ADDYS Recognize Excellence in Student Work

BSC GDC Students Win Share of Awards

The North Dakota chapter of the American Advertising Federation, AAFND or AdFed, recently held its annual awards show – the Addys – in Fargo. BSC Graphic Design and Communications students competed in the juried competition against other students of two and four year institutions represented in the district.

This year, seven BSC sophomore students won nine awards for their outstanding demonstrations in design and photography. MiKayla Pfaff won a Gold Addy for a digital illustration of a gold pocket watch. Josh Schaefbauer won a gold for his studio photography piece entitled ‘Let’s Drink’. Parker Bachmeier won two Silver Addys for his personal stationery design and a poster design for the BSC Theatrical Production of ‘The Foreigner’. Brandon Veen won a Silver Addy for his poster design for the BSC Theatrical Production of ‘How I Learned to Drive’. Aaron Bechtle won a Silver Addy for his studio photograph entitled ‘Coffee Delight’. Jessica Edinger won two silvers for her studio photographs entitled ‘Spice Your Life’ and ‘Drink’. Larree Janssen won a Silver Addy for her photography ‘Dragonfly’.

All Gold Addy Award winners are automatically forwarded for judging at the District 8 Addy Competition that will take place in Green Bay, WI on March 23.

The GDC graduating class of 2017 won a Gold Addy for the sixth edition of PROOF Magazine, an all student designed and produced publication. Since 2012, PROOF magazine has collected three Addy Awards. The seventh edition of PROOF is currently in production.

Several Graphic Design and Communications graduates were also part of award-winning projects this year. Rob Burke, Jamie Vetter, Caleb Hauff, Nathan Long and Jade Neumann were among the alumni honored with Addys as well. Neumann, a 2017 graduate, was awarded two Silver Addys. One for the ‘Shortcuts’ Poster Design and the other for ‘Create’, an illustration. Long, a 2016 graduate now attending Moorhead State University, shared in a Gold Addy for a web site design for ‘The Fargo Project’. This entry also received the only ‘Best of Digital’ Student Award. Burke, 2009 graduate and owner of Yarn Media, received 3 Gold Addys and 1 Silver for his cinematography and editing work. Vetter, also a 2009 graduate, netted four Addys – a Silver with co-creator of the Shortcuts Poster, Jade Neumann, and three Addys as part of his work with Agency Mabu. Hauff, 2014 graduate and co-founder of Threefold, shared in over ten awards – four Gold Addys, five Silver Addys and the only Best of Show given this year.

Congratulations to all award winners and all of the students that entered. Because the Addy is universally recognized by the creative industry as a signature achievement, receiving one is great validation for the professional and creative work produced by our GDC students.

MiKayla Pfaff’s digital illustration of a gold pocket watch received a Gold Addy.

Josh Schaefbauer’s Moscow Mule in ‘Let’s Drink’ captured a Gold Addy.

Parker Bachmeier’s personal stationery package received a Silver Addy.

Bachmeier also received a Silver Addy for his poster for ‘The Foreigner’.

Brandon Veen received a Silver Addy for his ‘How I Learned to Drive’ play poster.

A Silver Addy was awarded to Aaron Bechtle for his ‘Coffee Delight’ photo.

Jessica Edinger won a Silver Addy for her ‘Spice Your Life’ photo.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Larree Janssen’s up-close-and-personal photo of this dragonfly won a Silver Addy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nathan Long (2016 graduate), won a Gold and Best of Student, Digital for his collaboration on ‘The Fargo Project’ web site.

The Silver Addy Award-winning Shortcuts poster was a joint effort between Jamie Vetter (2009 graduate) and Jade Neumann (2017 graduate).

Jade Neumann’s illustrated ‘Create’ design won a Silver Addy.

Guest blog – the power of the creative brief

I have discovered one question that holds the key to my creative bliss. Answering this question (with confidence) has turned the most skeptical of clients into starry-eyed believers.


As designers, we have to know why we do what we do.

“Why did you use PMS 872 instead of Reflex Blue?”

“Why is the logo so small?”

“Why didn’t you center the text?”

Why is the question that ties us, as designers, to our clients. They hire us for our skill, but in the end, they have to relate to what we create (sorry for the rhyme). We are not creating art. We are creating a solution to a client’s problem. Without an answer to a “why?” question, we have essentially excused ourselves as the creative professional. At that point, the client’s opinion is as good as ours and we have lost control of our idea.

The best way, I’ve found, to prepare for the inevitable, “why?” is research. Founded research, more than a quick Google search. I start with a creative brief, a set number of questions to help me (and the client) understand: who their audience is, who their competition is, what type of tone they are after and any other excluding factors.

Treat your creative brief as a security blanket. Use it to check the validity of your ideas during the concepting stage. Use it to focus your designs when you’re in the thick of creating. Then, when you are presetting your concept to the client, use it to defend against any “why?” moments.

CLIENT: “Why did you use orange, I don’t like orange.”

KICK-ASS DESIGNER-X: “Well, according to the creative brief, you said you wanted to portray ________ and ________. Through my research, I found that orange was the best way to achieve that.”


There has to be courage in creativity, not just in the aesthetics, but in the logic. No one knows you have a great idea unless you can explain, why?

(Jon Eslinger is a 2001 graduate of the Graphic Design and Communications Program (then known as Commercial Art). He currently works in Lansing Michigan as Art Director for Traction. Check them out on the web at Jon is listed on our Alumni Page – check it out here.)

Jon Eslinger Vision Creative Lansing, Michigan 42.733678,-84.543710

Jon Eslinger