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GDUSA Recognizes Two Graphic Design Students as “Students to Watch”

In the triumphant return of its “Students to Watch” feature, GDUSA highlighted graphic design students from the country’s leading art and design schools. Among the students “ready to burst on the design scene” are Academy of Art University’s Jenny Pan and Debbie Ladas.

Dashe Cellars – Design by Jenny Pan

The “Students to Watch” feature is in its second year and expands the scope of GDUSA’s much anticipated yearly article on “People to Watch.” Jenny and Debbie’s inclusion mark the second year that Academy of Art University has showcased talented Graphic Design students in the piece.

With her clean and polished designs, Jenny has been singled out for her talent before. Recently, blogs Lovely Package and The Dieline have featured her packaging design work. The featured pieces, an imagined brand redesign for vineyard Dashe Cellars and an envisioned line of skincare products from Vespa, were both created in an advanced package design class at Academy of Art University.

“Intrigued with the Dashe Cellars winery and their unusual label of a monkey and fish painting, I took a new approach to elevate the brand,” she said, explaining her redesign. “While the design vision became more elegant and whimsical, it was the final illustration that helped to preserve the story behind the wines.”

Via Vespa – Design by Jenny Pan

Working with professional designers such as Academy of Art University’s Executive Director of Graphic Design Mary Scott has been an intense learning experience for Jenny. “One reason I decided to attend Academy of Art University is that many instructors are working professionals, which gives students an advantage of staying current,” she told the magazine.

Jenny is currently working as a design intern at MetaDesign. Previously, she has interned and done freelance work for Office and Weymouth Design in San Francisco, where she worked on projects for brands such as Netgear, eBay, Gap, and Williams-Sonoma among many others. Jenny plans to complete her MFA in Graphic Design this year.

Tell Tale Preserve Co. –
Design by Chen Design Associates

Similarly, Debbie has already received much praise for her work. Her design for Tell Tale Preserve Co.’s identity system won an International Type Directors Club Award this year. She completed the design as part of her internship with Chen Design Associates. (Tell Tale Preserve Company Identity Project: Creative Director, Joshua C. Chen, Designers Max Spector and Debbie Ladas.)

Originally from Scotland, Debbie moved to the United States to work as a researcher in the investment banking industry. Though she completed an MA in Business from St. Andrews University in Scotland, she decided to return to school to pursue a career in graphic design.

“I have always loved graphic design,” she said. “I would look at great design and wonder, ‘How did they do that?’ A combination of curiosity, frustration and envy drove me back to school and to a change of career from business research to design.”

Tell Tale Preserve Co. –
Design by Chen Design Associates

The switch in focus has enabled Debbie to develop into a gifted graphic designer, garnering her spot on the “Students to Watch in 2011” list as well as other accolades. “Being a student at Academy of Art University has been a wonderful opportunity to learn from the best, be challenged and at the same time take risks, experiment and have fun,” she told GDUSA.

With an already impressive list of credentials in their backgrounds, these two emerging designers are certainly, as GDUSA notes, Students to Watch.


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