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Adobe Creative Jam casts spotlight on ASU students

Seniors Kassidy Arias (right) and her partner Landon Breaux (left) were among 18 Graphic Information Technology students competing in a three-hour design frenzy known as an Adobe Creative Jam. The event was hosted on Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus. Photo by Jessica Hochreiter/ASU

October 18, 2016

Twenty Arizona State University students, both undergraduate and graduate, competed in a fast-paced design competition known as an Adobe Creative Jam.

The event, sponsored by Adobe, took place on Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus on Oct. 4.

The competing students were chosen by Adobe based on their design portfolios and skills as showcased in their Adobe Behance accounts.

Nineteen students from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering — eighteen Graphic Information Technology (GIT) majors and one Information Technology major — participated in the event. The 20th student was a Technical Communication major through the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts.

In 2013, the Graphic Information Technology program, now housed in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering's Polytechnic School, was named a “Partners By Design” member by Adobe. One of only a few dozen schools and programs, the designation "connects the world’s leading art, design and film schools with one another to foster inspired collaboration and conversation," according to the Adobe Partners by Design website. The designation further recognizes the GIT program's innovations in digital design and efforts to adopt best practices in technological instruction through their partnership with Adobe.

Adobe has only previously held a Creative Jam with one other school.

At the event student partners received the theme “Dusk Till Dawn” and had three hours to produce a product, ranging from iPhone app prototypes to video motion animations, in their selected area of Visual Design, Motion Design or UX Design.

Student achievements and takeaways

At the culmination of the three-hour design frenzy, a People’s Choice winner and a Judge’s Choice winner were chosen for each category.

GIT seniors Kassidy Arias and her partner Landon Breaux, who is also pursuing a concurrent degree in Aeronautical Management Technology, earned a People’s Choice award in UX (user experience) design by developing Day In & Day Out, a landscape photography sharing app — an impressive feat in such a short time.

The app offers a unique UX experience by splitting user photography between two categories: dusk and dawn.

“I think the app was successful because it offers something unique. Depending on the user’s selection it changes its look while still feeling cohesive. This visually shows users where they are in the app without much thought,” says Arias.

Another UX design team composed of GIT majors Blair Henderson and Shreya Wadkar earned the Judge's Choice award for an event itinerary planning app called Dusk Till Dawn.

"Our app allowed users to plan a nightly itinerary with local events lasting from dusk until dawn," Henderson said.

GIT students Claire Beuden and Joel Lobaugh earned a Judge’s Choice award in Visual Design for a fun poster design illustrative of the theme.

“It fit the theme and was executed cleanly and creatively,” said Beuden, who enjoyed the opportunity to receive positive feedback from people in the industry.

In total, the six winning teams included:

UX Design
Judge's Choice: Blair Henderson and Shreya Wadkar
People's Choice: Kassidy Arias and Landon Breaux

Visual Design
Judge's Choice: Claire Beuden and Joel Lobaugh
People's Choice: Joshua Balcos and Melissa Agers

Motion Design
Judge's Choice: Alex Gomez and Darin Brudigan
People's Choice: Heather Salfrank and Sierra Johnson

All of the winners took home a one-year subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud: a collection of design software valued at $600 per subscription for students who wait until they graduate to claim their prize.

Keeping par with professionals

Adobe was impressed with the quality of work presented by the ASU students.

“The caliber of student work was very much on par with previous Creative Jam events featuring top-level designers in the industry,” said Liz Schmidt, a senior community manager at Adobe.

Arias says the event helped her build confidence in her work and her educational experiences.

“I'm more confident about going out into the world and finding a web design and development job because now I know that I can create work that compares to those already in the industry,” Arias said.

Susan Squire, lecturer and GIT program chair who helped organize the event with Adobe, is proud that the event “brought the spotlight to our GIT program and students.”

She feels that GIT students were uniquely qualified for this competition because of their remarkable eye for design and exceptional expertise in technology.

“The caliber of student work was very much on par with previous Creative Jam events featuring top-level designers in the industry.”
— Liz Schmidt, senior community manager at Adobe

“Hosting the Creative Jam was a great local community builder,” Squire said. The event brought together around 150 people — a mixture of students, ASU faculty and local creative professionals.

“While upper-division students were exhibiting their superior skills, lower-division students were watching, learning and being dazzled by community design leaders,” Squire said.

It also strengthened an important industry connection with Adobe.

“It is immensely important for the Polytechnic School, one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, to have a relationship with industry leaders like Adobe … [our] association with Adobe provides international visibility,” Squire said.

"It is extremely meaningful to be a part of a program that partners with Adobe because it helps show that all the hard work we do in our classes will pay off in the future," said Henderson, adding, "It means a lot having Adobe validate our work."

The students were grateful for the opportunity to take their creative work out of the classroom and into the professional arena.

“I was given a platform to let my voice be heard, and my designs be seen,” Arias said.

View the winning projects on Behance.

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