2020 Portfolio Day Scholarship Awards

We at AIGA Cincinnati are so excited to present this year’s Portfolio Day Scholarship Award winners! In case you missed it, Portfolio Day took place virtually on Saturday April, 18th. Thanks to Zoom, were able to bring together recruiters, professional designers, and art directors to review the portfolios of the emerging designers (those with 0-3 years of experience) in our community.

Prior to the event, graduating seniors were given a special opportunity to submit 10-15 pieces of their best work to be reviewed by our selection committee for the chance to have their portfolio selected as one of our top 3 award winners. Each submission was carefully reviewed by the members of our scholarship committee, and were judged based on overall aesthetic, layout, technical skills, pacing of projects, and proper use of ideation methods.

We received quite a few impressive portfolios this year, so thank you to all of the designers who submitted their work! Check back here the rest of the week as we reveal each winner.

First Place

Sam Robbins, Ball State University

Sam is a class of 2020 graduate from Ball State University with a BFA in Visual Communication, and she is a member of AIGA Indianapolis!

Personal Statement:

“Among many things, I am passionate about design for social good. In my portfolio, EVERYBEAN Café, Rinard Orchid Greenhouse and Party Smarty are examples of this. I have earned the Hoosier Leadership Memorial Scholarship in 2017 and 2019 for my leadership roles (in design and beyond) and work in substance abuse prevention. My strategy is to unite simplicity, thoughtfulness and playfulness in my work.”

Post-grad plans:

“I ultimately want to work in design for social good. Using purposeful creation to impact communities is powerful and fulfilling to me. I love working on a team so I’m pursuing work in an agency setting. I would love to eventually grow into a design leadership position, as well as open a coffee shop that impacts local home and food insecurity.”

Sam’s work

Our scholarship awards committee was very impressed with Sam’s portfolio and believed that her work showed a high-level of skill as an EMERGING designer! We felt that her pieces were concise, thoughtful, fun and had many aesthetically pleasing aspects. Our team really felt that Sam’s personality shined through each piece of work. One of our favorite projects was this brand identity concept: EVERYBEAN Cafe. A cafe with a philanthropic business model that encourages conversation between community members. And her Whitely Community redesign that was created in during her time as team lead in Studio 165+, a national award-winning, student-led design agency. To see more of Sam’s work, check out her website!


Second Place

Zoey Buck, Ball State University

Zoey Buck graduated with the class of 2020 with a  BFA in Visual Communication. She is a member of AIGA Indianapolis and she was the president of Ball State’s student AIGA chapter!

Personal Statement:

“My work primarily focuses on building effective brands for businesses and successful digital spaces for the user. Throughout my career, I have worked independently as well as on teams of 20+ people for a range of clients including local and national organizations, small businesses, universities, and large corporations.

When I am outside of the digital realm, I enjoy long walks through bear country and tending to my 27 houseplants.”

Post-grad plans:

“Currently, I am working as a freelance designer, but I am pursuing a full-time position in either branding or UI/UX design.”

Zoey’s work

Our team thought that Zoey’s projects were great and very well put together. We loved seeing her use of color throughout all of her projects, and we found the boldness of her personal branding refreshing. We thought her projects are presented in a clear and concise way and that they represent some really original ideas! Some of our favorite projects are her Northern Tropics redesign and her capstone project Bytable: a company that allows people to track their environmental impact through meals, while also providing them with education on the sustainability of their food. To see more of Sam’s work, check out her website!


Third Place

Elizabeth Weiler, University of Dayton

Elizabeth Weiler graduated with the class of 2020 with an Honors BFA in Graphic Design and Minors in Marketing, Photography, and Art History, and she is also an AIGA Cincinnati member!

Personal Statement:

“When I was growing up, all I wanted to be was one of those people who visually and creatively had an effect on the people and the world around me. This has continued to be my passion and goal throughout all of my life, and has had a monumental influence on my personal brand. The reason I design is to be a catalyst for change. I truly believe that art & design has the power to shape the world.”

Post-grad plans:

“This summer I will begin my first full-time role at a company called Crane Pumps & Systems. I will be an in-house Multimedia designer. I am really interested in pursuing freelance work, specifically in branding, packaging, and sports design. One of my long-term goals is to freelance full-time. I am looking forward to this next chapter in my career, and I am excited about the challenges ahead.”

Elizabeth’s work

We thought that Elizabeth showed a great skill level in her work! Her pieces were thoughtful, well executed, and were very aesthetically pleasing. Overall, our scholarship awards committee really enjoyed all of Elizabeth’s work, but we especially loved her brand identity and packaging work for GroMetric—a planter that tracks the health, development, and history of a plant. And we also thought that the work she did for UD Athletics was exceptional (Go Flyers!). To see more of Elizabeth’s work, check out her website!

By Ashton Spann
Published May 19, 2020
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