Campus: CSU Long Beach -- January 7, 2005

Cal State Long Beach Design Students Earn 1st-Place, Honorable-Mention Awards in PAVE International Design Competition

A pair of junior design students at California State University, Long Beach captured awards in the 2004 PAVE (Planning and Visual Education) International Student Design Competition, including the contest's top prize in the four-year program division.

Xiao Yun (Jenny) Jiang garnered first-place honors for her "Blossom" brand project, earning $2,500 for the top finish, and classmate Von Dominguez received an honorable mention award and $500 for his "Cradle" project.

Overall, there were more than 150 entries submitted in the four-year category for this year's competition, and they came from students all over the United States and other countries, including China, Australia and the United Kingdom.

"I was not surprised that we won, but we are very excited and absolutely honored to receive the awards," said Dorothy Ottolia, assistant professor of design who taught this fall's junior interior design class, from which the CSULB students created their submissions. "Both of these students are exceptional, and the two projects they designed were incredibly different, especially in how they approached the challenge."

For the competition, students were asked to design and outpost/boutique within a department store format for a retailer of "wellness products" that is selling a new line of body, bath, skin, hair and aromatherapy merchandise. Additionally, the students were asked to provide a holistic design solution that includes a brand name and logo for the new product line as well as packaging and graphic designs used to promote and identify the brand.

Jiang, a native of Shanghai, China, called her brand project "Blossom," and Ottolia described it as an idea that would appeal to the general consumer of wellness products. "It is something that anyone would be comfortable with - the subtle colors, the idea of blossoming and having a very identifiable form," she said. "The project worked incredibly well, and it is a concept you could very well see in the marketplace today."

Dominguez' project, on the other hand, was more of a personalized approached. He got the idea from his aunt and goddaughter and a concern about products used on children -- products that contain DEA, sodium laurel sulfate or added fragrances - especially kids with sensitive skin. He created a center he called "Cradle," where a mother and father could go to and get natural organic products for newborns and toddlers, a market he says is basically overlooked.

"The whole store was based on the idea of a womb, where, once you were inside, you kind of feel like you are being cradled. You can also get educated while you are in there and leave with products that you would feel very safe using on your children," Ottolia explained. "That project was very interesting as well, and it is something that hasn't been done."

Both Jiang and Dominguez acknowledged and were appreciative of the assistance from Ottolia and two other instructors - Douglas Esparza and Eliza Costabel - who were especially helpful in the presentation aspects of the projects.

There were five criteria for judging the projects, including design concept - imagination and creativity (15 points); space solution - adjacencies, form, traffic flow and organization (25 points); interior/architectural design - style, appropriateness, colors and materials, fixturing, lighting, merchandise presentation (30 points); graphics and identification - logo color, style, composition and packaging (15 points); and quality and comprehensive organization of presentation (15 points).

"Students had to determine what products they would sell, the packaging for these products, the signage, the store identity and branding and overall interior architecture," Ottolia pointed out. "So, I would say it was really an interior design project, an industrial design project and a graphic design project all wrapped into one, and the students did really well."

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