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VCC graphic design student wins prestigious national student design award

Posted on October 19, 2022

RGD winning student poster

Congratulations to Vancouver Community College (VCC) Graphic Design diploma student Samantha Tam on winning a 2022 Student Award from the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD).

The RGD is the largest graphic design association in Canada and over 800 entries were received for this year’s awards.

Sam's winning entry for the Zulu Alpha Kilo Award for Advertising Design was a poster campaign called "Can You Taste The Waste". The campaign is intended to educate the people of Metro Vancouver on the growing concerns regarding microplastics found in our food and water. Sam worked under the supervision of Janet McDonald, instructor of the Advertising and Art Direction course where she created her winning design.

“When I was researching the harmful effects of microplastics, I learned that we all eat, drink, and breathe in microplastics every single day,” says Sam. “I wanted to come up with a clever way to help my audience visualize the plastic we eat.” 

Graphic design student Sam Tam
VCC graphic design student, Samatha Tam.

“Conducting a small beach cleanup with my friends, something I like to do every few months, I collected pieces of plastic I found to create structures that resembled food,” adds Sam. By creating a taco filled with styrofoam and bread tags, a takeout box of shredded plastic noodles, and an egg created from plastic bags and a yellow bottle cap, Sam provokes the audience to think about how we consume and dispose of microplastics in our daily lives.

The campaign proposes applying the design to TransLink’s advertising platforms including bus stops and Skytrain station panels in high traffic areas. To spark curiosity and create a sense of urgency, the campaign uses vibrant colours, strong typography, and a catchy name.

“I came up with the headline "Can You Taste the Waste?" to ask the audience a question that grabs their attention,” says Sam.

RGD winning student poster
Sam's eye-catching campaign used a catchy name and strong use of design principles. 

What’s next for this budding graphic design superstar? She is currently doing her practicum with boutique design agency Pixsoul Media and will graduate with her Diploma in Graphic Design in November.

After she completes her practicum, Sam shares “I know I want to be doing something creative, whether it's growing my small art business or working as a designer for a big company. I'm not sure where the future will take me, but I hope to work with like-minded people to continue creating impactful design!”

Congratulations Sam, we are so proud of you!

Are you an aspiring designer? Learn more about VCC’s Graphic Design diploma program. The next program starts in September.