Design Students Dominate 2023 BHM ADDYs


by Buffy Lockette

JSU art and design students continue to dominate the annual student ADDY Awards organized by the Birmingham Advertising Federation – winning 13 of 15 awards in 2023.

The American Advertising Awards competition, home of the ADDY, is the advertising industry's largest and most representative competition, attracting more than 40,000 entries nationally. Each year, graphic design students across north and central Alabama submit their strongest design work to Birmingham Ad Fed for consideration.

"We are proud of our students who continue to win awards for their art and design on the regional, national and international stage," said Bryce Lafferty, interim head of the Department of Art and Design. "A special thanks goes to our graphic design faculty - Jamie Runnells, Chad Anderson, Christian Dunn and Seth Johnson - for creating an environment where our students compete, succeed and thrive. I am personally so very impressed by Conner, Riley, Tara, Alden and Caycie's design work and proud to have them represent JSU and the Department of Art and Design."  

Conner Gayda, who is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts, was presented the Judges Special Award - which is traditionally given to professional designers. He also won Best in Show among students. The multi-disciplinary designer focuses on visual identity design, typography, UI/UX and motion. Originally from Tyrone, Ga., he earned a BFA in graphic design from Samford University in 2021 before enrolling in graduate school at JSU. 

"This summer, I'm working at the award-winning design studio, Tatum Design in Birmingham," Gadya said. "Despite the studio's small operating size of eight people, Tatum's work has been recognized internationally through design publications like Communication Arts, PRINT Magazine, Graphis, and the American Advertising Awards. I'm excited to be there over the summer and have the oppurtunity to work with some of my design heroes."

Below is a complete list of JSU ADDY winners. Bronze, Silver and Gold awards are presented in each category, at both the student and professional level. Silver and Gold honorees are eligible to compete in the regional ADDYs, and if awarded there, continue on to national competition. 

Judges Special Award 

Conner Gayda - Waverly Font Design
Category: Elements of Advertising, Typeface Design
Best of Show: Students
Conner Gayda - APEX Graphics Package
Category: Elements of Advertising, Film, Video and Sound Animation or Special Effects
Conner Gayda - Waverly Font Design
Category: Elements of Advertising, Typeface Design
Gold Awards:

Conner Gayda - Satchel Font
Category: Typeface Design
Conner Gayda - Waverly Font Design
Category: Typeface Design
Tara Holbrooks - Stay Fresh - Infographic - Products
Category: Illustration - Campaign
Conner Gayda - APEX Graphics Package
Category: Animation or Special Effects
Silver Awards:
Riley Abston - The Sign of The Four Book Design
Category: Book Design
Tara Holbrooks - Sweet - Recipe & Baking App
Category: App (Mobile or Web-Based)
Alden Guinn - Coffee Bud Tap & Go Kiosk
Category: App (Mobile or Web-Based)
Alden Guinn - Coffee Bud
Category: Logo Design
Alden Guinn - The Marching Southerners
Category: Logo Design
Tara Holbrooks - Bookmark Publishing Co.
Category: Illustration/Campaign
Caycie Trotter - Moonberry Farms
Category: Campaign
See all the honorees in the ADDY Winner Book.

Some of the Winning Work:

(Clicking the thumbnails below will showcase more of the winning artwork)

Conner Gayda

Sample of Conner Gayda's winning Satchel font sample of Conner Gayda's winning watery font

Apex logo

Riley Abston

Riley Abston's winning book cover

Tara Holbrooks

Tara Holbrooks' winning Sweet logo Tara Holbrooks' winning cover for the Great Gatsby

Tara holbrooks' winning Stay Fresh campaign brochure 

Caycie Trotter

Caycie Trotter's Prize winning MoonBerry Logo