Graphic design student achieves excellence and wins National Silver Student ADDY

Gartner’s award-winning work showcased at the Reagan National Airport Gallery Walk. All have won American Advertising Federation Awards, but his National Silver Student ADDY was for the Mug Hard Root Beer packaging project, which is located in the upper right of the photo.

This summer when Radford University senior graphic design student Paul Gartner found out he won a National Silver Student ADDY in the annual American Advertising Federation’s competition, he was calm and introspective.

He seemed more thoughtful about Brexit than the prestige of this lofty award. But then again, Gartner’s ability to focus his attention on one thing, to an almost obsessive level of detail, is the quality that helped him win the ADDY.

Gartner’s entry, Mug Hard Root Beer, originally created for the Packaging Design class, won in the packaging category.

“To take a vintage look and outdo what other companies do, to take something to its logical extreme – you don’t get more old fashioned or 19th century than having a corked bottle,” Gartner said about his winning design.

Graphically the package shows an English Bulldog smoking a pipe. According to his research for the project, he discovered that dogs smoking pipes was a regular motif in the 1800s. He believes it was their version of a meme.

His design also involved more than just graphics. There was the root beer label, the bottle holder, caps, a case box, and wrapping for each bottle. He crafted, printed, and built all of these.

“What really sets Paul’s design apart is the level of detail and polish throughout,” said Jim Woods, who teaches the Packaging Design class for which Paul created his root beer design, “The mock-up was printed professionally, no dummy text was used, and even the barcodes were properly done. It is a great design, executed flawlessly.”

It is this ideal that has helped the Radford University graphic design program to develop a reputation for excellence. The university has a history of winning ADDYs. This past year the university won 11 at the regional event. To help continue in this vein and allow the potential for more students to win at the National level like Gartner, the graphic design program is hosting the Annual Student Graphic Design Show and Alumni Meet-and-Greet pop-up art exhibition Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, from 5-7 p.m., at Sharkey’s On Top in Radford. Any Radford graphic design alumni attending can help judge the show. The winners will move on the regional AAF awards.

To fund this, graphic design alumni are requested to donate $20 each to sponsor one ADDY award. And Addy sponsorships are not limited to just alumni. To contribute, please visit

To learn more about the graphic design program, visit the Department of Art website.




Dec 8, 2016