SCAD students and alumni bring home 7 Red Dot Awards from Berlin


How about a warm round of applause for the SCAD students and alumni who garnered seven wins in the globally recognized, prestigious Red Dot Awards for Communication Design?

The annual competition receives more than 11,000 submissions from roughly 60 countries worldwide. A jury of international design experts chose 569 entries for awards in 17 categories in Communication Design — the art of mixing visual media and text to craft how a message is delivered to an audience. It's one of the most ambitious worldwide competitions in design, recognizing the rising leaders in creative technological innovation.

The winners from SCAD are as follows:

  • Jing Li (M.F.A., illustration) won four awards for Illustration (See his illustrations)
  • Diego Peñuela (M.F.A., illustration) won one award for Editorial Illustration (See his illustration)
  • Nicholas Lawrence (B.F.A., sound design), Thomas Schmidt (B.F.A., sound design), Liam Murphy (B.F.A., animation), Matt Yocum (B.F.A., sound design), and Kai Paquin (B.F.A., sound design) won an award for their animation "NO-A" (Watch it here)
  • Adam Nelson (B.F.A., film and television), Tate McCurdy (B.F.A., film and television), Alex Previty (B.F.A., sound design), and Beau Jimenez won an award for their short film "Sea Odyssey" (Watch it here)

SCAD interior design tops DesignIntelligence rankings for fifth year


Drumroll, please...

On DesignIntelligence's annual "America's Best Architecture and Design Schools" list, SCAD's graduate and undergraduate interior design programs have once again come out on top! This is the fifth year in a row that the undergraduate program has been named No. 1 in the nation.

For more than 15 years, DesignIntelligence has been the publication and rankings body of the Design Futures Council. Their rankings — based on which programs are best in teaching design, communication, sustainability and technology skills — are culled from academic deans, chairs and leading practitioners from across the country.

SCAD's interior design department is here to guide aspiring interior designers into full-blown creative careers, offering B.F.A., M.A. and M.F.A. degrees in Atlanta, Hong Kong, Savannah and online via eLearning.

And to show how our love of interior design goes beyond the classroom, take a look at some inspiring student-centered interiors around SCAD:

Click here to request more information or apply to SCAD.

Spotlight on SCAD Photography


Photography is more than a snapshot; it's an expression of a personal vision. But do you know what it takes to turn that vision into an award-winning piece of art? Students in SCAD's photography programs do — as a result, they are among the most renowned up-and-comers in the industry.

Students and alumni have been spotted in eminent places, working and interning for big names such as Annie Leibovitz, Turner Broadcasting, Vanity Fair, Vogue, CNN and Google, just to name a few. Just last month, Elliot Ross (B.F.A., photography) was featured in National Geographic’s Daily Dozen series.

Feast your eyes on a sampling of work from SCAD's stand-out photographers:

Click here to request more information or apply to SCAD.

World's Biggest Student Art Show puts the power in female empowerment


Even though she considered her work “sort of outside the lines of fine art,” Leah Rama (M.F.A., fashion, 2015) decided to enter her designs in The World's Biggest Art Show Ever, an Adobe x Colossal competition. She was interviewed a few weeks later, and then was selected as one of the 10 finalists to be featured.

The competition selected 10 international female students to have their artwork hand-painted by Colossal as giant murals on buildings in a Brooklyn neighborhood. The show aims to highlight and empower female creatives by giving them a platform for expression.

“As a female creative, I want to be one of the mold-breakers in my generation, to pave a way for fairness and respect for skilled artists and designers of all backgrounds,” Leah said. “Adobe is giving me a chance to be seen and shift the balance in a positive way by sharing the thought and work that goes into what I do, and I hope that other companies will follow suit by intentionally pursuing equality and highlighting underrepresented creatives.”

Leah’s piece, “See the Unseen,” is from a larger conceptual study and is meant to be a call to action. Her designs are inspired by ghosts and what they represent in culture. She found strong connections between the way we talk about ghosts and the way we interact with the digital world. A portrait of Perchta von Rosenberg, Leah’s own supposed family ghost, appears throughout the textile designs.

“Ghosts are normally thought of as people, but they can also be regrets, dreams, hopes, better versions of ourselves,” Leah said. “They are things that exist whether we choose to see them or not.”

‘See the Unseen’ asks viewers to consider the unseen effects of their choices and perceive their power as a resource for the changes they want to see. It challenges people to choose to care about more than themselves.

“Associated with being only skin-deep, the fashion industry is ripe with many legitimate social, political, ethical and environmental grievances,” Leah said. “As a designer, I want to help resolve these problems, part of which requires an alternative way of seeing the world that allows for change on a deeper and more powerful level.”

