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2018 West Michigan ADDY Awards Reflect KCAD’s Tradition of Advertising Excellence

The Candyland-inspired theme for the 2018 American Advertising Federation of West Michigan ADDY Awards oozed childhood nostalgia, but there was nothing juvenile about the winning work from the Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) community.

KCAD Graphic Design students again dominated the ADDY student categories at the regional level with mature, high caliber work, winning 79 of the 95 awards given out. The same streak of excellence continued for KCAD alumni, who maintain a strong professional presence in the region’s advertising industry. More than half of the professional awards were earned by KCAD alumni or ad agencies/organizations where KCAD alumni are currently working.

It’s a trend Professor and Graphic Design Program Chair Joan Sechrist says reflects a commitment to keeping students and the program connected to the pulse of the industry.

“In guiding our students toward becoming effective and impactful visual communicators, it’s essential that we not only help them develop their creative skills, but keep them engaged with what professionals out in the world are doing as well” says Sechrist. “When students stay curious, they approach design with a greater sense of possibility, and this year’s ADDY winners have found success doing just that.”

Senior Chloë Malmquist was the evening’s biggest winner, taking home not only a Gold ADDY and a Judge’s Choice Award, but also the coveted Student Best in Show award for a branding campaign she designed for Hank’s, a fictional handkerchief company (faculty: John Koziatek).

Women wearing handkerchief"Hank's Branding Campaign" by Chloë Malmquist

“This had to be one of the cleanest branding executions I’ve seen from a student. The work was thought out, simple, and well-crafted,” a judge said in a released statement. “A complete campaign thought was made here where every stitch seemed to have its place in the ‘story’ of Hank’s, something that’s hard to pull off in spec work. Great job in making a simple product and great brand idea aesthetically pleasing and artfully composed.”

Recent graduate Laura Bosscher (December 2017) and sophomore Gabrielle Podkul also won Judges’ Choice Awards. Bosscher won for her “Lamb Bride Catalog” magazine design (faculty: Karen Johnson-Greiner), which also earned a Gold ADDY.

omen standing in a forest wearing a white wedding dress"Lamb Bride Publication" by Laura Bosscher

Podkul won for her “Focus on Flint” billboard design (faculty: Joan Sechrist), which earned her a Silver ADDY as well.

Water droplet with sillhoutte of a city behind it"Focus on Flint" by Gabrielle Podkul

Explore the galleries below to see work from all student winners:






In the professional categories, Meijer, which employs a number of KCAD alumni on its in-house design team, took home the most awards with 30. Extra Credit Projects, led by alumnus Rob Jackson (’89, BFA Illustration), was a close second with 24 total awards.

Digital Art and Design Program Chair Brad Yarhouse also got in on the action, winning a Bronze ADDY for an animated anti-bullying PSA he created for the State of Michigan’s OK2SAY initiative. Alumnus Brian Oesch (‘82, AFA) won a Bronze ADDY for a logo he designed for the West Michigan Whitecaps 25th anniversary season.  

Other winning firms/organizations with KCAD alumni connections included Keen Studio, Ferris Coffee & Nut, 2 Fish Company, Grey Matter Group, Blue Flame Thinking, Scott Allen Creative, Fairly Painless Advertising, Highland Group, and Taproot Pictures. Fairly Painless Advertising took home a Professional Judges’ Choice Award for the “Inappropriate Cat” commercial created for restaurant chain HopCat.

“KCAD congratulates our community on their success in this year’s West Michigan ADDY Awards. The event was a prime example of the standard of excellence in advertising our students, alumni and faculty members have upheld for so long,” says Dean of Academic Affairs Charles Wright. “I’m proud to see the talent and vision of our students recognized in this competition, and I’m excited that they had the opportunity to be inspired by the successes of KCAD alumni who are now making their mark as professionals.”

All of the student and professional entries that won Gold ADDY awards will now move on to the district level of the competition by default. Silver ADDY award winners can move on to the district level via entry fee.

Learn more about KCAD’s Graphic Design program.

Learn more about KCAD’s Digital Art and Design program.

Learn more about KCAD’s Illustration program.