York/Sheridan Design students win big in a national competition

For the fourth consecutive year, a student in the York/Sheridan Joint Program in Design (YSDN) has taken first prize in the annual national scholarship competition of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC). As in 2005 and 2006, the York/Sheridan Joint Program also has the high distinction of being the only school with more than one winner.

The GDC is the national certification body for visual communication designers. Students from all across the country vied for the scholarships. Applicants submitted a piece of their work completed as a class project and were judged by professional members of the GDC. Judges scored each entry on criteria such as methodology, typography, content and presentation.

Right: Annmarie Akrong’s winning submission

The top honour Veer Scholarship, valued at $2,500, went to Annmarie Akong for her poster and collateral pieces for the Contact Festival. Adrienne Lenardon’s Doors Open Toronto project won the $1,000 Aquent award.

Both students entered a project they did in their Communication Design class taught by Professor Sandra Gabriele. The course involved developing a visual identification for a festival of their own choosing.

“The winners are student members of the GDC, and their considerable creativity and talent really impressed the judges,” said GDC president Rod Roodenburg. “It’s a privilege for the GDC to celebrate the next generation of Canada’s visual communicators and help them develop their craft.”

“I’m thrilled that once again GDC have recognized the fine talent in the York/Sheridan Design Program,” said Wendy Wong, chair of the Department of Design in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. “Congratulations to Annmarie Akong and Adrienne Lenardon on behalf of the department and their peers. Their GDC awards represent accolades for us all.”

Gabriele praised the quality of the winning works done by her students. “Annmarie’s design solutions for Contact [North America’s largest photography festival] display a keen understanding of the audience and the purpose of this particular event,” said Gabriele. “She handled the typography and image-making with ease. She shot most of the photos for the project herself, demonstrating her resourcefulness as a designer.

Left: Adrienne Lenardon’s Doors Open Toronto project won the $1,000 Aquent Award

“Adrienne’s integration of both hand-drawn type and typeset text in her campaign for Doors Open Toronto [a city-wide architecture festival with free admission to 140 buildings] showed real versatility as a designer,” said Gabriele. “Combining a traditional craft-based approach with digital technology resulted in a fresh, novel direction for the system of promotional material.”

The students returned the praise for the program, their professors and the GDC. “YSDN is a great program because it’s so current and we learn from professionals in the field,” said Akong. “I’d like to thank GDC and Veer not only for the recognition, but also for their commitment to helping the design community. I’d also like to thank my instructor, Sandra Gabriele, who guided and inspired me throughout this project, and my other instructors who have helped me develop my design practice for the past three years.”

“YSDN is a very unique program with a focus on creativity and conceptual ability,” said Lenardon. “Our professors really want us to think big and think smart. Sandra Gabriele gave us all considerable guidance and I really appreciated her advice and attention to detail. Another influential professional I want to thank is Alex Wigington, creative director at Oxygen Design + Communications, where I recently finished an internship. During my interview with Alex, she strongly suggested I send the Doors Open campaign to a design competition.”

Both students’ work is published on the GDC website.

The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada is an association of designers, strategic consultants, business leaders and educators. The GDC is the only national organization comprised of certified professional graphic designers and is the leading authority for communication design in Canada. GDC members are committed to ethical practice, social and environmental responsibility, and supporting and improving Canadian business and the economy.