Art Directors Club of Denver
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The Brief


The Brief, Coming November 2017

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The Brief is a student design competition simulating a late night at a creative agency. A design brief is developed for our beneficiary client, a non-profit organization. Intercollegiate teams of 4-5 students (a Senior, Juniors and a Sophomore or Freshman) are directed by senior creatives from the local design and advertising community through three hours of pencil and paper concepting and digital execution culminating in a client presentation. The director of our non-profit client will subsequently have the opportunity to implement the generated campaign roughs or finished collateral for future advertising in collaboration with the winning students. Each team will have minimum one laptop (which not required to participate) but the focus will be on traditional concepting – thumbnail-sketches and mind-maps followed by digital roughs. In addition to receiving valuable real world experience, networking opportunities with local Professionals and with each other, student winners will receive scholarship money.

The Brief is open to Design and Advertising students at all levels. Each team will have minimum one laptop (not required to participate) but the focus will be on traditional concepting – thumbnail-sketches and mind-maps followed by digital roughs. In addition to receiving valuable real world experience, and networking opportunities with local Professionals and with each other, student winners will receive scholarship money.


Photography by Lidia Brannan

The 2016 Brief Winners

First Place
Caleb Reetz, Front Range Community College
Joshua Solomon, University of Northern Colorado
Aaron Richardson, University of Northern Colorado
Alex Van Rikxoord, University of Northern Colorado
Amarie Stocker, University of Northern Colorado
Mentor: Andrew Baker, Creative Technology Director, Cactus

Special Thanks to the following:

Our Host – Fear Not agency
Our Client – Damon McLeese and the VSA Colorado/Access Gallery
Our Event Photographer – Lidia Brannan Photography
Our Team Leaders –
Andrew Baker, Creative Technology Director, Cactus
Chelsea Anderson, Art Director, Amelie
Garrett Beach, Art Director, Karsh/Hagan
Blake Ebel, Creative Director, Fear Not
Greg Gladeau, Independent Art Director


The 2015 Brief Winners

First Place
Yvette Serrano, Metropolitan State University
Felicia Stitt, University of Northern Colorado
Franz Quinones, Aims Community College
Alex Davis, Arapahoe Community College
Mentor: Amanda Villalobos, Independent Art Director

The Creative Brief for the Special People Special Needs Foundation called for students to concept a new tagline to clearly and concisely represent the vision of the organization. After a night of fast paced ideation, our client was blown away by the quality of each teams ideas. It was a hard decision in the end, however, the winning tagline truly represents the core of the brand and celebrates the one thing we all share in common, the human spirit.

The Winning Concept:
Going beyond first glance.

Special thanks to Pilgrim for hosting this event in their really cool space. The night went perfectly.

Thank you to our client, Special People Special Needs, and thank you to our Creative/Art Directors:

Andy Mason – Art Director, Pilgrim
Karl Peters – Creative Director, Brandsavvy
Ben Dybas – Creative Director, Bearings Branding
Amanda Villalobos – Independent Art Director
Greg Gladeau – Independent Art Director

The 2014 Brief Winners

First place
Nick Clement, Boulder Digital Works
Kyle Muhr, Arapahoe Community College
Alia Munger, Boulder Digital Works
Kristen Williams, Colorado State University – Pueblo
Mentor: Norm Shearer, Cactus

The Creative Brief for Purple Door Coffee called for students to create a campaign to increase awareness and sales of bulk coffee purchases, direct to businesses. These sales will fund the purchase of a coffee roaster and increase the job opportunities Purple Door Coffee can provide to Denver’s homeless youth.

The Winning Concept:
“Purple Door Box” – Businesses can become part of the success story of Purple Door Coffee’s mission of helping homeless youth by obtaining a specially designed Purple Door Coffee Box. Each box contains a sample of Purple Door’s “Royalty Blend” coffee, a purple branded coffee mug, and a unique success story of a young employee assisted by the job training that Purple Door Coffee offers. Simply purchasing Purple Door Coffee helps Denver’s homeless youth gain life-changing careers.

Special thanks to Cactus to hosting The Brief as well as our professional mentors for leading the teams through The Brief: Michael Maciolek, Cactus; Claire Gipson, Cactus; Norm Shearer, Cactus, Josh Jevons, Cactus; and Shanna McNear, The Integer Group.

The 2013 Brief Winners

First place
Brooke Reints, University of Wyoming
Chinda Sam, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
Kristen Nielsen, University of Wyoming
Melanie Poston, University of Northern Colorado
Stephen Cox, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Mentor: Randall Erkelens, Philosophy Communication

The Winning Team’s Concept:
The competition was fierce, but it was all in effort to support AfricAid’s the Kisa Project, which provides educational sponsorship to girls in Tanzania. Congratulations to the winning student team for their concept of “Penny for Her Thoughts,” where local shoppers are encouraged to round up their totals in support of the Kisa Project.

