Huntron County Polytech Career & Technical High School was once again well represented by its student designer in the University of Cabrini Art + Effect Poster Competition for High School Students. Four of the 15 best poster designs came from students of Hunterdon County Polytech Graphic Design.
Cabrini received 126 student submissions from 12 high schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Illinois envisioning the topic of finding solutions to community strengthening difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students’ designs focus on the community’s positive impact on society as change makers.
Polytech’s winning graphic designers are Seniors from Coach Cynthia Dailey, 2nd Graphic Design Class:
- Jacob Aguirre, from Lake Bude
- Jeffrey Gomez, from Stewartsville
- Joseph Hanley from Lebanon
- Patrick Seibert from Lebanon
“I am very proud of all of them,” Dailey said of her students’ efforts. “It was a tough subject, and it wasn’t cut and dry like most subjects.” Students responded by drawing from their personal experiences. “Everyone has a unique concept of who their community is and how they portray it.
Aguirre created images using typography, using the names of social movements and advocacy groups throughout his poster, then applied gradation to genre using color palettes associated with each group to convey the message of ‘Strength in Society.’
Aguirre said, “I wanted to try to make everything work together in the poster with the color and all the motions included in the background.” He has also included websites at the bottom of his poster that link to the movements included in the poster to help people learn more and get involved, if they’re interested.
Gomez is part of the community of photographers from around the world. He said they all started talking to each other and exchanging tips about photography during the pandemic. So, to create his poster, he asked fellow photographers to take a picture of themselves holding their cameras.
“I thought I could use each of their pictures in the different blocks that make up the word community to show that we stayed connected during the pandemic and helped each other with tips, advice, business ideas, and ways to improve our skills,” said Gomez, who is still involved in that community today.
It took Seibert about three weeks to formulate and get used to the idea behind his design. “My idea was to strengthen the community through online games,” he said. During the quarantine, Seibert said he has kept a handful of players from around the world. “I met quite a few friends during that time, and it reassured that everyone goes through this and no one goes through it easily.”
The bonds he formed helped him combat the effects of isolation that came with periods of quarantine and distance learning.
Hanley wanted to capture the power of the simple act of gathering around a table for a meal. Perhaps it was something that was taken for granted before the pandemic. To get the greatest effect, he enlisted the help of his classmates. “We did a critique and someone suggested I put the script on the table and make it look like the script is the table,” Hanley said. He did just that, reaching the final list with his design.
“That’s what graphic design is all about,” Dailey said. “It’s about collaborating and feeding each other, helping and taking care of each other and giving each other a sobering perspective every once in a while.”
She said the class offers critiques every Friday for two months. Students harnessed the talents and ideas of their peers in the highly focused design program.
“The feedback was very helpful in allowing the designers to step away from their comfort zones and experiment with the suggestions and surprise themselves.”
Students’ work was judged on the basis of originality, craftsmanship, and objective message. This year’s judges are Michelle Cooper, Partner at Cooper Graphic Design; Angelina Liebert, Principal Coordinator, Poster House; and Francis Yelana, Experience Manager at projekt202.
The work of the finalists will be on display at the Gorvin Gallery at the University of Cabrini in Radnor, Pennsylvania, through January 12.