June 10, 2022
By Jonah Grinkewitz
Two Old Dominion University graphic design students won national ADDYs in the student division of the American Advertising Awards.
Stephanie Marx, a spring graduate, won silver for her “Banana Ketchup Packaging” design created in a typographic design class at ODU.
Sekoyah McGlorn, a rising senior, won silver for her cover redesign of George Saunders’ political satire novella, “The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil.”
They received their awards at ADMERICA, the American Advertising Federation’s national conference, on June 3 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee.
To make it to the national level, their designs had to medal in local and regional ADDY competitions.
“The fact that their work made it through these three steps is quite a feat,” said Ivanete Blanco, associate professor of graphic design at ODU. “This recognition increases the profile of the program and it’s a rarity to have a student receive a national ADDY. We are so proud of them both.”
After graduating, Marx started a job as a graphic designer for MGM International.
“My time at ODU prepared me so much for my professional career,” she said. “I utilized my professors and took the time to push my undergrad projects to a higher level, and I used my summers for internships as well as taking time to gain experience during the school year.”
She came up with the idea for her packaging design after researching banana ketchup – a popular fruit ketchup in the Philippines that is dyed red to resemble tomato ketchup.
“I was excited to take a product that was common in another country and display it as something exciting on US shelves,” Marx said.
Since banana ketchup was first produced during WWII, she used ration stamp ephemera as inspiration for the bold type, contained spaces and distressed patterning and structure of her design.
“Stephanie’s work is always well-researched and considered,” said David Shields, associate professor of graphic design and Marx’s typographic design teacher. “At the same time, she consistently demonstrates a great sense of humor and empathy and has a knack for matching visual style to the demands of a particular problem.”
In her redesign of Saunders’ abstract political novella, McGlorn chose to reduce the citizen characters of the book down to bits and pieces of flesh. She reimagined Phil, a character who manipulates his way into becoming a dictator, as a monstrous hammer ready to bring down his wrath.
“Usually when you read a book, you can picture it in your head, but in this book, you are forced to interpret many of the visuals for yourself,” she said. “The strange and fantastical world gave me a lot of freedom to interpret the characters the way I wanted.”
McGlorn said working on this design project was one of the most challenging assignments she has had in the program – making her question whether she had what it takes to work in the field.
“I think we all as people struggle with whether or not we can live up to the standards set for us,” she said. “But it feels good to meet those standards and sometimes even exceed them. Having industry leaders say my piece is worthy of national recognition feels very affirming and gives me hope that I have a bright future ahead.”
Shields said their achievements demonstrate the creative, well-rounded and competitive students in ODU’s graphic design program.
“The graphic design program has a reputation for sharply conceptual and competitive portfolios, and both of their winning entries validated that reputation within the profession.”
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