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Students and Alumna Impress in the Adobe Design Achievement Awards

Two Academy of Art University students and an alumna were recognized for their creative work in the prestigious Adobe Design Achievement Awards (ADAAs). Each year, the ADAAs celebrate student achievements in the converging worlds of technology and creative arts.

Grad Chiharu Tanaka won an ADAA for her Print Communications project, and students Tiago Cabaço and Ming Zhao Li were honored as Winner in Browser Based Design and Finalist in Illustration respectively.

Adobe Design Achievement Awards Winner – MONYO+MOJI by Chiharu Tanaka
ADAA Winner – MONYO+MOJI by Chiharu Tanaka

Born and raised in Tottorio, Japan, Chiharu fused Japanese ornamentation and the Roman alphabet into striking fonts for her thesis project, MONYO+MOJI. Chiharu completed her MFA degree in Graphic Design at Academy of Art University. “My intention was to find a balance, between the designs of the West and the East that aesthetically represented both cultures,” she said.

Though she thanks all of her friends and instructors for their encouragement, Chiharu is particularly grateful to instructor Carolina de Bartolo. De Bartolo teaches Typography, History of Graphic Design and Design Grids at Academy of Art University. It was in de Bartolo’s Typography 1 class, during Chiharu’s first semester at the Academy, that she conceived of the main idea for her project.

“Carolina has been devoted to my success in this endeavor,” said Chiharu. “If I hadn’t had her as one of my directed study advisors in the beginning, I don’t think I would have been able to complete my project.”

Adobe Design Achievement Awards Winner – Klavika by Tiago Cabaço
ADAA Winner – Case Study: Klavika by Tiago Cabaço

Browser Based Design winner and Academy of Art University Web Design & New Media student Tiago Cabaço was attracted by the dynamic and ever-changing creativity of interactive design. He currently works as an interactive designer and developer in San Francisco.

His project, Case Study: Klavika, sought to present an experimental typeface in a unique manner. To this end, he created a website which enabled users to see any word typed in the font displayed boldly on a picture that represents the word.

In order to make the site interactive in this way, Tiago connected the input field to a search query string in Flickr which returns the most relevant result, making the possibilities nearly endless. The result is a striking exhibition of the font.

“Fonts aren’t like jeans and shirts, massively distributed and sometimes randomly placed in stores,” Tiago said. “Typography plays a vital role in every design process, and fonts should be promoted as such.”

Adobe Design Achievement Awards Finalist – Little World of Dreams by Ming Zhao Li
ADAA Finalist – Little World of Dreams by Ming Zhao Li

Another Web Design & New Media student, Ming Zhao Li, plans to graduate in 2012. His project, Little World of Dreams, was named a Finalist in Illustration in the ADAAs. The illustration was inspired by childhood fantasy, memories and nature.

Interested in art from a young age, Ming never imagined he would become a digital artist until, as a teenager he went with a friend to a community youth center. “They had many computers with Adobe software installed, and I discovered Adobe Photoshop,” Ming said. “I was amazed by the function and the flexibility of creating artwork in the program.”

Chiharu, Tiago and Ming all believe that dedication and the courage to push the boundaries of art and design are at the heart of creative success. Ming shares this piece of advice for his fellow students: “Don’t be afraid to try something new and different. This is how great works and good ideas emerge.”

Academy of Art University congratulates Chiharu, Tiago and Ming on their achievements!

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