Special thanks to Southern Supply Creative Labs, Dean Bacalzo, Jose Barrientos, Garrett Beach, Randall Erkelens, and Katie Matteo for their team mentorship and support. Follow us on Instagram to check out photos of the night @adcdgraffiti!!

The 2012 Brief Winners

First place
Tim White, MSU Denver
Scott Kretzmann, RMCAD
Lauren Kay Prather, University of Wyoming
Jodie Wyatt, UNC

The Winning Team’s Concept:
Face2Face puts a face to the issue while letting the community and potential donors connect with the individuals in need of assistance in a way that is tougher to ignore. The kickoff event will be several intellectually disabled adults and volunteers from Mission Supports wrapping gifts for shoppers on the 16th Street Mall on Black Friday. This event would be supplemented with online social media channels, physical flyers along the 16th Street Mall and in stores, and press releases. Each gift wrapped item would include a gift tag including a spot for the wrapper to sign their name to add the personal touch, as well as information about what Mission Supports does, who it helps, and donation information. The gift tag is meant to be a secondary point of contact with the gift receiver and strike up a conversation between the gift giver and receiver about Mission Supports and their cause. Additional events throughout the year would also be planned to continue the Face2Face campaign.

A big congrats to the wining team! Also a big thanks to TDA Boulder for providing the space for the event. Also a big thanks to Karsh Hagan for everything. Last, thank you to all the students and mentors who participated and helped contribute to making this year’s Brief a success.

The 2011 Brief Winners

First place – “The Green Arrow Team”
Shannon Axelson, Metro State
Yuki Iwai, Metro State
Dan Wiseman, University of Wyoming
Patrick Owen, University of Wyoming
Brianna Hammer, Colorado Mesa University
Mentor: Jose Barrientos, Art director, Heinrich and Hispanidad

A design brief was developed by Mike Sukle, Creative Director and Principal at Sukle, for our beneficiary client, The Center for Visual Arts a non-profit exhibition space and interactive art laboratory for Metro State students and the larger community.

The 2010 Brief Winners

First place – “Fill the Frame”
Andrew Castillo, Paul Babbel, Nikole Bigley, Jose Barrientos, John Lindmark, Kira Slaght, Daniel Wilber (not pictured) Margot Mcfaul, Shannon Middleton, Caylon Headrick, Danielle Alvarado
Mentor: Randall Erkelens, Creative Director, Section 45/Philosophy

Runner Up – “Connect the Dots”
Sam Vogel, Jennifer Johnson, Melissa Kelly, Danielle Speager, Jamie Sieb, Alana Sullivan
Mentor: Mike Herberger, Creative Director, Monigle Associates

Runner Up – “Tie-ing”
Courtney Conrad, Stephanie Corder, Corey Doney, Retta Draper, David Bourassa
Mentor: Jarrod Weaton, Sr. Art Director and Freelance Digital Artist

Congratulations to everyone to participated! If you would like to see more pictures from the event, please visit our Flickr page.

The 2008 Brief

Denver Egotist: A creative brief (written by Factory Design Labs’ Steve Whittier and Stella Yu of Arts Street) was presented to teams of 4 students and 1 CD or AD. The teams were given a limited time to concept and design the next fundraiser for Arts Street.

The team headed by Extra Strength’s Steve Koloskus came up with the winning idea that evening which you may have seen revealing itself over the last several days in Denver. With Art for Ransom, public art pieces across the city have been covered with black plastic, wrapped with yellow caution tape and feature the URL of the organization. During an event at Redline on September 12, the art that’s been held for ransom will be gradually revealed as donations to the organization come in from gallery show attendees. Denver’s art; Wrapped for Ransom
Art in Downtown Denver has drawn the attention to many for its unsightly appearance. Sculptures in front of the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building, the main Denver Public Library, as well as one sculpture in Civic Center Park have been covered with black plastic and wrapped with yellow caution tape.

Some may pass thinking there is work being done to them, others may think they were vandalized. Both could not be further from the truth. This art has been wrapped to do what it’s doing, get you talking, and make you think about the art underneath the wrap.

The project is called Art for Ransom. A project developed at the student design competition put on by the Art Directors Club of Denver. Art for Ransom is a fundraiser benefiting Arts Street and Redline, two nonprofit groups in Denver.

“It’s really a great way for people to understand that public art and all art in the city comes at a cost, and like non-profits that support the arts are struggling in these difficult times,” said Erin Trapp, director of the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs.

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