Six projects developed by 12 current and former strategic communication students in the College of Media, Communication and Information (CMCI) earned awards at the Nov. 11 Denver One Show ceremony, recognized as some of the best work entered in this year’s competition.
“It’s really exciting,” said Ashley Schoenbauer, a strategic communication student studying media design. Schoenbauer won two bronze medals for her group’s “Dad Up” project for Budweiser and “Duolingo Uncensored” project for Duolingo. “It’s just nice to see all the hard work that we put into this pay off and be recognized.”
The Denver One Show is a competition in advertising, design and digital marketing hosted by the Denver chapter of the international organization, The One Club for Creativity. Art directors, media designers, writers, photographers, animators and students are invited to enter their work.
“The One Club is probably the most prestigious creative competition in the business,” said Dan Ligon, a visiting professor of practice in the Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design who has worked at some of the most celebrated advertising agencies in the U.S.
“Considering the number of entries, and the quality of the entries, the competition is quite fierce,” Ligon said. “And the jury, pulled from some of the top agencies and design shops around the country, are successful working professionals with very high standards.”
The 12 recognized students—who are either in the creative advertising track or the media design track of the strategic communication major—created their projects earlier this year as part of the media design portfolio class, taught by Ligon, or the creative advertising portfolio class, taught by Glenn Griffin.
“I sort of feel like a proud parent at an award show because it’s nice to see them be excited about the work, even a long time after they finished working on it,” said Griffin, an associate professor.
In addition to group projects, students could also submit individual projects, which is the route that media design student Hailey Caress took. Caress earned a merit award for her project, “Save the Elephants,” which raised awareness of elephant poaching. One of the contributing factors to her success, said Caress, was collaborating closely with peers and her professor, Ligon.
“I think I was really impacted by how small the class sizes were because it creates an intimate environment between your classmates and teachers, so that was really helpful in pursuing my passions,” Caress said.
Earning recognition from The Denver One Show not only boosts one’s professional portfolio, said Ligon, but it also offers insight into what a career can be like in the advertising, marketing and design field, showing the work of—and introducing students to—talented professionals.
“I love these competitions because it’s the closest taste that students can get of the big leagues,” said Ligon, who is currently helping students prepare their submissions for the 2022 international One Show competition. “Now they have a taste of winning, they also have the hunger to really compete, and win, at the national level.”
Griffin agreed, saying that while the award recognition is beneficial to students’ resumes and portfolios, it’s the ability to network and observe others’ work that is invaluable.
“An award of this type is—it's a validation from the professional community,” Griffin said. “But I always remind my students that if you're proud of the work, and you're proud of it being in your portfolio, that's the best reward.”