The mural of her work will be up at Morgan and Flushing avenues in Bushwick for at least one month. Then the work’s fate will be decided by the building owner. As for Leah, she plans to attend the Three Percent Conference, which supports more female creative leadership in advertising agencies, this fall.

“This was truly a remarkable experience!” Leah said. “It was great getting to know such storied and talented creatives over this event. I have nothing but great appreciation and respect for Adobe choosing to highlight women as an underrepresented demographic in creative fields.”

Click here to request more information or apply to SCAD.

Photos by MRY & Adobe Potographers

Merline Labissiere makes it work on Project Runway


At her first audition for Project Runway in 2007, the judges weren’t sure Merline Labissiere (B.F.A., fashion, 2011) would last long in the competition. She had an associate of arts degree in architecture from Miami Dade College and no formal education in fashion. She was entirely self-taught, turning pieces she found at thrift stores inside out and tracing them.

It was disappointing to be turned town, but Merline didn’t give up. A few months later, she enrolled at SCAD where she could blend her appreciation for the clean lines of architecture with her love of fashion.

“I got the feedback and I went to school and I learned as much as I could,” Merline said. “I graduated from SCAD and I was like, ‘I think I’m the bomb.’ … And then I thought I was amazing and I’m like, ‘I learned everything I need to learn, right?’”

Because of her senior collection for SCAD, Merline went straight to being a semifinalist in her second audition for Project Runway in 2012. Although she didn’t make it all the way, she took a year off and focused more on self-branding and the business side of fashion.

“I became very business, you know?” she said. “I learned how to brand myself really well — and I feel like my degree from SCAD is not just a fashion design degree. I feel like SCAD taught me if I didn’t know how to do something, go find it. … They teach you how to research, they teach you how to think outside the box, and they teach you how to think for yourself. They teach you how to find your own answers.”

Right before finally making it onto Project Runway, Merline discovered what her designs had been missing: a client. By tailoring her designs for “her girl” — the working woman in a creative field who wants something between businesswoman and hipster — she found her purpose.

“If you’re designing and you don’t have a purpose, you’re just designing for the win,” she said.

She found more than just her purpose at Project Runway, however. Being surrounded by other talented designers showed her ways to improve her own work.

“Everyone was a genius,” she said. “Everyone just had their own strengths that I really admire. … I just watch other designers — how they work and their techniques. I constantly watch for what makes someone a faster sewer — what are they doing that I’m not doing?”

And even outside the competition, she remains close with some of the designers from the show.

“All 16 of us shared this amazing experience. No one could describe it to you. You had to be there. I think that created a bond that we won’t ever forget.”

“It’s like a family,” she added later. “We’re bonded forever. We’re Season 14 forever.”

Since finishing the competition, Merline is ready to move on to the manufacturing stage for her label. That means stepping away from her artistic side and treating her work as a product with costs and profits. And she’s not intimidated by acting as her own CEO; she wants to see the numbers.

“Now I’m getting excited about the business side. Without that side, you’re just a struggling artist,” she said. “I didn’t want to be a struggling artist my whole life, so I went to SCAD. I want to be a businesswoman.”

Much of her success comes from her ability to stay humble and acknowledge which areas need improvement.

“One thing I’m doing is I’m not afraid to say, ‘I don’t know,’” Merline said. “I have so many people in my life who are invested in me and take the time to show me the business. I’m not gonna pretend I’ve got it all together anymore. It’s too exhausting.”

In addition to having her own label, Merline also runs a non-profit called Provoke Style Fashion Camp where she teaches fashion to inner city kids as part of an after-school program.

“They have to do fashion sketching, they have to learn how to sew, they have to make two garments for the program fashion show,” she said. “The community comes out and the parents come out.”

Her partners originally just wanted to do something for the students that would make them feel good about themselves, but Merline took it further, insisting that the students would feel good after creating a portfolio they can use for college.

“Imagine inner city: they don’t dream. They’ve been told it’s not really going to happen,” Merline said. “And then I come in and go, ‘You can be a fashion designer.’ At first, they really didn’t believe me. And then they created two garments.”

For Merline, it’s important that she gives something to the next generation of designers who will be industry stars before we know it.

“It can’t just be about producing. It has to be bigger than just making and doing and selling.”

Click here to request more information or apply to SCAD.

