George Mason has some shockingly talented student designers, but because we’re not known as an art school and we’re miles away from DC, few people would know it. Through AIGA-GMU, I wanted to show to the DC design community that George Mason is worth paying attention to. Design Battle, an event we hosted in April 2012 with over 100 attendants, was my opportunity to make that happen.
It started with a conversation in the fall of my junior year–Erik Hansen, my branding professor, complained that AIGA-GMU was so professional that it was almost boring. Why didn’t we have a design battle, he suggested, and as he started describing what it could be, I began to share his vision. I brought the idea to the insanely hardworking group of AIGA-GMU officers, and their response was enthusiastic. With their support, I started planning the rules of the competition, who would judge, how to promote it, the prizes, where it should be held and more.
When it came to promoting the event, the AIGA-GMU officers were passionate and hardworking. All 10 of us met one late Sunday night to plaster the walls (and stairs) of the School of Art with posters, stickers and banners announcing the event. Ramla Mahmood created giant stencils and brought spray paint and paper, so we spray painted our hearts out. Courtney Leonard had ordered tons of t-shirts and stickers, so we tagged the entire campus with Design Battle stickers (to the administration’s extreme dismay). Joseph Le branded the entire event with a seriously splashy poster and t-shirt. Vinh Le created a jaw-droppingly beautiful website that wowed everyone who saw it (rocking some gorgeous parallax). Katri Haas and Imani Sherrill manned our booth in the JC for hours, handing out postcards to promote the event. Christine Vi emailed our fellow AIGA chapters in NOVA, Maryland and VCU, inviting them to come. Cameron Lensing (not even an AIGA-GMU officer!) created a hilarious, epic trailer to promote the event. The gung-ho, hard working attitude of all the officers was impressive, to say the least.
I had set an ambitious goal of 100 attendants, but with only 40 people registered by the morning of Design Battle, I had started to tell myself that I always wanted a small group, anyway… I started noticing more and more students and alumni pouring through the doors, though, and I was thrilled when I realized we had actually reached our goal.
Planning this event took more from me than I thought I had to give, but it was worth it to see the attention our best designers received that night. I can’t wait to see how this event evolves in the years to come.
See all the photos at the AIGA-GMU Flickr account.
Read what Tomas Snoreck from Ripe had to say about Design Battle in his blog post.
Read the George Mason newspaper wrote about us here.
An 8 minute documentary by Vinh Le
The trailer for Design Battle, by Cameron Lensing