Entering work into adjudicated design competitions is an important part of the educational experience in the Department of Design. These competitions offer students the opportunity for professional development by adding award-winning work to their portfolios, which are often the key to success in the design industry.
A portfolio becomes an important talking point when interviewing for internships or full-time positions because the included work demonstrates a student’s creativity and technical skills to potential employers. Notably, graduates of the Graphic Design BFA program in the last four years have all secured full-time jobs in the design field post-graduation. Students in this program are highly encouraged – and in courses like Professional Recognition for Graphic Designers – required to enter their work into adjudicated design competitions exactly for these reasons.
However, many competitions are cost prohibitive to students because entry fees and the price involved in actually producing their design work for submission can accumulate quickly. As a result, the Department of Design has established internal grants, which allow students to ask for funds to support their entries into competitions.
These grants, funded by generous TCU donors, disbursed approximately $5,000 to graphic design students in the 2018-19 academic year.
Senior Meredith Stringfellow was among numerous peers from the Department of Design who entered and won awards in the 2019 American Advertising Awards-Fort Worth competition, also known as the ADDYs, with support from departmental grants. She won bronze in the Poster Design category for her fashion sustainability infographic. Additionally, departmental grants made it possible for her to attend AAF-Fort Worth gala earlier this year when awards were announced.
“Participating in this competition allow[ed] me to learn from…and be a part of those selected. The winning works [taught] me not only how to prepare better for next year, but to evaluate my own work to help me be better qualified…in the future.
Competition fees add up. With printing, product development, supplies, fees for memberships and competitions — all of these aspects become a lot when looking at the big picture. Receiving this grant allow[ed] me to win one of my first competitions [on my own].
The TCU Graphic Design program prepares students so well for the world after college [and] sets them apart from other students at universities around the country. All the late night work on sketchbooks and injuries from X-Acto knives all seem worth it when things begin to fall into place for a student designer. Receiving this grant money [meant] not only winning for myself, but also paying tribute back to the program that made me love design in the first place.”
Join the College of Fine Arts on TCU Gives Day, Nov. 13-14, to help students like Meredith continue pursuing their passions.
Student’s comments have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.