Hot off the Press: 7 Red Dot Design Awards for SCAD students and Alumni


Seven wins thanks to 11 SCAD students and alumni — that’s the takeaway from the Red Dot Awards for Communication Design. Here are the winners:

  • Jing Li (M.F.A., illustration)
  • Diego Penuela (M.F.A., illustration, 2014)
  • Nicholas Lawrence (B.F.A., sound design, 2015)
  • Thomas Schmidt (B.F.A., sound design, 2015)
  • Liam Murphy (B.F.A., animation, 2015)
  • Matt Yocum (B.F.A., sound design)
  • Kai Paquin (B.F.A., sound design)
  • Adam Nelson (B.F.A., film and television, 2015)
  • Tate McCurdy (B.F.A., film and television, 2015)
  • Alex Previty (B.F.A., sound design, 2013)
  • Beau Jimenez (B.F.A., sound design, 2014)

More information about the Red Dot Awards and the winning projects can be found here.

Congratulations to all the winners!

And the Supima Design Award goes to...


Watching your own collection go down the runway at New York Fashion Week is the dream of many designers. For alumnus Kathleen "Kate" McKenna-Schliep (B.F.A., fashion, 2015), she had the surreal experience of seeing that dream come true last week. And with it came the $10,000 grand prize and top honors at the eighth annual Supima Design Competition.

Her West African and Haitian voodoo-inspired collections went down the runway at the Skylight Clarkson Sq gallery space on Sept. 10, and will also be seen during Paris Fashion Week on Oct. 2 at Hôtel de Pontalba — the official residence of the U.S. Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley.

Here's Kate on her prestigious win:

The Supima competition has hands down been one of the most amazing experiences of my life — I could not have imagined just three months after graduating I'd have the opportunity to share my work at such a huge event. So many designers dream of showing at New York fashion Week, and many work their whole lives chasing that dream — and I am so lucky for having the chance to do that so early in my career.

I am so honored and fortunate to have had the support system from SCAD and our fashion department. My mentors Evelyn Pappas and Stephanie Foy, the sewing technicians, Dean Fink and Chair Oeltjenbruns have been behind me 100% every step of the way, and I am so appreciative of their guidance and the amount of time they gave to help me make this dream happen. They all believed in my vision and stood by me every step of the way and I am so grateful! I've never been more proud to be a SCAD graduate.

The Supima experience is something that I will never forget. I'm so humbled by all the kind words and praise that I've been getting since receiving the award. It's been so overwhelming!

We wish Kate all the best and can't wait to see what she does next!

Click here to request more information or apply to SCAD.

Comic-Con: Eisner Awards for SCAD alumni


More than 130,000 people attended the San Diego Comic-Con this year, but only a few walked away winners of the Eisner Awards, one of the top creative achievements in the comic books industry equivalent to the Academy Awards. Two of those winners were SCAD alumni Andrew Robinson (B.F.A., illustration, 1993) and Sean Murphy (B.F.A., sequential art, 2003).

Robinson won the Best Reality-Based Work award as the lead artist on “The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story,” a Dark Horse graphic novel that reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list in 2013. It tells the life story of Brian Epstein, who is credited with discovering the Beatles when most major recording companies in London rejected the group. A screenplay based on the novel is in the works under “Ant-Man” director Peyton Reed.

Sean Murphy earned two awards for his work on “The Wake,” a horror series set on an Arctic oil rig that deals heavily with evolution and human origins. Murphy was awarded the Best Limited Series award, alongside writer Scott Snyder, and the Best Penciller/Inker award. The graphic novel is published through Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics. Murphy was also nominated for Best Cover Artist.

Nick Dragotta (B.F.A., sequential art, 1997) was nominated for the Best Continuing Series award, alongside writer Jonathan Hickman, for his work on "East of West," a monthly dystopic western published through Image Comics.

We extend a well-deserved congratulations to our alumni for their hard work in the comics industry.

Best of Animation 2014


Our students produce a tremendous amount of work each year. In animation, students learn 2-D and 3-D techniques to prepare them for whatever role they may choose in the industry once they graduate. We've assembled a few of the best works from the 2013-14 school year to share with you.

"Balloon Cat" by Michael Ceminara (M.F.A., animation, 2013).

"Bear and the Bird" by Matt Barrera (B.F.A., animation, 2013).

"Halcyon-17" by Colin Wheeler (M.F.A., animation), Jeff MacDonald (M.A., animation, 2013) and Jenna Zona (M.F.A., animation).

"How I Wonder" by Nora Graven (B.F.A., animation, 2014).

"I M Possible" by Prasad Narse (M.F.A., animation, 2014).

"The Leaping Place" by Michelle Ionescu (B.F.A., animation, 2014).

"Starlight" by Tamarind King (M.F.A., animation), Marisa Tontaveetong (M.F.A., animation), Shir Wen Sun (B.F.A., illustration) and Yu Ueda (M.F.A., animation).

