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Graphic design sophomore wins international poster competition in Berlin

Alexis Arra is a sophomore in Graphic Design.
April 16, 2015

Alexis Arra, sophomore in the graphic design program at Penn State, has won the Betreff Gentner Prize at the 2015 “Water is Life” International Student Poster Competition in Berlin. Arra received a 1,500 Euro prize for her design. There were over 4,800 entries from 81 countries and only five prizes awarded in total.

“It is a humbling experience to have been recognized in an international graphic design poster competition as a second-year graphic design student,” said Arra, who entered the competition as part of a class, Graphic Design 200, taught by Fang Chen.

“My concept developed as a result of the research of water impact in third world countries, where water is a much more precious and scarce resource. I then compared our treatment of water to those countries’ treatment and found a strikingly apparent difference. The color palette I chose came from traditional African colors representing those who I found in my research that went to extreme lengths just to get clean water. The texture added a level of complexity that represented the tangibility of the issue of clean water,” explained Arra.

Chen said he has seen many excellent poster designs on the topic of water, so it can be difficult to create something unique. “How to avoid clichés in this design for any designer is undoubtedly a huge challenge,” noted Chen. “[Alexis] utilized the contrast method -- which I have been emphasizing in my classes -- to create a strong and sharp poster, which expresses complicated and profound meanings in a simple way.”

Arra, originally from Media, Pennsylvania, always knew that she wanted to attend Penn State.

“I chose Penn State because it has been my dream school ever since I was little. After hearing about my uncle Billy's experience with Penn State and seeing all that he accomplished after college, I knew that I wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a Nittany Lion.” -- Alexis Arra, sophomore in the graphic design program at Penn State

“I chose Penn State because it has been my dream school ever since I was little. After hearing about my uncle Billy's experience with Penn State and seeing all that he accomplished after college, I knew that I wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a Nittany Lion.”

Arra has already accomplished quite a feat, beating out graphic design students across the world, many with more experience. Chen said he has watched her skills develop over the course of two semesters in his class, noticing “great strides of improvement in her work and her willingness to learn and grow as a designer.”

Arra said her graphic design instructors have pushed her to reach her full potential as a designer. “They have always made sure that I stay on top of my work and succeed in the classroom,” she added. “This award has definitely made me work even harder to achieve my goal as a designer. I am more confident in my design work and feel that I have the skills I need to develop into the designer I aspire to be.”

For more information about Water is Life, visit the website:http://www.posterart-2-waterislife.com/index.html

To see the winning entries, visit the website:http://www.posterpage.ch/winners/wate_15/wate_15.htm

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