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Graphic design professor’s work recognized in international design competition

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Media Contact: Elizabeth Gosney | CAS Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-7497 |

Oklahoma State University graphic design professor Nick Mendoza had his work selected in the 365: AIGA Year in Design competition in December.  

The piece, titled “OSU Design Lecture 2021,” was originally created as a poster to promote visiting designer Mike Daines’ guest lecture in April 2021. Elements of the design promoted clients Daines has worked with and offered a visual journey to learn the details of the event.  

“I am honored to have one of my designs selected in an international competition,” Mendoza said. “As a design educator, I am humbled to know that my work is shown next to big time design studios with big time budgets; I created my design with paper, scissors and a marker.”

Mendoza's winning poster
Mendoza's winning piece

Dating back to 1924, the 365: AIGA Year in Design competition serves as a platform for designers, design teams and their clients to share design solutions for business and organizational challenges. This year, 466 entries were submitted from around the globe. Mendoza’s work is one of just 51 winning pieces.  

“Having your work awarded from AIGA, especially winning the 365: AIGA Year in Design competition, means your work competes with other design works from renowned designers and studios,” said Ting Wang-Hedges, OSU assistant professor of graphic design. “So, it is a laudable recognition and I applaud this success.” 

Although many might think of graphic design as a discipline relegated to computers and software, Mendoza took a different approach. His winning piece was created almost entirely by hand, earning praise from competition juror Clement Mok.  

“[It’s] an ode to hand-drawn letters,” Mok said. “Wonderfully old-school, yet it feels very contemporary and personal. The letter scrawls are meticulously planned for legibility. Job well done.”  

In the classroom, Mendoza teaches typography, which is the art and study of arranging type to convey a message and make language legible. Typography is what makes street signs stand out from far distances or textbooks packed with words easy to follow.  

“Nick’s keen understanding of typography and its nuance on one hand and his passion for teaching on the other has been a great influence on our students,” said Pouya Jahanshahi, OSU associate professor of graphic design. “These are reflected in how he guides his students to mobilize principles of layout, composition, psychology and communication to produce powerful artifacts of graphic design — whether the outcome is a poster, book cover or comprehensive branding campaign.”

Story By: Erin Milek, CAS Communications Coordinator |

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