The results of the 2019 RDA are in—and we couldn’t be more delighted by the brilliance of the 78 winners that emerged from a pool of nearly 3,000 entries.
To address the elephant in the room: It’s 2020. What took so long?
This was the RDA that almost didn’t happen—but we weren’t going to let that happen.
Last year, F+W Media, which owned PRINT and scores of other brands and magazines, filed for Chapter 11. PRINT went dark—but then, a group comprised of Deb Aldrich and Laura Des Enfants of D’NA Company, Jessica Deseo and Andrew Gibbs of Dieline, Debbie Millman of Design Matters and Steven Heller of The Daily Heller banded together and formed PRINT Holdings LLC to save the brand.
They were able to acquire PRINT and bring it back … but the paperwork and handoff took a moment. Well, we’re now done sorting through files, and we’re looking to the future as we work on an all-new website that will be debuting soon—alongside a host of other exciting developments.
Before the transition, an esteemed panel of judges went through all of the RDA entries across six regions—East, Midwest, South, New York City, Southwest and Far West—as well as a comprehensive student category. We have them to thank for these excellent selections. Take a moment to get to know them before diving into the galleries that follow:
East Region Judge: Antonio Alcalá
Antonio Alcalá graduated from Yale University with a BA in history, and then from the Yale School of Art with an MFA in graphic design. Since opening Studio A in 1988, he has won awards of excellence in design from local, national and international institutions including PRINT, AIGA, Communication Arts and Graphis. Alcalá is an adjunct faculty member of Maryland Institute College of Art’s MFA in graphic design program and is also responsible for the design of U.S. postage stamps as an art director for the United States Postal Service. In 2011, Alcalá was nominated for two National Design Awards from the Cooper-Hewitt Museum.
Midwest Region Judge: Carly Ayres
Carly Ayres is a writer using language and interaction to engage people in new and interesting ways. Currently, she does that at Google, working on community and culture for design humans. Previously, she was a partner and co-founder at HAWRAF, an interactive design and technology design studio based in New York. Ayres runs 100sUnder100, an inclusive community of hundreds of creative people under 100 years of age. In 2017, she was named by Fast Company as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.
South Region Judge: Sam Eckersley
Sam Eckersley is creative director and co-founder of RED Partners, developing brand identity systems and campaigns for a broad range of clients, including the National Football League, CNN, Google, PBS, Apollo Theater, Guggenheim, Nike and American Ballet Theatre.
His work has won awards from PRINT, AIGA, Art Directors Club, FPO and CMYK, as well as a Judge’s Pick at the Type Directors Club. He’s currently serving as co-president of AIGA-Atlanta, and an adjunct professor at Portfolio Center.
New York City Judge: Eric Friedensohn
Eric Friedensohn, aka Efdot, is a New York City–based muralist, artist and illustrator who makes custom pieces and installations for mission-driven companies around the world. With more than a decade in the industry, he has worked as a designer and art director with brands and agencies in the U.S., Latin America and Europe. He most recently led the art and graphics team for WeWork Latin America.
Southwest Region Judge: Courtney Gooch
Courtney Gooch is an independent designer based in New York who makes identities, books, websites, packaging and environmental graphics. She was previously the associate partner on Paula Scher’s team at Pentagram, and her client work includes projects for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Google and Madison Square Park.
Gooch’s work has been featured by Fast Company, Lonely Planet and Wired, and she’s an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts, teaching senior portfolio and typography classes.
Student Category Judge: Anne Jordan
Anne Jordan is a graphic designer specializing in book cover design for academic and trade publishers. Her work explores the intersection of typography and materials, and in 2015, she was named a New Visual Artist (15 Under 30) by PRINT.
Jordan often collaborates with her husband, designer Mitch Goldstein, from their home-studio in Rochester, New York. Their collaborative work has been recognized by AIGA 50 Books 50 Covers,
Far West Region Judge: Satoru Nihei
Satoru Nihei is a graphic designer born and raised in Fukushima, Japan, and practicing in the United States. Nihei’s work explores personal and emotional life experiences through typographic form and design, and addresses the human presence in an expressive, contemplative, whimsical and often playful manner, evoking a keen sense of the psyche.
His output has been included in national and international collections and exhibitions, such as Graphic Matters, Golden Bee/Moscow Global Biennale of Graphic Design, 3sec.gallery in the Netherlands, Trnava Poster Triennial in Slovakia, and Shenzhen International Poster Festival.
After judges narrowed the pool of entries, the PRINT team selected the final winners in the galleries that follow. Six Best of Region winners were also chosen, and our team has selected an Editor’s Choice winner, as well—and that entrant will receive a trophy live on the main stage at HOW Design Live in Atlanta this fall. (All other winners will receive a discount code for the conference, should they plan on attending.)
We’re also thrilled that all winners will be receiving a custom certificate created by Design Army—who also created all the RDA section openers and related imagery—on Neenah Paper, printed by Bennett Graphics. (Stay tuned for more on the design.)
Finally, as you browse these galleries, see what patterns emerge. See what trends come to the fore, and how you might react in your own work. See what inspires. See what moves, what makes you feel—and ponder what you might create next.
Without further delay, we are thrilled to present: The winners of the 2019 RDA.