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When you get caviar at your event, it must be good.

When you get caviar at your event, it must be good.

Here's Craig holding his 7 awards.

Here’s Craig Moser from Graphic D-Sign holding his 7 awards.

Whippany, NJ

The Art Directors Club of New Jersey recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its annual awards judging and show at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany. Art Directors are the people responsible for conceptualizing most of the creative advertising, marketing, public relations, Internet, digital and other forms of communications currently in use. They determine what photos, illustrations, typography, colors and even the augmented reality animation for the ad, package or website that companies use to communicate to their markets. With all of the awards shows praising creativity in New Jersey, the ADCNJ’s is the only one that identifies the Art Director as well as the agency.

After serving as Judging Chair for over 13 years, Nancy Fisher was unanimously selected by the ADCNJ Board to receive this years' Lew Kraut Award for community service. Harvey Hirsch, past recipient and ADCNJ video blogger presented Nancy with the award.

After serving as Judging Chair for over 13 years, Nancy Fischer was unanimously selected by the ADCNJ Board to receive this years’ Lew Kraut Award for community service. Harvey Hirsch, past recipient and ADCNJ video blogger presented Nancy with the award.

Every year, hundreds of Art Directors send their best samples of their work to be judged against that of their peers. Finding judges with the experience necessary to understand the nuances of each category to be judged is the responsibility of Nancy Fischer, a freelance designer who works with the Awards Show Committee to secure judges for the show. This year, Nancy received the Lew Kraut Award for her dedication to detail and service to our association.

The concept and design for the Awards Show was developed by Andrew George and was Chaired by Brec Morgan and her staff at CAG Brand First who produced the show’s identity, marketing materials, hangtags, and the show. And it came off perfectly, thanks to the attention to detail that Sue Sabol and her team from Opulent Events provided. Kudos to everybody that worked on this event from the beginning to the last spoon of crème brulee. This year’s show was entertaining and enjoyable with show emcee Tony Selimo and mentalist, Ted St James taking the show to new levels.

The ADCNJ is deeply involved in the college level art programs and gives away several scholarships to students majoring in many of the creative industry talent providers and this year’s crop of talent was present with their portfolios. Most of New Jersey Colleges that have graphic design programs encourage their students to enter their work for judging in the ADCNJ’s Student portfolio judging and the winners are featured during our show.

Special scholarship awards are also encouraged and Kean University put aside several for their graduates. James Smith, Principal at Smith Design gave out a packaging design award while Justin Martucci, President at Nicklefish issued two for inter-active designers.

James Smith and Scholarship winner dam Fischer.

James Smith and Packaging winner Adam Fischer.

The ADCNJ has held its last few Awards Shows at The Birchwood Manor, and this year, the bar was still set high for the victuals. As we have come to expect from Michael Marino, the Banquet’s Manager at the Birchwood Manor, all of the food was prepared and served in style to attendees by the many servers and all of the tables were brimming with delicacies. My favorite has always been the raw bar, filled with cooked and peeled shrimp, oysters and lobster tails, making the food we eat of a higher quality than most of the food at other creative awards shows.

More than just a show paying homage to the creative production process, it’s also a litmus test for the industry itself, which has undergone serious changes due to the ever-evolving technology and the slower economy. It’s not enough to think creatively, you need to understand the mechanisms necessary to produce and communicate these ideas and that has motivated the ADCNJ to add newer and more relevant categories to their call for entries.  And through their efforts, Brec and her team were able to generate over 300 entries to be judged.

Sherry Fitzgerald, ADCNJ President and program coordinator at Sussex Community College called on her connections to bring in Tony Selimo, a video producer, radio personality and Director of Communications at SCC to perform the duties of Emcee, and he did a superb job. Frank Peluso, a long-time club member and constant supporter of our show was there to capture the event in his inimitable way. His photographs are part of this article.

Nicklefish scholarship winner Eduarto Carrillo poses with Justin Martucci, Principal of Nicklefish.

Nicklefish Interactive winner Eduardo Carrillo poses with Justin Martucci, Principal of Nicklefish.

Mentalist Ted St James regaled the attendees with his mind-reading skills, and his ability to guess accurately, certain words pictured in the mind of his willing assistants and his show brought him a lot of wows. But the main reason everybody showed up for this wonderful event was to walk away with their share of the awards. To win an award from the ADCNJ is to be honored by your peers. And this year, the judging was so tough that only 65 awards were bestowed upon the designers, illustrators, photographers, and creative thinkers from the state of New Jersey.

High hook winners of the night were Ogilvy Health and Graphic D-Signs with 7 awards each, but the real winners were all of the attendees, the students, the agencies, the clients and the spouses and guests of the entrants. Everybody had a good time. Have a happy summer.

