Designers fight head-to-head in Design Jam

Lauren Franken, Managing Editor

Twelve minutes. 

That’s how long students will have in each head-to-head round of this year’s Design Jam. 

Two of the 16 total competitors will be given a design challenge at the beginning of the round, and once they’ve completed it a table of judges will decide who moves on to the next round. 

The competing designers will work while hooked up to a projector so the judges and audience can observe the process in real time. 

Tom Bates is the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) club president, who, along with other members of the group, has been curating the event’s brand and identity.

“It became a project where the upperclassmen were teaching the younger students how to complete a project like this,” he said. “Our team made it into more of a sporting event to bring some excitement to the School of Design.” 

The initial competition was supposed to be April 11, but because  the April blizzard caused campus closures, the tournament is now set to happen from 6 to 9 p.m., April 25 in the Volstorff Ballroom.

This will be the third annual Design Jam at South Dakota State. For the past two years, UPC has taken full responsibility of hosting the event, but this year they decided not to — though the organization still helped sponsor it. Bates and the rest of the AIGA club decided it would be a great opportunity to get involved with the event. 

“Since the AIGA student group is all about design, it made sense to adopt Design Jam,” Bates said. 

The competitors range from freshmen to seniors within the graphic design major, and the last designer standing wins. 

“We wanted it to be a fun event where students can flex some design muscles,” Bates said. “Or it can be a learning event for younger students who watch.” 

The winner is awarded a trophy when they become the Design Jam Champion, and Bates said they invite winners back to defend their title the next year. 

Sophomore Sydney Berry won last year’s tournament, but since she switched from a graphic design major to a computer science one, she won’t be returning to the tournament to contest her crown. 

After the student portion of the tournament there will be a face-off between two SDSU graphic design instructors, Cable Hardin and Marisa TenBrink — the only two in the professional bracket. 

This year’s event is sponsored by the School of Design, BluePrint Design and Print Center, UPC and Johnson Design and Video. 

“Hopefully Design Jam is a hit and will be a tradition for the spring semester,” Bates said.