A team of Dunwoody College of Technology Design & Graphics Technology students won first place in both categories of the Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC) Annual Student Packaging Design Competition “Design to an Opportunity.”
The 2014 competition was a three-part structural and graphic design project and 27 colleges nationwide participated. The Dunwoody team–Stephanie Burdorf, Charlotte LaCour, Jenna Weiler, Dan Mueller, Noah Rabinowitz and Finn Pearson–was challenged to create a real-world marketing solution for the College that included a standing display for use at college fairs or on campus; a mailing envelope to send to potential students; and a welcome kit for new students.
“We were judged on the creativity, marketability, design attributes, manufacturing, durability, and ease of assembly for the structure of all three projects,” said team leader Stephanie Burdorf. “We were also judged separately on the graphics of all three projects on how well they created a brand and tied-in with each other to give them all a similar look.”
Graphically, the team used the College’s branding guidelines and in-house photographs, while also incorporating archived photos from the 1920’s and centennial seal to celebrate the College’s 100-year history.
“Structurally, we designed three separate units that would follow the enrollment process for Dunwoody that would allow optimal student retention. The standee is designed to rotate, allowing for viewer interaction as well as utilizing the entire space for attention grabbing graphics and information,” explained Burdorf. “The mailing envelope is designed to create a visually intriguing piece that serves as an attractive and durable folder. And finally, the welcome kit is designed to be handed out to new students as a place to hold all materials gathered throughout their first day experience. This structure was also designed to fit inside a locker, increasing locker sales as well as making it easier for a student to use throughout the year.”
Burdof said the team learned a lot through the competition.
“Not only have we all become more proficient with the Adobe and Esko programs and software, but we also all had a chance to work in a real world setting,” she said. “We had to work as a team, follow a strict timeline, research on what was in place as well as what was needed, find materials, and work with different departments as well as industry partners.”
Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology program has a rich history of winning national competitions, but this is the first non-flexographic win, the first international win, and the largest and deepest in talent in terms of number of schools competing.
“Because of the timing of the competition, we are obliged to compete with first-year students, as no team member can participate after graduation, and the annual AICC deadline is in late June,” said Principal Instructor and Faculty Advisor Pete Rivard. “The four-year universities with their graduate programs typically field teams with juniors, seniors, and even graduate students, each with successive years of competition experience. So this is an absolute David vs. Goliath story, if you amend the details to have David surrounded by dozens of Goliaths.”
The Design & Graphics Technology faculty said they couldn’t be more proud of their students. For the past several years, they have observed North America’s best colleges and universities compete for the AICC recognition, and it was only last year that they felt the College was ready to enter the competition. Last year’s team won second place in both the structural and graphic design categories for their Lifeguard Chair.
Rivard said this year’s team took complete ownership of their project and delivered excellence with little faculty guidance.
The team expressed gratitude for the industry partners who helped bring their standee concept to life: the biggest industry partner Esko, for crucial design software; Liberty Carton-Golden Valley, who supplied the team at no cost with all the freshly manufactured corrugated that they asked for; Ambassador Press and The Bureau, who provided CAD table time and some large format printing; and Dunwoody admissions and marketing staff members for initial guidance and concept critiques that helped the team design and manufacture marketing and admissions items that had real value.
The team was invited to attend AICC/TAPPI 2014 Corrugated Week, Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2014, at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif. They plan to use their $1,000 cash prize for the AICC contest win to go toward travel expenses to ensure all team members can attend the event. In addition to the monetary award, they will also receive an engraved plaque commemorating their win in the competition.