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Justin Alcala

This year marks the sixth consecutive year that a student from the University of Kentucky Department of Integrated Strategic Communication in the College of Communication and Information brought home top honors in the logo design competition for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Conference.

Recent ISC graduate Justin Alcala’s design garnered the first-place score in this year’s competition. His logo, which features New Orleans’s distinctive fleur-de-lis, will be the primary brand identity for the 2021 annual conference in that city. Alcala will also receive a $100 cash award.

AEJMC’s annual logo contest, sponsored and judged by that organization’s Visual Communication Division, is a national competition for original student graphic designs. Winners' logos appear on all print and web promotional materials for the conference.

“I would not have been able to create an award-winning logo without the help of [ISC Professor Adriane] Grumbein,” Alcala said. “She always drove us to keep researching, sketching and brainstorming. It pushed me to create a polished logo that ... incorporated the history and culture of New Orleans.”

Grumbein, who has led multiple students to victory in the logo competition, described the joy of watching their work rewarded. “Every time I see one of my students' logos show up on an email, mailer or website representing the AEJMC annual conference, my heart does a happy dance," she said. "I know that behind each winning logo is a student who has worked tirelessly to research, conceptualize, create and refine a design solution."

Asked to speculate why ISC students have historically dominated the AEJMC contest, ISC Department Chair Chike Anyaegbunam called their success “a testament to the caliber of education they receive from the department."

“Our faculty don’t just teach our students the principles and fundamentals of the discipline,” Anyaegbunam added. “They also provide the students with opportunities to practice the art and craft of ISC with real world clients and organizations.”

AEJMC is a nonprofit educational organization for educators, students and professionals in journalism and mass media. Its mission is to promote the highest standards for journalism and mass communication education, foster communication research, encourage multiculturalism in the classroom, and defend and maintain freedom of communication. The VisCom Division was created in 1982 and seeks to recognize exceptional creativity and visual communication research.

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