MSU at the ADDY Awards

Over the past two years, Montana State’s art students have been making stride after stride at the American Advertising Awards. At the local state competition, held in March in Great Falls, nine gold ADDYs, 15 silvers and one Best of Show were brought back to Bozeman by MSU students.

Reminiscing about the local banquet event Newhouse said, “It’s an opportunity to walk up on stage and accept an award in front of professionals in the industry. When the awards were over and the lights came up, everyone rushed our table and congratulated the students.”

Associate professor Meta Newhouse said of the ADDYs, “We’ve made a conscious decision to encourage submissions in the ADDYs for the past five years now. I think it’s great there’s an organization that pairs student work with professional work. That makes it a unique show. They (ADDYs) encourage social connections.”

According to the event website, “The mission of the AAA competition is to recognize and reward creative excellence in the art of advertising.”

When a student is nominated by their school’s professors, he or she is entered into the local competition. In each category, only one gold and one silver are awarded. Winners move on to district competition, then national. According to Newhouse, MSU students have won at the national level three years in a row.

This year, three students have already been awarded gold ADDYs at the district level and will move on to nationals. More winners will be announced in the next few days.

Set for May 28-31, the national awards are approaching quickly. Newhouse explained, “There are different judges at each level, so if you make it all the way through to nationals you’ve already impressed six different professionals. This competition is important because it shows how a student’s work stands up at a national level.”

Colby House, with just one year left in the design program at MSU, took home a silver ADDY at the 2013 and 2014 awards. When asked to describe his project this year, House said, “I wrote, photographed and illustrated a book about the importance of butchers and butcher shops. I elaborated about how they do this trade that is slowly dying in our nation, but are usually the fulcrum of any local food system.”

Over the past year, House has been interning and doing freelance design at Mercury SCS, a marketing firm based in Bozeman. Thinking about graduation in the next year, he said, “I’m planning on taking the best opportunity for myself.”

His achievements at the ADDYs have definitely helped his prospects. He said, “There are great opportunities for people to see your work on a larger platform, networking — great to put on the resume, and all that. All the major firms are invited.”

But wherever he ends up, he knows he’ll never get bored. “The best thing about graphic design to me is it never becomes monotonous and every opportunity and idea is a challenge unique amongst itself.”

“I think anything can be innovated not just necessarily design. There are opportunities for anyone in anything.

In her first year competing in the advertising awards, Kinsey White, a junior in the design program, brought home four awards for her two projects and is on her way to nationals. Her book, The Official Guidebook for Espresso, won gold at the local level and went on to win a silver at the district competition. Her Women Fashion Icon Poster Series won gold at both the local and district levels.

“Not only is it such an honor, but it’s impressive to have designs with awards when potential employers are looking at your portfolio. At the Addy event we got to see professional design work and we got to talk to professionals around Montana who were excited to meet us and could possibly hire us in the future,” said White.

She credits MSU’s design school for her career successes and her achievements at the ADDYs. “Each of our teachers in the design program at MSU are given four nominations. This is awesome because that not only means our teachers think our work could win awards, but the school then pays our $40 entry fee for the competition.”

When asked about her favorite thing in the design program, without hesitation she said, “My professors. They are always there for anything we need. They started from the bottom just like us and have become really successful in the graphic design industry.”

“My favorite thing about art and design are the unlimited possibilities to continue to learn and be creative. The diversity of what you can do is limitless, and I love the idea of being able to have such an enjoyable career where I get to be creative all the time,” White explained.