the Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario (RGD).

Right: Vivian Choi’s award-winning graphic design

This year, they have won 11 of 21 awards – six out of 10 scholarships, each worth $1,000, and five out of 11 honourable mentions. Last year, under slightly different rules, they lassoed 17 of 23 awards and honourable mentions.

Why do students in the York/Sheridan Joint Program in Design consistently outperform the competition? Don Newgren, Chair of the Faculty of Fine Art’s Design Department, says it’s because of “the jointness of the program” and the quality of students it attracts. In 1999, “the best two design schools in Canada” – the Department of Design in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts and the Design Department in Sheridan’s School of Animation, Arts and Design – came together rather than compete for the same students, says Newgren. It was the first Ontario program to offer an Honours Bachelor of Design degree. “We get 2,000 applications from around the world and accept 100, so we’re starting with the top five per cent of design students in Ontario, in the country, in the world.”

This is not the first time design students in the joint program have stepped into the spotlight. Last year, the third-year team of Graham Huber, Gigi Lui and Peter Hui created the winning designs of the personal insignia of Canadian Space Agency astronaut and York alumnus Steve MacLean and the team insignia (left) of crew members of the next Space Shuttle mission. Huber is an internationally award-winning digital artist who came first in 2002 in the student category at both the Macworld Expo 2002 and Seybold Seminars, New York.

On Sept. 9, RGD will honour the 2003 winners at a special awards ceremony at the Arts & Letters Club in Toronto. The winners’ work will be on display at the reception and will be reproduced in print and electronic media, including the September/October issue of Applied Arts, Canada’s leading visual communications magazine.

Last year, art students in any year of a post-secondary graphic design program in Ontario could compete for RGD scholarship awards. This year, the field was limited to second-year students enrolled in a three- or four-year graphic design program who are student members of the association.

This year’s RGD winners and their $1,000 cash awards are:

  • Vivian Choi – “Byronic” Spexel Specialty Papers Award
  • Jennifer Clark – “Cotton Club” Spexel Specialty Papers Award
  • Gary Landecker – Soos Communications Ltd. Award
  • Fedilisa Llameg – Philip Sung Design Associates Award
  • Fai Pang – Koskie Minsky Award
  • Sarah Rozee – Philip Sung Design Associates Award

Honourable mentions went to Maria Doumkova, Aleksandra Gniazdowska, Brent Godfrey, Sarit Marko and Abigail Reyes.

For a full list of this year’s winners, visit the RGD Web site.