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AU Hosts Digital Design Competition

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SOC digital design awards
Photo by Lindsay Maizland

The Society for News Design, with help from host and School of Communication professor Lynne Perri, brought its 15th annual Best of Digital Design competition to American University this weekend. 

Judges from the Washington Post, the New York Times, Vox, NPR, the Wall Street Journal and more, converged at SOC's McKinley building to select the most preeminent examples of digital design from around the world, looking at interactive graphics, photo packages, typography and the integration of video and audio in storytelling.

Judges sorted through more than 800 entries and had the option to issue an Award of Excellence, Silver and Gold Medals, or World's Best. Fine margins separated these awards, leading to nuanced discussions on the contemporary state of design and how journalists can push boundaries given the challenges and complexities of visual presentations online.

As a student volunteer for this event, I was thoroughly impressed by the range of entries as well as the judges themselves. It was a unique experience to be surrounded by so many professionals, all of whom have a pulse on the industry and an expert eye for design.

I found myself sitting on the peripheral for most of the event, simply absorbing the wisdom being passed around SOC's Media Innovation Lab. After sitting in on several award discussions and a conversation deciding which media organizations have the best daily email newsletter (The Marshall Project, Quartz), I had the opportunity to speak with Brian Boyer from NPR and Matt Mansfield from CQ Roll Call. Both were full of insights into what it takes to carry strong design components across the entirety of a company or organization’s digital presence. 

Leaving this event, I felt inspired to further pursue my interest in design and to start challenging myself creatively in all journalistic endeavors. I will undoubtedly apply the knowledge I learned this weekend from the industry’s best in the following years with student media at American University, my internships, and SOC courses.