Ben Grace’s graphic design work at Avila University has earned him top honors at the 2016 ADDY Awards, the world’s largest advertising competition. His campaign for The Canine Royale, took the prize for Local Best in Show. Grace then turned heads at the Kansas City based brand experience firm, Blacktop Creative. “I began an internship at Blacktop and I did my best to network and contribute to the business,” Grace said. “I worked 35 hours a week while being enrolled in 18 hours at Avila. But it paid off.”
Grace was talented enough to win the student ADDY, along with Lexi Chadbourne, also an Avila design student. The two were the only Kansas City area students to win national awards.
“What makes Ben a great designer is his ability to combine conceptual thinking with artistic skill,” said Eric Winter, MFA graphic design professor and chair of the Art+Design Department at Avila. “Lexi also has a unique perspective and defined style that really makes her work stand out. I’m excited to see what the future holds for these two talented individuals. Each time Avila has awards success, it reinforces the knowledge that our students are doing great work.”
Although Grace chose Avila for its convenient location and the chance to network with local graphic design professionals, he found the school to be much more than he anticipated. “I attended Avila for just two years, but quickly found the university to be helping me along the right track to maximize my time as a student. Avila was incredibly helpful in my career development and ultimately the catalyst that gave me the ability to get a job after graduation.”
He was asked to join Blacktop full time as a brand artist and now works on several accounts including Applebee’s and Meritage Homes.
Students of the Visual Communications (VisCom) program at Avila focus on broad campaign oriented projects. Grace used the student projects to bolster his portfolio. “Creative Directors and potential employers enjoyed seeing my ideas and design executions, and how I stretched out across multiple mediums.
“My biggest take-away from Avila has to be with regard to desire. If you want something bad enough, you can do it. For me, caring and taking pride in what I do helped me to achieve my goals.”