On March 14th, LSU hosted the Adobe Creative Jam. Students paired into teams, were provided a theme, simply “red,” and collaborated on either a visual or motion design. From concept to completion, the teams were limited to three hours. We were impressed by the work they created.
Here we share our insights on the competition, the speakers, and hear from some of the designers about their experiences.
With team names such as Alt of Ctrl, Scared Shiftless, and CollaborAsian, we knew the competition was rife with creativity. But the ambiguous theme, “red,” even caused us some concern. Colors, especially red, evoke common word associations, and the designers could have fallen into the trap of predictability.
At first, many of the competitors were stunned, even panicked by the theme. As Mark Naquin said, “It was so vague that I wasn’t sure how we would narrow in on a concept in such a short time.”
Team First Year: Gabe Hilliard & Mark Naquin
Carlin Mumphrey said of her team, “Honestly, for both of us, it was a ‘what the *bleep*’ kind of moment.”
Team Scared Shiftless: Cassidy Day & Carlin Mumphrey
But panic drove creativity, and the designers knew better than to let the simplicity and freedom lure them to take an easy route.
“Originally when I saw the theme ‘red,’ I knew that we would have to try to come up with something that was outside the bounds of violence, anger, or even Baton Rouge’s prevailing red stick iconography,” Tory Cunningham said.
Team Ham & Cheese: Tory Cunningham & XiaoJun Huang
The freedom of the theme meant the competitors needed a strong strategy. Some chose product, such as Cassidy Day and her partner Carlin: “I kind of thought I wanted to do packaging or a brand because as a designer I think I work better when it’s a tangible project or something that is ‘real world’.”
Others chose story. XiaoJun Huang and her partner Tory examined themselves and discovered inspiration in their cultural differences, creating meaning through collision: “We’re from different cultural backgrounds, so we came up with an idea about something that can combine the eastern and western culture in this competition… In the Cantonese language “RED EYES” “眼红” describes […] envy, jealousy […] Tory told me that in the United States “ GREEN EYES” has the same meaning as “RED EYES” in China, so we started to do the illustration with the different color of eyes.”
Team Annakim: Ann Bowler & Kim Le
And even those who took a more literal approach to “red” expanded beyond the one-to-one word association. Team AnnaKim, Ann Bowler & Kim Le, created a make-up line and full campaign for Covergirl based on the color’s association to blood. Kim explained, “Our concept first started off with general words that are associated with Red such as blood, love, passion, anger. My partner is experienced in illustrations so we built our entry with that in mind. We eventually came up with the idea of make up ad but with a twist.”
(Top Left: Team Alt of Ctrl: Kacie Landis & Lauren Giambelluca/ Top Right: Team The Futura Tellers: Annalynne Talbert & Kedra Deggins/ Bottom Left: Team Cajun Creatives: Tori Robichaux & Meghan Dantzler/ Bottom Right: Team CollaborAsian: Christina Tran & Grace Choi)
The designs and strategies were varied and unique. From a tie company, Yuge Ties, based on our current president’s belief in the power of big, red ties, to an app, Flock, that collects all of your favorite news sources into one location.
ThreeSixtyEight’s own Jeremy Beyt learned early on that doing what you love is not enough, and he shared this lesson through his presentation, “How To Not Go Broke Doing What You Love.” You can watch his entire presentation in the video above.
Ashley’s career began as the designated A-frame chalkboard artist at a restaurant where she was a server. Since then, her work has appeared on the Super Bowl, she’s created chalk designs for local businesses, such as NOLA Brewing, and moved into digital design, creating the skins for Dat Dog’s food trucks. Her story exemplifies that success can have humble beginnings.
Andrew began by designing his band’s T-shirts. But he created Slash Design because he didn’t want to limit himself to one passion. From branding and digital design, to a kids show he created using puppets, Andrew has stayed true to the ideology behind his company’s name.
The Judge’s Choice Award for Visual Design was a tie. Both teams created product campaigns that could be extended and applied to an entire line of products. Scared Shiftless: Cassidy Day & Carlin Mumphrey created Sass Mouth Jam: Snapback Strawberry. Not only did they design branding, they developed a new company and the product.
“It just kind of hit us, packaging + sass + strawberries = Sass Mouth Jam: Snapback Strawberry. In all, it took us about 15-20mins to come up with the concept. We absolutely plan on refining this project and creating more flavors after graduation this spring.” Carlin
And Team Annakim: Ann Bowler & Kim Le, developed a make-up line for Covergirl that we thought not only appeals to a pop culture audience, but empowers women through beauty. The artwork is striking, and the accompanying copy really pushes the design to the top.
“Blood was one of the words that is associated with red so we combined that with the idea of makeup and came up with an ad for a lipstick line, Apocalypstick, that caters to people in a post-apocalyptic environment.” Kim
Team Ham & Cheese: Tory Cunningham & XiaoJun Huang won the Motion Design Judge’s Choice Award. Their animation was simple, but made a big impact. The strength of the art coupled with the power of the message made this vibrating, eye color changing bunny something to be envied.
“We chose the rabbit as our subject because they’re usually represented as pure, so we decided to go the opposite way with it, and create a rather angry bunny.” Tory
To see all the designs, animations, and a full list of the winners and teams, check out the Behance site.
Advice to Future Competitors
Kim Le: “I would suggest to make something that both you and your partner want to make. Make something you are interested in.”
Carlin Mumphrey: “My advice would be to just have fun! Aim high but don’t add the pressure of ‘I have to win this’.”
Mark Naquin: “Going into it we were so excited for the challenge and I think that helped us come up with a concept so quickly and push through the stressful moments. There were definitely times where it was stressful, […]. Eventually, the stress went away and we focused on creating our video as efficiently as possible and we ended up with something that we were proud of.”
Cassidy Day: “Best advice is to just stay calm and concept first but don’t think about it too much. […] You’ve gotta know what you want your final product to be. […] Once we had something that we thought was witty and could work we went for it. There’s no time to second guess yourself, you’ve gotta make it work.”
XiaoJun Huang: “Get a trusted partner and work well with him/her, it will be an awesome experience!”
Gabe Hilliard: “In this competition, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Probably bite off less. Then you may just pull it off.”
Baton Rouge is home to some amazing creatives, as evidenced by the work produced by these young designers. We can’t wait to see more from them as they make their mark on the community. ThreeSixtyEight hopes to encourage great talent, and we aim to build a stronger community of creatives in Louisiana.
That is why we sponsor events like Creative Jam, and why we created Assembly Required, to gather people who want to creatively and actionably improve their communities. Tickets for the first assembly, Women in Leadership, are available here.
We also developed Book & Brew, a monthly gathering at the ThreeSixtyEight office featuring stories and lessons from local, small business owners, special treats, and local beers. Learn more and reserve your spot for Book & Brew Vol. 3, Thursday, April 27th, and Book & Brew Vol. 4: Special Space Edition, Thursday, May 4th.
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