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CMU design student wins national competition

Three CMU students place in top five

CMU art and design students have spent months designing, creating and refining their work for the Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors (ICMAD) Association 2020 Young Designers Competition. And the hard work paid off.

Five finalists were chosen out of more than 400 college-level student submissions to the competition, and three of those finalists were CMU students: Austin Draving, Ben Haver and Sage Meyer.

“All of them are really good designers,” said Associate Professor of Graphic Design Eli Hall, who advised the students through the process. “They put in so much work.”

Haver took first place, Draving placed fourth and Meyer placed fifth in the national design packaging competition.

“I’m not exactly sure how to feel after winning! This competition had 400+ entries and being selected as the national first place winner is so surreal,” Haver said. “I’m very excited to see where this opportunity leads me.”

Participants were each given the same brief and bottle to design packaging for the competition. Hall’s students took it a step further and designed other elements like the bottle packaging, subscription boxes and giveaway items.

“Package design plays an absolutely crucial role in the beauty business where approximately 2/3 of purchase decisions are made at the store shelf, and social media gives brands an opportunity to drive consumer demand by showcasing beautiful packaging,” said Chris Hobson, ICMAD chairman. “ICMAD is pleased to recognize this next generation of designers and provide them an opportunity to showcase their talent.”

Hall’s students worked on this project throughout last semester in the advanced typography course he teaches. Before they could start designing, each student conducted research, identified their target demographic and created a company name. They then moved into designing the logos, branding and packaging for each product. The last steps were to physically print, build and photograph the final products.

“The hardest part about this project was imagining my product on the shelf in the stores that it would be sold,” Meyer said. “The end goal was to have a product that would stand out among the competitors.”

In the end, Meyer chose bold red and black designs for his packaging.

Throughout the semester students would bring their updated designs and packaging to class to be critiqued and reviewed by Hall and fellow classmates. The designs went through at least three major rounds of reviews and revisions. To further elevate their entries, students presented their packaging to local designers.

“We actually scheduled time with Enstrom Candies‘ art director and designers. They looked over and critiqued each package, and unanimously, for mine, they loved the packaging but I was still struggling with the bottle,” Draving said. He eventually used an airbrushing technique to get the matte black on his bottle just right.

Preparing for this competition is an intense process. The students are pushed to “designer fatigue” and are held to expert craftsmanship levels by Hall, but he thinks it gives student designers insight into what they can expect after they graduate.

Hall, Draving, Haver and Meyers were flown out to Los Angeles, California, for the 2020 Young Designers Awards Competition ceremony on February 18 and flew back to Grand Junction with hardware in hand.

“To me, the best part of this branding and design project was seeing my end result. During the project, I spent months working hard to achieve my vision,” Haver said. “And being able to see the progress throughout the process and the final, beautiful package/brand I designed has been incredible. This project has awarded me so much growth and experience.”

  • Ben Haver named his cosmetic company FOCI

    Ben Haver named his cosmetic company FOCI.

  • Additional bottles and packaging Ben Haver designed

    Additional bottles and packaging Ben Haver designed.

  • Ben Haver's subscription box

    Ben Haver's subscription box.

  • Austin Draving named his cosmetic company Gel Tox

    Austin Draving named his cosmetic company Gel Tox.

  • Austin Draving chose a matte black box material with laser cutouts for the pink underneath

    Austin Draving chose a matte black box material with laser cutouts for the pink underneath.

  • Austin Draving's Gel Tox was a product designed to remove gel nail polish

    Austin Draving's Gel Tox was a product designed to remove gel nail polish.

  • Sage Meyer named his cosmetic company Shiner

    Sage Meyer named his cosmetic company Shiner.

  • Sage Meyer chose to use bold red and black colors in his packaging

    Sage Meyer chose to use bold red and black colors in his packaging.

  • Additional products Sage Meyer designed and created for the competition

    Additional products Sage Meyer designed and created for the competition.

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Written by Katlin Birdsall