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Department Of Design

Creative Innovation: Design Faculty Represented Among The Best in Their Field in Annual Graphis Awards

BYU Design Professors Reveal The Motivations And Inspirations Behind Their Esteemed Work

In a demonstration of excellence and artistic prowess, three distinguished faculty members from BYU’s Design Department were honored in the recent Graphis annual awards — David Habben, Linda Reynolds and Douglas Thomas. Graphis awards offer a worldwide stage to honor the best and most creative work in the visual communications industry.

Illustration Faculty David Habben. Photo Courtesy BYU Design Department.

David Habben

“3x3 Call for Entries” by David Habben.

Habben’s poster, “3x3 Call For Entries” received a silver award in its category. The poster was commissioned by Charles Hivey, art director for 3x3 Illustration Magazine. Habben explained that Hivey asked him to create a demonstration of a vision of forward thinking in the poster as an effort to encourage competition submissions.

“3x3 Call for Entries” depicts an artist on a journey. “Playing with the colors and composition allowed me to bring a vibrant and bold feeling to it in a way that I hope would reflect that forward-thinking concept,” he said.

Habben reflected on the positive and negative effects that inevitably arise when sharing artwork with the public, describing the process as a “double-edged sword.” He explained that there is always the possibility to be swayed into following trends instead of one’s personal style. On the other hand, putting their work out there can aid an artist in finding their true community and style. “I've been on both sides of that sword, but I feel that my work now is much more in line with my inner vision,” said Habben. “It wouldn’t be going in that direction if I wasn’t willing to share it with the world.”

When pursuing recognition, don’t let the desire for approval impede on personal motivation and revelation, said Habben. “Focus on exploring who you are and what your work is first, the recognition for it will come when it comes,” he said.

Linda Reynolds

“Sunny,” a poster by graphic design faculty Linda Reynolds and students, was commended with a silver award. “Sunny” features its very own custom typeface, “Pilf,” made entirely out of reclaimed plastic spatulas. In order to make the typeface, Reynolds and students found the forms and counter forms within the spatulas to design letters of the alphabet. The spatulas were cut using a bandsaw and later formally redrawn to achieve a more polished submission.

“Pilf was a project between me and students who have an interest in experimental type using alternative processes and materials as a way to push our creativity,” said Reynolds. She explained that receiving recognition from significant peer reviewed venues like Graphis is a way to acknowledge the success and direction of one’s work.

Reynolds also received an honorable mention for her poster “Smart Women Collect,” a promotional poster for a group of women who want to sell the interesting objects they have acquired over the years. “The juxtaposition of the pack rat as a quality collector is the concept,” said Reynolds.

Douglas Thomas

Graphic design faculty member Douglas Thomas received two silver awards in the 2024 Graphis Annuals, one for his poster “Glory to Ukraine” and another for his album design, “Steven Ricks: Assemblage Collage.” “It is an honor to be featured alongside the best designers in the field,” he said.

“Glory to Ukraine” paints a symbol of hope for the Ukrainian people and honors their courage. “The country’s motto is ‘Glory to Ukraine’ which is often followed by the rejoinder ‘Glory to the Heroes’ in honor of the fallen,” said Thomas. He explained that the war in Ukraine demonstrated the resilience and bravery of the Ukrainian people in the face of death and destruction.

“I wanted to use symbols that reflected the hope for the future of Ukraine, such as the national flower [the sunflower] to signify an outgrowth and the death of Russian foes,” Thomas said. “In February 2022, a Ukrainian woman was quoted as telling Russian soldiers to fill their pockets with seeds, so sunflowers grow when they die.”

“Steven Ricks: Assemblage Collage” was created for BYU Music Professor Steven Ricks’ musical composition, described by Thomas as a “post-modern reinvention and homage to the musical Baroque.” Ricks is known for experimentation, theoretical engagement and captivating sound. He requested a cover that embodied both his electronic and baroque sound.

Thomas considers publishing his work essential to being a graphic designer. “I always want to create work that resonates with people and make something that my professional peers deem to move the field of graphic design forward and that reaches a high professional standard,” he said. “My style develops in dialog with those audiences and my own evolving taste and talent.”