• PrintMag

2008 Student Cover Winners

This year, in the grand tradition of the public choosing an American idol and a favorite dancing star, Print opened up voting for its 44th annual Student Cover Competition for the first time. We uploaded the covers of three finalists—chosen by judges Miranda Dempster, art director of Art + Auction; Andrew Horton, art director of Business Week; and Lina Kutsovskaya, creative director of Teen Vogue—to Print’s website, and we invited our readers to pick the winner.

Voting was fast and furious when the contest went live on October 23. Brandon Maddox’s design, featuring a shirt pocket bleeding a leaky pen’s ornamental flourish was an immediate hit, capturing first place with 57 percent of the total votes. Our second- and third-place winners—Katty Maurey’s “cut and paste” cover of identical twins and Blaž Porenta’s elegantly interactive gatefold of a surfer on a wave—each garnered an impressive share of fans as well.

SECOND PLACE (top): Katty Maurey, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada; THIRD PLACE: Blaž Porenta, University of Ljubljana, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Maddox’s entry was a clear favorite among the judges. “Concept-wise, it’s perfect,” Horton said. Dempster agreed, deeming the spiral “super-trendy” and “brilliant.” Maddox, a student at Orlando’s Valencia Community College, painted the swirls onto an old white T-shirt, then combined a scan of the fabric and the image of an oxford shirt in Photoshop. The process reflects his desire to incorporate both hand-drawn and digital elements in his design.

Though Maddox said that he prefers to leave the meaning of the work up to the viewer’s interpretation, he wanted to allude to the dilemma facing students about whether to pursue a freelance career or a more corporate route, he says. “Many artists can end up working in an environment where they use very little creativity,” he said, “so the buttoned-up shirt represents the corporation, and the exploding ink represents the artist’s frustration and stifled creativity.”

HONORABLE MENTIONS (left to right): Blagovesta “Bobbie” Miltcheva, Valencia Community College, Orlando, FL; Evan Fields, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA; Chris Edwards, Seattle Central Community College, Seattle, WA.

Work that showed flashes of wit stood out for the judges, while gory images seemed too obvious. “I’m declaring a moratorium on bodily injury,” said Dempster, referring to the many entries that showed mutilated limbs. (She did, however, enjoy Filipa Warren Varanda Gagean’s cover depicting a tag hanging from a pierced tongue.) Covers that showed extra effort won extra credit, particularly those that required more than just Photoshop to create, such as Maurey’s custom shirts for her cover models. Casting one overly precious entry aside, Kutsovskaya said, “It’s a goody-goody’s design—something from one of those kids that you know never break the rules.” Risks were rewarded, including Porenta’s gatefold, which can be opened to form a 3-D cresting wave.

In general, entries shied away from making political statements, though Jim Knox’s creative twist on the Iwo Jima flag-raising—toy soldiers hoisting a pencil into a pencil sharpener—successfully evoked both the specter of war and the role of design in a conflict-ridden world (and scored an honorable mention).

HONORABLE MENTIONS (left to right): Jim Knox, The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY; Pauline Carrasco, Art Institute of California–San Diego, San Diego, CA; Filipa Warren and Varanda Gagean, Escola Superior de Artes e Design, Matosinhos, Portugal.

Since covers were coming in from around the globe, many of the students may have wanted to avoid a location-specific or partisan interpretation of “Design Culture Youth,” choosing instead to focus on more universal themes, familiar to art school students everywhere: the job market, sexual frustration, and the search for original ideas.