FDU takes first place in Design Derby

By Catherine Krawiec 

Group at Design Derby
Above: FDU’s team won best design at the Design Derby Competition. From left to right: John Cinco, faculty co-advisor and assistant professor of graphic design; Will Whitehead; Carla Cucinotta; Thomas Hind; Paul Zampino; Donovan Howes; Janet O’Neil, faculty co-advisor and associate professor of graphic design; and Walter Franks. (Photos courtesy of Janet O'Neil)
Tshirt Design
Above: The winning T-shirt design. “The competition was an emotional whirlwind of time management, explosive creativity, unknown outcomes and fun,” said team member Paul Zampino (left). “We conveyed our message in a creative manner using traditional Christian imagery, spliced with an athletic, fun feel. I literally gave the shirt off my back so that we could win.” 
Students in the graphic design program from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus drew a win for best design for the second year in a row at the Art Directors Club of New Jersey Design Derby on November 1. After sweeping the contest last year in their first appearance in the competition, FDU hosted it this year and beat out thirteen teams from six New Jersey colleges.
The Design Derby is a one-day competition in which students are given comprehensive real life experience. Students must complete a design challenge for a real client, a local non-profit. The competition focuses on creativity, teamwork, developing concepts and selling ideas.

“I literally gave the shirt off my back so that we could win.” Paul Zampino 

“You go into this competition blind. You know who you're designing for but that doesn't help develop a concept or a design,” said Carla Cucinotta, junior student graphic design major. “It’s a bit intimidating to be given a project and told to return with a completed, polished design for a professional organization in such a short amount of time.” 
This year’s client was Susan Boswolth, development manager of Market Street Mission. The challenge was to create a poster and T-shirt design to promote the Mission’s upcoming 5K run/walk fundraiser. Located in Morristown, N.J., Market Street Mission is a Christian soup kitchen and shelter. In past years, FDU students have hosted coat drives for Market Street Mission as well as serving food in the soup kitchen. James Smith of Smith Design, long time event sponsor and student supporter, was the moderator for the event.
“The competition was a good way to feel the pressure of designing for a potential client. You feel this rush of collaboration and intensity of pressure,” said Walter Franks, a senior computer graphic design major.
To create the winning design, the team “sketched out ideas based on the concepts of negative space, running and the cross. It snowballed from there and underwent a number of revisions and improvements between the other team members,” said Donovan Howes, a senior animation major.
“There was a lot of planning and we refined the design a few times,” added Will Whitehead, a senior animation major. “We wanted the design to be simple, but also appealing and discernible. We went with the silhouette figures as the runners and easy-to-read block letters.” 
All New Jersey colleges were invited to the competition, but only some chose to participate. FDU competed against teams from Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College, Seton Hall University, Sussex County College, the County College of Morris and Kean University.
“John Cinco and I are very proud of our design program and our students,” said Janet O'Neil, associate professor of visual and performing arts and faculty co-advisor with Cinco. “Having a B.A. in Graphic Design now makes us strong contenders with other design programs in our area. Winning last year for the first time we were in the competition was thrilling. Having a second win this year shows that the Fairleigh Dickinson University design program and students are a force to be reckoned with.”