By Dom Fonce
Eight Youngstown State University graphic design students are participating in the American Advertising Federation’s Pittsburgh AdFed contest.
Students from the University of Pittsburgh, Point Park University, Chatham University and YSU were broken into six groups of eight to brainstorm ideas for a mystery non-profit client with local advertising agencies.
Jackie LaLama and Nate Unger were among the participants from YSU. Unger is one of four YSU students on semifinalist teams.
“The nonprofit organization wants to earn $1 million, and we were assigned to come up with a design strategy for that,” LaLama said.
The groups were given a limited amount of time and funding to generate designs.
“We were given only $500 and eight hours, so we didn’t have much to work with,” Unger said. “We just had to come up with a creative idea to help them out quickly.”
No matter who wins the semifinal, two YSU students will be recognized at this year’s ADDY Awards.
Jamie Bogdan and Mackenzie Sturtz are semifinalists with the advertising agency Marc USA. Unger and Deanna Cameneti are their opponents with the agency Garrison Hughes.
“Having four YSU students as semi-finalists shows that we know what we’re doing,” Unger said. “Obviously it speaks well of our professor and Rich for always giving us this opportunity.”
Richard Helfrich, assistant professor of graphic and interactive design, recommended the students. He said while winning awards is always nice, networking and working in a real job setting are the real benefits of this contest.
“I think these contests are so successful because, a: it gets them in that professional environment. They can now understand the context of what they’re learning in the classroom and applying it to what they’ll see in the real world,” Helfrich said. “B: it gets them networking. Oftentimes, students are plucked by these agencies and given internships. This happened to a few of our students this time around.”
This is the second year in a row that the Advertising Federation of Pittsburgh invited YSU students to participate in this contest.
“It really illustrates the quality of the work and how well the students prepare prior to graduation,” Helfrich said. “I think what it also does is elevate the reputation of the program and the Pittsburgh professional community. And it’s priceless.”
The winner of the semifinals will be announced on Nov. 13 at Point Park University.