Craig Johnson Wins Local Poster Competition

ATLANTA – Craig Johnson of North Sutton (NH) won first place in The Art Institutes and Americans for the Arts (AFTA) Annual Poster Design Scholarship Competition and received a tuition scholarship valued at $3,000 to attend The Art Institute of Atlanta – Decatur. Washburn, a student at Kearsarge Regional High School in Sutton (NH), plans to earn his bachelor’s degree in graphic design.

The theme of the competition was “Life Is Better With Art In It.” Of his design concept, Johnson wrote, “When asked to add a theme ‘Life Is Better With Art In It’ into a poster, many ideas came to mind, but it was very hard to narrow it down. Then it hit me. I thought a school theme would relate to the life of an artistic student.  I decided to use one of the chalkboards we have in my graphic design classroom that we use for doodling and brainstorming.  I took an actual picture and edited graphics onto it to add the graphic design portion.  I got the chalkboard idea from thinking about how often artistic students doodle on papers all the time.  I visualized how cool it would be if a student answered a math problem on the chalkboard with an artistic flair.  I hope my poster demonstrates an example of how much better life is with art in it and how much more fun you can have by using art in anything you do.”

Johnson became involved in a graphic design program in his freshman year, introducing him to the basic elements of design and also the basics of Photoshop.  He went on to study illustration and advertising aspects of design and then a full year of advanced graphic design. He also attended a summer studio class at The New England Institute of Art in Boston, learning the basics of animation using Flash.  As a senior he is completing a full year of independent study for graphic design, along with drawing and photography.

“For me, art is a fascination that I cannot get enough of.   That is why I would like a career in graphic design,” Johnson says.

Johnson’s poster design now moves on to the national level of the competition and will be judged among other top Art Institute entries from across North America by a panel of industry professionals online via The Art Institutes Web site ( This site is accessible to the public as well as the judges. Selection and notification of the national winner will be made by May 9, 2009.

Each year, The Art Institutes and AFTA offer graduating high school seniors interested in studying graphic design or other design and media arts programs the opportunity to earn scholarships for tuition at The Art Institute of their choice.

The purpose of The Art Institutes and Americans for the Arts Poster Design Scholarship Competition is to test students’ graphic design skills. To qualify, entrants were asked to create an original poster design that supports the contest theme, "Life Is Better With Art In It.” Entries were judged on originality, visual impact, basic design concepts, and compliance with theme and guidelines. Each entry was accompanied by the designer’s statement describing his/her design methodology, production process, and explanation of why they want to enter their program of choice at one of The Art Institutes.

The first-place winner from each Art Institute location becomes a finalist in the national competition. Ten national winners will receive scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $25,000 in addition to their local scholarship awards. The national winners’ work will be featured in a 2008 calendar produced by The Art Institutes and distributed nationwide. The national first-place winner’s work will be featured in marketing materials for The Art Institutes and on its Web site at Americans for the Arts will create an online gallery of all first-place local winners on its Web site.

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