Undergraduate Graphic Design Student Wins International Design Competition

(Baton Rouge, La.) – A third-year undergraduate in graphic design at Louisiana State University’s College of Art + Design beat out hundreds of students from around the world to win a color and design competition sponsored by the British-based Society of Dyers and Colourists, an international professional organization. Twenty-three-year-old Sydney Nakashima, a Baton Rouge native, received the first-place award at a ceremony in Belfast last month for a series of flower-seed packets she designed for a project in Prof. Paul Dean’s spring 2006 class on color and design.

“The assignment asked us to use color in product packaging so I decided to redesign a seed package using color to portray the character of the flowers,” Nakashima says. “It was an open-ended assignment, which I like because it allowed us to be very interpretive and creative.”

Nakashima’s designs include packets for marigold, poppy and snapdragon seeds. Her flowers are bold, bright and highly stylized, appearing on muted fields of gray, blue and fuscia. Simple, sans serif typeface identifies the images, which Nakashima created using both free-hand and digital technology.

“I still feel really comfortable using freehand drawing so I sketched the images then scanned them into the computer,” she says.

Nakashima’s graphic design professor Paul Dean first learned about the competition from a flyer he received in the mail. He decided to enter Nakashima’s designs after seeing them and recognizing their exceptional quality. Still, even he says he was surprised she won first place, which carried with it a 1,000- pound (British dollars) prize.

“All the students and I agreed hers was the best in the class,” Dean says. “But I had no idea it would take her to the top.”

The award is significant for several reasons. It will help advance Nakashima’s graphic design career, which she hopes will include graduate school and eventual work at a small design firm. It also brings international prestige to the School of Art and LSU. “My highest congratulations and admiration go to Ms. Nakashima for her achievement, as well as to Paul Dean for the commitment to color integrity that he so passionately imparts to his students,” said School of Art director Stuart Baron. “Ms. Nakashima typifies the very best of our students.”

The Society of Dyers and Colourists is the only international professional society specializing in color. Its objectives are to advance the science of color in the broadest sense.