The names from left to right are as follows:  Teresa Kyle Brenda Molloy Renee Wentworth Kristen Sween Mary Mitros Susan Beers

From left to right are as follows: Teresa Kyle,
Brenda Molloy, Renee Wentworth, Kristen Sween,
Mary Mitros and Susan Beers from Olgivy Common Health.

Professor Steve Longo with scholarship winners Karly Elizabeth and Andrew Sperber.

CCM Professor Steve Longo with scholarship winners Karly Elizabeth and CCM winner Andrew Sperber.

Show Chair, Brec Morgan assists Mentalist Ted St James in entertaining the audience.

Show Chair, Brec Morgan assists Mentalist Ted St James in entertaining the audience.

One of the many delicacies served at our Annual Awards Show.

One of the many delicacies served at our Annual Awards Show.

Bob Lyon and Jeff Barcan leave the show with a big box filled with their awards.

Bob Lyons and Jeff Barcan from The Gruskin Group leave the show with a big box filled with their many awards.

Sherry Fitzgerald, current ADCNJ President and Past President Denise Anderson share a photo op.

Sherry Fitzgerald, current ADCNJ President and Past President Denise Anderson share a photo op.

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The room is charged with excitement and the students are there for the pressure and fun during the 4th Annual “Let’s Charrette” event produced by the Gruskin Group and supported by the ADCNJ. Here’s an encapsulation of what I saw at this year’s creative shoot-out.

nice turnout

A fine time was had by attendees at the ADCNJ’s member’s party held at Bar Cara in Bloomfield, NJ. Approximately 50 members showed up for this fun time and if the feedback I received is true, they all had a great time.

ADCNJ VP Andrew George goes over the member's list with President Sherry Fitzgerald.

ADCNJ VP Andrew George goes over the member’s list with President Sherry Fitzgerald.

The event was put together and promoted by Laraine Blauvelt and her team at Smith Design who produced this wonderful event. Attendees were feted with Italian delicacies created by Bar Cara’s chefs and the big hit of the night seemed to be the pizza.

ADCNJ member Andrea Mistretta donated some of her Internationally recognized Mardi Gras posters as door prizes.

ADCNJ member Andrea Mistretta donated some of her Internationally recognized Mardi Gras posters as door prizes.

I got a chance to speak with some of the attendees and newer members and everybody seemed excited to be at this event. Past Presidents, Robert Ryan, James Smith and Jenna Smith joined the newer members in celebrating the ADCNJ.

Larissa Ackerman, Jennifer Malise, Aikasha Mundle-Ayinde and her daughter, Adeola and photographer Shelley Kusnetz posed for a group shot.

Larissa Ackerman, Jennifer Malise, Aikasha Mundle-Ayinde, her daughter Adeola and photographer Shelley Kusnetz posed for a group shot.

After the event, a few of us snuck out and went to Momoya to dine on the amazing sushi sculptures of Chef Louis at Momoya, also on Broad in Bloomfield.

ADCNJ blogger Harvey Hirsch, Linda Lemos, Perry Quaranta and Andrea Mistretta all waiting to dine on amaebi at Momoya in Bloomfield, NJ.

ADCNJ blogger Harvey Hirsch, Linda Lemos, Perry Quaranta and Andrea Mistretta all waiting to dine on amaebi at Momoya in Bloomfield, NJ.

See all of the photos here. If you want to see what we ate at Momoya, click here.

Just a reminder, the deadline for submitting your best work to be judged for our 50th Anniversary Awards Show is March 15th so get moving and enter.

The ADCNJ is celebrating its 50th year as New Jersey’s only association for Art Directors, Illustrators, Photographers and other creative individuals involved in the creative development process of the communications industry. This years Awards Show is being chaired by Brec Morgan and Tara Orlando of the CAG Brand First group. This also marks the first time in our club’s evolution where all entries will be submitted on line, including membership fees. The deadline for submission of your best work is March 15th, so start compiling your entries, photographing the best of your work and then submitting them right on our adcnj.org site. As in the past, medal winners may be required to submit actual pieces for hanging during the Awards Show dinner, to be held at The Birchwood Manor in Whippany, NJ on Wed., May 15th. Submission is streamlined to make it easy for entrants to upload all necessary data and project information, so, stop sitting around reading this and get your best work uploaded so you can finally boast about winning an ADCNJ award. It’s that simple.

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Renowned Mardi Gras artist Andrea Mistretta will be on hand with the original painting of the 2013 edition in her famed New Orleans Mardi Gras poster series. Over 28 consecutive years, the posters have become a true New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition. Mistretta will sign posters and her awarding-winning book, “Mardi Gras Parade of Posters,” with a foreword by Mr. Mardi Gras himself, Blaine Kern. Her poster series will be on display through May.