Fashion Week vs. student fashion show


For fashion students at Savannah College of Art and Design, the annual fashion show is both the culmination of their academic preparation and the precipice from which they will jump into the fashion world. Ninety student-made and designed looks graced the runway for the 2014 SCAD Fashion Show at the SCAD Museum of Art. Not only do the garments reflect intensive preparation in design, CAD work, draping and ideation, but an uncanny ‘oneness’ with what the industry showed at Fashion Week. The undergraduates and graduates, selected by jury to participate in the show, began working on their looks in September before they even laid eyes on what the runways of New York, London, Paris and Milan would see earlier this year.

Student designers watch their looks on the runway in SCAD's Poetter Gallery.

SCAD School of Fashion dean Michael Fink walked us through how in-step the student looks are with, or ahead of, some major trends in fashion.

Michael Fink: We saw a lot of pinky tones, lilac, light or nude colors in the Fall 2014 Ready-to-Wear collections, as well as white and off-white.

Ralph Lauren, Wes Gordon and Christopher Kane.

Our students have this color palette covered in a variety of different ways, from evening to day.

Collection by Haley Beyer (B.F.A., fashion).

Collection by Tingting Feng (B.F.A., fashion).

On the runways in New York, London, Paris and Milan you saw these architectural shapes.

Marc Jacobs, Balmain and Ashish.

This collection by Hannah Amundson (B.F.A., fashion) is very architectural. The story behind the garments is that her roommate moved out of their shared apartment and took the only mirror they had. Hannah realized how much she relied on the mirror. So her designs are all about being vain, and on the clothes there are inserts where it will say “vain” or “obsessed,” references to how we are so fixated on our own image.

Collection by Hannah Amundson (B.F.A., fashion).

Also, Yuxi Bi (B.F.A., fashion) goes to the stand and just drapes and experiments and creates architectural shapes without a pattern.

Collection by Yuxi Bi (B.F.A., fashion).

We saw this cobalt blue color on the runways and we have a collection that is just cobalt blue and gray. So this is definitely something we’ve seen out of our students in terms of color trend.

Mark Fast and Proenza Schouler.

Collection by Lin Han (B.F.A., fashion).

At Fashion Week you saw oversized patterns. Whether it’s one pattern, or a mixture of patterns, that was very big, especially in London, which speaks to our students’ mix and match sensibilities. Here you start to see a mix of materials and patterns challenging you where to look.

Marco de Vincenzo, Prada and Suno.

Like those mixed patterns, Madisen Matney's (B.F.A., fashion) collection is bold, in your face, and it’s in honor of her grandmother who has Alzheimer’s. She worked with a textiles student and on each piece there is a face peeking out from the layers.

Collection by Madison Matney (B.F.A., fashion).

These are fall collections, so you think about plaids anyway, but the students have been working a year ahead of the trend.

Delpozo and Yigal Azrouel.

We have seen some incredible plaid work out of the students. For example, in this collection by Katherine Absher (B.F.A., fashion) these are hand-foiled. She has taken the fabric and done a foiling process.

Collection by Katherine Absher (B.FA., fashion).

This color palette, various shades of coral and orange, was prevalent on the runways.

Narciso Rodriguez, Issa and Zac Posen.

We have one student collection that captures that beautifully and that’s really hard. It's difficult to make those colors sit well on the body.

Collection by Jiaren Du (B.F.A., fashion).

Jiaren Du (B.F.A., fashion) worked for a year on this, but we didn’t see the collection for what it was until we saw it on stage. It was so arresting.

Collection by Julia Patton (B.F.A., fashion).

When it comes to Fashion Week, each city is so different. This is Milan. It’s a bit more tailored. Here are these bright pops of color everywhere. We saw that in Paris, too. You see big patterns. They’re not subtle clothes. Paris, what strikes me here is this Valentino. Very graphic. And Dior, color blocking in a different way. You have bold color with a lighter companion, so you have these pops. That’s the color pop we’re talking about.

Fausto Puglisi, Valentino and Dior.

In terms of student work, you also see some really big pops of colors. Both of these, for example, are on a graffiti tangent. Each designer had artists develop prints for them. It’s color blocking, it’s print, it’s bright.

Collection by Renata Dabdoub (B.F.A., fashion).

Collection by Leah Smith (B.F.A., fashion).

This whole idea by Burberry was all hand-painted. Everything had the touch of hand on it and we certainly have many collections like that here at SCAD because we’re an art school.

Burberry Prorsum, Duckie Brown and Yohji Yamamoto.

These are Wenxiao Wang's (M.A., fashion, 2013) own illustrations that she had reprinted.

Collection by Wenxiao Wang (M.A., fashion).

Collection by Zenobia Duncan (M.A., fashion).

That’s just an overview of the student looks we saw on the runway at the SCAD Fashion Show and how they compare to what we saw at Fashion Week.