Commercial Arts senior wins Friends of VCU Libraries annual design prize

May 15, 2022
A graphic design of hands with eyes, computer mice, coffee, books and pencils in burgundy and blue.

Laura Bendick is the winner of a $500 prize for the third annual Friends of VCU Libraries Design Contest. She is a May 2022 graduate with a major in communication arts and a minor in art history. 

Her career aspiration is in design. “I would love to find some sort of commercial illustration gig, maybe for musicians or local businesses. I love making album covers and working with clients.” For the short term, she’ll continue working at James Branch Cabell Library, one of VCU’s largest employers of student workers, as a collection’s assistant. “Besides that, I’ll be putting my time into selling art at markets and galleries, and starting a Kickstarter for a large tarot deck project. I’m excited to get more involved in the Richmond art scene!”  

The Friends’ annual contest invites students and recent alumni to submit designs for a T-shirt and other materials.

The design prompt was: What is your interpretation of VCU Libraries? “I was inspired by the brief’s desire to have a design that covered all VCU Libraries and all areas of study,” Bendick said. “I think it’s great that the library is such a central hub for students regardless of what they’re studying. I wanted the libraries to seem busy and full of life, but not antiquated. I wanted to create something that matched the energy in the library.”

In creating the illustration, she says: “I was thinking about how many different things take place in the library. It’s less about coming there for books and more about coming there to have a safe space to concentrate on work or meet with friends. I was also thinking a lot about vintage posters since I thought the flat, graphic images and limited colors would work well for a unique shirt design. I wanted to add a little psychedelic flair, though, to make it feel more like my own work and less like a stock design.”

The selection committee came to consensus that Bendick’s design conveyed the edgy energy and attitude of VCU’s two academic libraries. The judging committee included representatives from the Friends of VCU Libraries Board, VCU Libraries and VCU School of the Arts faculty. 

The winning illustration, in addition to being printed on a T-shirt, may also be used for other VCU Libraries materials such as thank-you cards, tote bags and a Cabell Screen exhibit. The artist retains copyright.

T-shirts are being sold online via Bonfire. All sale proceeds benefit VCU Libraries.


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