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2010 Design Derby | Sussex County Community College | Saturday, November 6, 2010 | 9:30am-4pm | Facutly Forum 11am
MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY DESIGN TEAM WINS THE 2010 ADCNJ DESIGN DERBY: (from left to right) Charles Leenstra, Carlos Norat, Amy Serafin, Erik Nowicki, Andrea Kramer (the client), Jessica Mollica, Lusine Katrjyan, and Rupalvyas pose with the logo design created by this student team from Montclair State University for the New Jersey Arts Collaborative at the 2010 ADCNJ Design Derby. [Photo by Susan Pedersen]

ADCNJ Design Derby Sparks Creative Ideas
Design Students Learn by Competing in the ADCNJ Design Derby

Each year the Art Directors Club of New Jersey (ADCNJ) organizes a statewide competition that is open to all design students enrolled at New Jersey colleges and universities.

Hosted by Sussex County Community College in Newton, New Jersey, on November 6th, the 2010 ADCNJ Design Derby welcomed a total of 106 students who formed 16 teams for an intensive competition of creative minds. Student teams participated from The College of New Jersey, County College of Morris, Kean University, Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College, Rutgers University—Newark, Stockton College,  and Sussex County Community College. See the gallery of photos from the event here.

This year the challenge for these student teams was to design a new logo and brochure for an organization called New Jersey Arts Collaborative, which served as the client for this competition. Founded in 2002, this organization seeks to support, promote, and unite artists – including those who have a passion for painting, music, dance, and theater – living in New Jersey. For more information, visit

Following a 3-hour work session using paper and markers, each team presented their designs for peer review and judging by the leadership of the New Jersey Arts Collaborative.  A team from Montclair State University was selected as creating the top conceptual design for New Jersey Arts Collaborative, and a team from Ramapo College received recognition for the best presentation.

“The creative energy and talent of these design teams are unbelievable,” said Andrea Kramer, founder of the New Jersey Arts Collaborative. “Everyone had something in their presentation that we liked,” added Deborah Cutler, who also works with this organization and participated in the judging process.

“We did it again,” stated ADCNJ Education Council Member Nikki Pedersen, who created the ADCNJ Design Derby and has served a leadership role for all 16 ADCNJ Design Derby competitions to date. “The client was really thrilled to be here. They knew what they wanted and got what they wanted.”

“As Chair of the ADCNJ Education Council and a first-time attendee of the ADCNJ Design Derby, I would like to thank Sussex County Community College for hosting this event,” said Jon Weiman. “I also want to thank Smith Design for their generous sponsorship of this ADCNJ Design Derby and the ongoing work of ADCNJ Education Council.”

“As an educator, it was a revelation to witness the cohesion, synergy, teamwork, rapid conceptual thinking, and physical execution of the project, “added Jon. “The most astonishing aspect of the process was that we decided, toward the later part of the day, to cut the time short by a half hour, and all of the students not only took it in stride but welcomed the challenge of a shorter deadline. The client
was extremely impressed with the broad spectrum of approaches presented and chose their favorite in record time.”

“Smith Design is proud to support this design competition,” said James Smith, noting that Smith Design ( has grown over the past 30 years to become a well-known and respected package design firm. “This is one way for the ADCNJ to expose design students in New Jersey to the intense competition that exists in our industry. Gaining real-world experience in addressing the needs of clients can be a valuable learning opportunity as well as the key to survival as creative professionals.”

Special thanks to ADCNJ Members James Smith, Nikki Pedersen, Jon Weiman, Susan Pedersen, and faculty members who dedicated the entire day to making the 2010 ADCNJ Design Derby a productive learning experience for all participants!


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