Utah Valley University proved that it is more than just academics by bringing home awards from the prestigious AIGA 100 Show in Salt Lake City.

The exhibition features the years’ 100 best design pieces, annually, and awards only 10 Copper Ingots, three of them designated for students. UVU scooped up one student and two professional Ingots.

The exhibition features the 100 best design pieces. The UVU submission, “Screenhead,” designed by students Heather Avery, Kassidy Benson, Josh Buehner, Rachel Burningham, Carrie Capozzoli, Nathan Daley, Aundrea Donaldson and Briton Hainsworth, was awarded a coveted Copper Ingot award. The video was an 18-week long project by design students who wrote and created the video about a toddler who becomes enamored by the media, eventually turning into a “screenhead.”

“I teach motion design studio, and in the class, we produce an animated short every semester,” said Brandon Truscott, Associate Professor of Graphic Design at UVU and editor of the “Screenhead” submission. “The students pick an idea, and we work all semester long on the creation of the video. The students who created Screenhead wanted to focus on the idea that media is addictive and spent the semester writing, storyboarding, and animating. Their hard work paid off exponentially.”

One of three Copper Ingots awarded to students was given to UVU alum Brandon Carpenter for his submission “Cyber Communification,” based on his observations of the ways technology impacts how people communicate.

Carpenter said: “Each generation communicates in different ways, and often, there is a large gap between older and younger generations, especially when it comes to technology. This project was a case study of cyber communication and how it affects the way we stay connected.”

The 120-page award-winning submission took three months to assemble and was completed under the directions of Carpenter’s design professor, Gareth Fry.

“He helped me push myself and challenge my abilities not only to design but also to conceptualize and communicate my ideas,” Carpenter said. “I was honored when I found out that I had won one of the three Student Copper Ingot awards.”

The final Copper Ingot was awarded to UVU for its submission of the Noises Off poster, designed by Kimberlee Forsgren in the institution’s University Relations department. The poster, created for a School of the Arts event, features block letters and animated-looking characters and objects.

The AIGA show also accepted student submissions from a pool of UVU talent, including Jordyn Gleason, Josh Taylor, Sierra Lawrence and MarkieAnn Gardner.

The 100 Show, hosted by AIGA, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, is judged on craft, concept and aesthetic achievement as determined by the judges.

This year, the show was judged by the deputy art director at AARP Media Dian Holton, co-founder of the design studio Karlssonwilker Hjalti Karlsson and founder of ilovecreatives Puno.

The show is open to professionals and students around the state.

According to Truscott, UVU has not historically received many awards from the 100 Show.

“I’ve been at UVU for about 5 years,” Truscott said. “Although we have been included in the show regularly, we have never brought home awards. It is an exciting time for the graphic design program and the students who participate.”

These winnings are a testament to UVU’s Graphic Design program’s innovation, which was recently named as a top design school by Graphic Design USA.

Truscott said the curriculum was recently redesigned to focus on professional development for students.

“We are constantly advancing and trying to improve the notoriety of graphic design at UVU,” Truscott said. “Every semester, we have employers calling us ready to hire our students, and it is because of their portfolios and the professional work they create during their education. We want students to be as prepared as they can be to enter the workforce, and our program is designed to meet those needs.”

The Art and Design Department at UVU also submits their yearly fine art book to the AIGA 100 Show, filled with photos, illustrations and design done by students. This year the art book, Grimm Gestalt, based on classic fairy tales, was designed using inspiration from Germany.

Instead of the usual in-class experience, students who worked on the book studied the classic stories in depth. They traveled to Germany, prior to the pandemic, seeking inspiration and photos, which were used to create illustrations in the artbook.

Marissa Clement, an illustration student who attended the Germany trip, said: “I definitely think that going to Germany helped my progression as an artist. Before I went, I set a plan for what type of photographic reference I needed to take for the illustrations I wanted to do. Making this plan forced me to take the time when doing my illustrations and overall made the trip much more valuable.”

These innovative learning excursions give UVU’s Art and Design students experience in producing high-quality creative work to add to their portfolios.

UVU art featured in the 100 Show can be found in a book published annually. The latest edition, Grimm Gestalt, can be found in the UVU bookstore and on Amazon.