At the local level Addy Awards Feb. 8 at the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, Southern Miss students broke a new school record by winning 60 awards.
The American Advertising Awards, also known as the Addy Awards, is the largest design competition in the nation.
Cassidy Birchfield, a senior graphic design major, won Best in Show for her design of a trade journal. She also won two other awards.
Birchfield said she was shocked to win the Best in Show award.
“They sent us an email saying we’d won something, but didn’t tell you what, so it was exciting to see what I was winning. I definitely didn’t expect the Best in Show for sure,” Birchfield said.
She said that winning Best in Show and her other awards has made her feel more confident in her future as a graphic designer.
“Since starting senior capstone, it’s been very stressful, and it’s easy to doubt yourself during capstone. But this has really helped me gain confidence in my abilities,” Birchfield said.
Senior graphic design student Darian McGehee won seven awards, one of them being Judge’s Choice. She won for her design of a lookbook for a restaurant.
The project was created for a graphic design class where McGehee was assigned to pick a country and create the branding for a restaurant based on the country. She chose Brazil and spent the semester creating the design for her restaurant Saboroso.
“We had to create a logo, menu and fully brand it. We also had to create a lookbook that would be sent to investors to have them see the brand and the restaurant. It was a handbound book. I had to print and wirebound it myself,” McGehee said.
McGehee credits one of her graphic design professors with helping her succeed on her project.
“I wouldn’t have done it the way I did if it weren’t for the professor who assigned it, Jacob Cotton. He really made me push out of my comfort zone to do something like that,” McGehee said.
Jacob Cotton, an assistant professor of design, oversees student submissions to the Addy Awards.
Cotton said because the Addy Awards are so large, it makes it hard to stand out and move to the next level of competition.
“The fact that we are sending as many as we are to the district level is unheard of. And for us, it’s also a substantial amount of growth. My first year here four years ago, we had six awards, and now we have 60,” Cotton said.
Southern Miss students have broken their record for the amount of Addy’s won for the past three years, and Cotton said he thinks they have the potential to do so again next year.
“Sooner or later we’re going to hit a cap just because we only have so many students and so many projects that can be entered, but I don’t think we’ve hit that cap yet. I think we can do better,” Cotton said.
Students who placed gold or higher in the competition will now go onto the regional Addy Awards and possibly to the national level.