Elizabeth Rose Thornton awarded 2019 AIGA Philadelphia Scholarship

AIGA Philadelphia is proud to announce the recipient of the 2019 AIGA Philadelphia Scholarship, Elizabeth Rose Thornton, a rising senior at Arcadia University majoring in graphic design.

The AIGA Philadelphia Scholarship has been established as an annual scholarship program that supports local Philadelphia-area graphic design students through the award of financial assistance to pursue their education. With this scholarship AIGA Philadelphia hopes to build upon the foundation of community evident in the Philadelphia Chapter to provide a young designer the opportunity to share their vision with the world. The recipient is chosen on the merits of their application and demonstration of need.

From our awardee, “I am so humbled and grateful beyond words that my financial burden has been alleviated because of the amazing community surrounding me. I hope that sharing my story with others will inspire designers and members to contribute to this fund in the future so that other students like me can benefit from this opportunity.”

Learn more about Liz below:

Would you like to share more about your family or personal story?

My childhood is a big part of who I am today, fueling me to create a future for myself that might inspire others. At a young age my dad passed away, leaving my mom and I to take on the world by ourselves. I could have easily let this life-altering moment set me back, but instead I used it as a starting point to do whatever it took to make my parents proud. I learned how to be grateful for all of the little things. How to be humble. How to become the empowered young woman I am today — who at such a young age learned how to brace herself for anything and everything. Losing my father taught me how to make the most of what I do have, and how to take what I’ve learned to influence others.

What are some of the challenges you faced when pursuing your education?

In pursing my education, I have always faced inner and outer challenges that have made me question my path and my purpose. I am a first-generation college student, and with that comes both pride and pressure. I constantly feel like I am receiving my degree not just for myself, but for my family who never got the opportunity to. I came into my first year at Arcadia University wide-eyed and feeling lost. I was Undeclared at the time, too scared to declare myself an art major, because I dreaded facing the judgement of my family, my friends, my peers. I couldn’t deny the doubts and the fear when it came to choosing the path for the rest of my life, but there was this little optimistic voice in the back of my head that simply wouldn’t shut up. It kept saying “Do it. Do what you love and what sparks your soul. Why should it matter what they say? This is your career, your life, and you should live it the way you were always meant to.” And so, one day I gave in. I declared my major as Graphic Design, with a minor in Creative Writing, and since then I’ve never looked back.

What inspires you about the field of Graphic Design?

Graphic Design speaks to my soul. I know this sounds incredibly cheesy, but it is something I am so passionate about even though others may take it for granted. Everything around you, in one shape or another, has been designed. Someone designed the chair you’re sitting on, the architectural layout of your home, the billboard outside your office window, and the LED screen interface that flashes every time you get a notification. In our world, creativity is constantly flowing.

Typography can sway the way you read and feel about everyday words. Packaging is so crucial when it comes to analyzing how we build relationships with objects. Branding language determines if a company can connect with their audiences, and make them feel like they’re in reliable hands. Web interfaces and experiences connect users from all over the world. I love how Graphic Design always challenges me to think bigger about my role in society, and how the art that I’m creating influences others. To me, Graphic Design stands to do just that. To make you believe, or see, or feel, or fear, and most of all, think.

What are your professional goals upon graduation?

After graduation, I hope, no matter what, to be successful. Not just financially, but personally, finding fulfillment in a job that I love. Doing something that makes me happy and always challenges me. I could see myself working in a design firm, becoming an entrepreneur, designing everything from book covers to brand identities to web interfaces. I would love to gain as much experience as I can post-graduation with the ultimate goal of becoming an educator so I can share with others what I have learned. I want to learn and grow as an artist and be a role model for kids like me who love design but don’t know where to start. I’m not exactly sure where I see myself after graduation but I can’t wait to start my career doing what I love most.

2019 Judges

Jennifer Cole Phillips
Director, Graphic Design MFA Program
Maryland Institute College of Art

Jennifer Cole Phillips is a designer, educator, and author. She is Director of the Graphic Design MFA Program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and operates a design practice specializing in visual identity and publication design. The heart of her work and teaching is a passion for design innovation and formal rigor. Her design work has received awards of excellence from Graphis, Print Magazine, The Art Director’s Clubs of New York and Metropolitan Washington, AIGA 50, and the Society of Typographic Arts 100 Show, among others. Professor Phillips earned her MFA and BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She is co-author (with Ellen Lupton), of Graphic Design The New Basics (Second Edition, 2015), and contributing author, art director, and mentor for several other titles published by Princeton Architectural Press. In 2014, she won the MICA Trustees Fellowship Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2016, she was awarded a Sappi Ideas That Matter Grant for a social design project partnership with Johns Hopkins University focusing on puberty education tools for inner city girls.

Allison Goodman
Professor, ArtCenter College of Design

Allison Goodman is a professor at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, CA where she teaches Graphic Design courses in both the Graphic Design and Product Design Departments. In addition to teaching, Allison sits on Advisory Board of ArtCenter’s Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT), and is a NASAD accreditation visitor.

Allison earned her BFA in Design at Carnegie-Mellon University and worked for both The Office of Richard Saul Wurman and Sussman/Prejza & Co. She later returned to school for her MFA in Graphic Design at ArtCenter. Her recent writing includes the HMCT newsletter and “An Ever-Widening Circle: The Ceramic Art of Helen Jean Taylor.”

By aigaphiladelphia
Published June 21, 2019