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UC Student Wins National Design Contest in Unanimous Vote by Industry Leaders

UC student Allison Raters recently won the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ “My Favorite Medalist” national competition. She won in the first-ever unanimous vote by the industry leaders judging the contest.

Date: 6/30/2014
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided
Even though she’s just finished her first year in the University of Cincinnati’s top-ranked School of Design, graphic design student Allison Raters, 19, can already say she’s a national medal winner.
Headshot of Allison Raters
UC's Allison Raters

That’s because she recently won the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ “My Favorite Medalist” national competition, earning the first-time ever unanimous vote by the industry leaders judging the student contest.
The AIGA is the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, and it annually holds a contest for students in which they are asked to submit a design that in some way embodies the work of a prestigious professional designer who has earned an AIGA medal.
Raters, 19, of Huber Heights, Ohio, submitted a design inspired by the work of Italian designer Massimo Vignelli, who passed away earlier this year. She states, “He did some extraordinary things for the world of design. For the furniture company Knoll, he created a graphics program that included an iconic poster in which he overlayed three different colors of letters spelling out ‘Knoll’ while still maintaining legibility in the design.
“For my entry, I followed this concept, but I used the word ‘Vignelli’ and chose slightly different colors. It was challenging to create the legibility that Vignelli had in his poster, but I believe I got a nice result similar to Vignelli’s design. I’m really proud of how mine turned out.”
Allison Rater
Allison Rater's winning design.

Judging Raters’ winning entry were well-known professional designers
  • Michael Bierut, partner, Pentragram
  • Rick Valicent, principal, Thirst
  • Michael Vanderbyl, principal, Vanderbyl Design
Having such well-known designers agree to recognize her design as the overall winner in the competition means a lot to Raters, a 2013 graduate of Wayne High School: “Since the judges were three extraordinary AIGA medalists, even one of them liking my work would have been amazing for me. It means the world to me that all three of them thought my work was exceptional. It is a huge honor for me to receive the award. I had a lot of fun creating the design and receiving the award definitely gives me a lot of hope for how successful I can be as a designer in the future.”
Raters and her fellow students entered the contest at the suggestion of College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) associate professor of practice Dan Bittman, and she’s now glad she did, stating, “The most important thing I learned from participating in the competition is that even if you do not have a large amount of experience, you can still be successful if you push yourself and are passionate about what you are doing.”