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Anchorage Museum Wins Big at AIGA Alaska Design Competition

The Big One 2015 (14)
Photo by Heather Aronno.

Graphic designers of all stripes brought home awards on Saturday night, but it was Anchorage Museum that took home the top prize at The Big One, AIGA Alaska ‘s annual design competition.

The crowd gathered for the sixth annual The Big One competition at the Anchorage Performing Arts Center looked like a typical group of Alaskans at first. Sure, maybe there were a few more pops of color than we’re used to seeing in a season of Carhartts and bunny boots. Perhaps there were a few more pairs of chunky-framed glasses than one would normally see in downtown Anchorage. And it could be there were more vibrant prints on display, on the attendees as well as the competition pieces.

AIGA Alaska president and founding member Colleen Shannon mentioned a focus on responsive design in the entries this year. “You might design something for print, but then your client wants it for their website,” she explained.

You have to think about ‘What does it look like on a phone? What does it look like on a tablet? What does it look like on a mini tablet?’ And that has been a real struggle for designers to adapt to that. And so seeing some of those efforts rewarded tonight is great. It shows we are thinking about the future of design.

Dozens of people spoke in animated, friendly tones to one another as they perused the posters and mixed media in the running for People’s Choice. The atmosphere was less tense than you might expect at an awards show, but maybe that’s because the work was done, the applications were filed, and now all was left to do was enjoy the party and cheer for your friends and colleagues.

Michael Ardaiz, owner of Mad Dog Graphx and another founding member of AIGA Alaska, said the competition provides a good opportunity to mingle with a lot of the other talented designers in Anchorage.

“You don’t get to see in an organized way what all of your peers are doing,” he said, “so it’s an excellent way of seeing what material is out in Anchorage because clearly we’re not exposed to all of it, what work a designer thinks is their best work, and a chance to rub elbows with them because we all tend to work in our own little batcaves in the dark in front of a screen. It’s a fairly isolated thing, so AIGA does what it can to get that network involved.”

Entries included projects ranging from an ad campaign for Alaska Grown to a mobile LEO Viewer app to an annual report for Arctic Slope Native Association. The big winner was Anchorage Museum, taking home four awards including Best of Show.

Colleen Shannon seemed pleased with the competition entries. “We wanted to showcase that Alaska is competitive in the design world,” she said.

The designers who participated can attest to that.

Photo by Heather Aronno.
Photo by Heather Aronno.
2015 AIGA Alaska The Big One Winners

Honorable Mention Identity/Campaign

  • Michaela Goade Design – Sustainable Southeast Partnership Logo Design
  • Nora Gecan Graphic Design – Homer Halibut Festival Logo
  • Corso Graphics – Huddle Identity
  • Kelly Dufort // Design – #EatAlaska Insulated Market Tote
  • Beacon Media + Marketing – Birchwood Behavioral Health Branding and Materials
  • Solstice Advertising – NAC Delivered
  • Michaela Goade Design – Aware 2015 Social Norms Campaign Design

Silver Identity/Campaign

  • Headron Collider – Headron Collider Brand System
  • Headron Collider – Anchorage Trails Identity System
  • Northwest Strategies – Alaska Wellness Coalition “Be You” Campaign

Honorable Mention Multi-Media/Interactive Design

  • Resource Data, Inc. – The LEO Network

Honorable Mention Poster/Exhibit Design

  • Craig Updegrove – Jane’s Addiction
  • Solstice Advertising – U.S Capitol Christmas Tree Commemorative Poster: A Gift From the Great Land
  • Corso Graphics – Alaska Clean Harbors

Silver Poster/Exhibit Design

  • Anchorage Museum – Polar Lab Film School
  • Anchorage Museum – On Ice

Gold Poster/Exhibit Design

  • Anchorage Museum – Arctic at the Center

Honorable Mention Print

  • MSI Communications – Alaska Air Cargo Infographic
  • Erin Hamilton Design – Annual Report for Arctic Slope Native Corporation
  • Nora Gecan Graphic Design – Bodenburg Butte Interpretive Signage
  • Northwest Strategies – Sitnasuak Annual Report
  • Michaela Goade Design – Trickster Co. 2015 Wholesale Product Catalog

Silver Print

  • Brilliant Media Strategies – APFC Annual Report
  • Spawn Ideas – Alaska Illustration Water Bottle
  • Jordan Bird – Broken Tooth Brewing – Beer Library

People’s Choice

  • Yuit Comms

Best of Show

  • Anchorage Museum – Arctic at the Center
Heather Aronno is a Journalism & Public Communications graduate from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her passion is community involvement, which has found a place within most of the work and projects with which she is involved. A transplant from the lower 48, Heather has lived in Anchorage, Alaska since the summer of 2005. Fortunately, it was a nice summer, and she's considered Alaska her home ever since.


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