Kent State’s Creativity Shines Through at Akron ADDYs

Kent State University professionals and students came home from this year’s Akron ADDY Awards decorated in gold and silver. The Akron Chapter of the American Advertising Federation held its annual recognition for the region’s best creative work at the American Advertising Awards.

Kent State’s University Communications and Marketing took home three awards: One gold and two silver.

The gold ADDY was for the Kent State Football Rebrand. The credits for this project go to Bob Louis, executive director of creative services; Jason Zehner and Larry Langston, senior designers; Paul Silla, photographer; Jon Jivan and Dustin Lee, videographers; Matt Papatheodorou, marketing strategy director; Jody Kovolyan, project coordinator; VMS, printer; and RIOT Creative Imaging, printer.

Kent State University won a gold ADDY for the Kent State Football Rebrand.

A silver ADDY award was earned for Reverie: 2017 KSU Fashion Show Book. The credits for this project go to Bob Louis, executive director of creative services; Nick Moore, creative director; Jeff Florentine, senior graphic designer; Mr. Louis, designer; Dennis Roliff, photographer; Bob Christy, photographer; Ramona Stamm, associate director; Susan Menassa, senior editor; Liz Henry, director of marketing, strategy and research; and Oliver Printing, printer.

A second silver ADDY was awarded for the School of Art Viewbook. The credits for this project go to Bob Louis, executive director of creative services; Jason Zehner, senior graphic designer; Susan Menassa, senior editor; Phil Soencksen, writer; Liz Henry, director of marketing, strategy and research; and HKM Direct Market Communications, printer.

Kent State students received a Student Gold ADDY award and two silver ADDY awards.

Jason Zehner, senior graphic designer in the Office of Communications and Marketing and the vice-chair of the ADDY committee, is in charge of coordinating and preparing the annual award show.

Mr. Zehner says that students should not be afraid to put themselves out there.

“Too often, great work is shot down by overly self-critical students before a professional ever has a chance to see it,” says Mr. Zehner. “The small submission fee is nothing compared to the possibility of having an award-winning piece in your portfolio and résumé.”

Michelle Weissman, a 2017 graduate in photo illustration, won the Student Gold ADDY award for the Digitally Enhanced, Single category of Advertising.

“It felt great to be acknowledged for the time for the hard work I put into my photography,” says Ms. Weissman. “This image is actually inspired by dealing with anxiety and depression and what it often feels like inside one's mind, hence the title Inner Demons. Kent State taught me all of the design elements and photographic skills to create a photograph that goes above and beyond.”

Grace Harms, a senior visual communications design major, won a Student Silver ADDY award. Ms. Harms won for A Magazine’s 8th edition.

Ms. Harms was appreciative of her team of visual communication design students and Kent State for pushing her in her academics.

“Kent State’s visual communication design program has a strong print focus for graphic design, so I have had the opportunity to strengthen my typesetting and editorial skills through my courses,” says Ms. Harms. “This publication had a lot of voices and hands guiding it, so I am proud of the work we accomplished together.”

Jimmy Naples, a senior digital media production major, also won a Student Silver ADDY award for his work on a music video for Chil Rock Band. The song Something to Live For by Chil Rock Band is about how today’s society is caught up in technology, social media and the modern world.

“The award we won was a Silver Akron Addy for Best Cinematography,” says Mr. Naples. “I say we because my name is on it, but it wouldn’t be possible without my team. It was a very exciting experience, getting your name announced, seeing parts of your video on a massive screen and getting honored in front of a theater of people.

“It all comes down to hard work and pushing yourself beyond what you think you can do,” Mr. Naples adds.

Kent State professionals also received one gold and two silver ADDY awards. The professionals who won the awards were Dr. Obianuju Genevieve Aguolu, Glyphix and Kent Displays.

Dr. Aguolu, a graduate assistant instructor for the College of Public Health, won a silver ADDY award for her comic on HPV. The credits for this project go to Kelsey Damicone, illustrator; Larrie King, senior director and designer; and Dr. Aguolu, concept and story.

“It is important that people recognize the importance of the topic of HPV, HPV vaccination and the potential of using graphic medicine,” says Dr. Aguolu.

Dr. Aguolu made reference to her academic advisor and thought that the university was helpful for her.

“The university has definitely been very supportive from the beginning,” says Dr. Aguolu. “My academic adviser Dr. Melissa Zullo and dissertation committee - Dr. Tara Smith, Dr. Lynette Phillips, Dr. Vinay Cheruvu and Dr. Laurie Wagner encouraged me to move with the idea when I presented it to them.”

She credited Mr. Soencksen from University Communications and Marketing with helping create the project.

“He is a marketing writer with the university who helped me turn the story into a suitable format for a comic book,” she says. “These individuals were all very patient as we all worked through this innovative project.”

The Akron ADDYs saw the best of the Kent State community, showcasing their talents and skills.

To view the award-winning projects in the 2018 Akron ADDYs Winner’s Book, visit

POSTED: Friday, May 4, 2018 11:11 AM
UPDATED: Saturday, June 22, 2024 03:20 AM
Audra Gormley