A Year in the Life: Backstage to Onstage at Universal Orlando Resort, an exhibition that gives visitors an exclusive look at the extensive process that goes into bringing the theme park’s iconic annual events to life, running through January 26, 2014. Opening with Mardi Gras, the exhibition will change prior to each Universal Orlando Resort® event season: Halloween Horror Nights, summer lagoon show and parade, and finally the holidays, focusing on The Macy’s Holiday Parade and performances of holiday music by Mannheim Steamroller.
The Exhibition runs January 26, 2013, through January 26, 2014.

Montclair State University Team Wins Both Awards

From left to right: Presentation Winners Carlos Norat, Lusine Katrjyan, Charles Leenstra, Meghan Dougherty, Juan Villanueva, join client Jenna Wetmore from "Morning Glory."

From left to right: Presentation Winners Carlos Norat, Lusine Katrjyan, Charles Leenstra, Meghan Dougherty, Juan Villanueva, join client Jenna Wetmore from “Morning Glory.”

L to R: Holding the winning logo/sign design is Carlos Norat, joined by fellow team members Lusine Katrjyan, Juan Villanueva, Meghan Dougherty, Charles Leenstra, and client Jenna Wetmore from "Morning Glory".

L to R: Holding the winning logo/sign design is Carlos Norat, joined by fellow team members Lusine Katrjyan, Juan Villanueva, Meghan Dougherty, Charles Leenstra, and client Jenna Wetmore from “Morning Glory”.

This year’s Design Derby client was “Morning Glory,” a thrift and gift shop whose profits benefit DASI services for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families in Sussex County. http://www.dasi.org/morning_glory_store.php

The competition, sponsored by the club’s Education Committee and Smith Design, was held at the Newton campus of Sussex County Community College. The event brings together schools from throughout the state.

This year’s results were noteworthy as, for the first time, a single team captured all honors. A team from Montclair State University won both the Presentation Award and the Design Award.

Thanks to new club President Sherry Fitzgerald and her dedicated colleagues at Sussex County Community College for once again hosting the event, Smith Design for their continued support of the Education Committee and all students and professors that participated.

A special acknowledgement goes out to club member Nikki Pedersen who participated in his 17th Design Derby.

From left: Brec Morgan, Conrad Winter, Patricia, Tara, Laraine Blauvelt, Linda Lemos, James Smith, Jenna Smith, Robert Ryan, Sherry Fitzgerald, John Luttropp, Andrew George and Justin Martucci.

From left: Brec Morgan, Conrad Winter, Paula Maylan, Tara Orlando, Laraine Blauvelt, Linda Lemos, James Smith, Jenna Smith, Robert Ryan, Sherry Fitzgerald, John Luttropp, Andrew George and Justin Martucci.

The passing of the gavel from Jenna Smith (President 2010-2012), to Sherry Fitzgerald took place at the last ADCNJ Board meeting.  Jenna, who in her second term, endured a literal “Baptism Under Fire” in serving our association when she undertook both, the Presidency and the Show Chair and turned in a wonderful performance, embellished with style and grace.  We hope you will sit on the board and keep our boat on course.

Sherry Fitzgerald joins us as our new President and business manager and brings with her a wealth of personal experience both as a graphic designer and educator. Sherry is the program coordinator at Sussex County College and infused the board with her exuberance and hope for our members and industry in the coming years. Also joining our board is Andrew George, a package designer and educator who works with Sherry at Sussex Community College. I got to interview them about what they would like to accomplish and how they see the ADCNJ’s future and you can watch the video of that interview here.

Sherry Fitzgerald (left) takes the helm of the ADCNJ Board from Jenna Smith (right).

Sherry Fitzgerald (left) takes the helm of the ADCNJ from Jenna Smith.

Some of the newer members, Brec Morgan and Tara Orlando from CAG Design also volunteered to Chair and manage this year’s awards show (our 50th Anniversary) and Justin Martucci from Nicklefish insured that this year we will be able to automate the entry application on our website.

Uncle Floyd kept the crowd laughing with his rapid fire delivery of jokes.

The 49th Annual ADCNJ Awards Show was a raging success. Over 117 awards for creativity were bestowed on the best creative work from NJ based Agencies and Art Directors, Designers, Photographers, Illustrators and Videographers. Watch the video.

Uncle Floyd was our comedic host for the show and he did not let anyone down as he kept the audience in stitches with his riff on growing up Italian in Paterson, NJ. He vetoed video so all I can share are photos, but he certainly delivered the right boost of humor. All 205 attendees laughed at Floyd’s Italian anecdotes and tales of his unusual career.  His rapid-fire delivery style allowed him to find everybody’s funny bone and tickle it.

For the first time since its inception, the Lew Kraut Award was given to 2 people in the same year, James Smith of Smith Design for his unceasing dedication and support to the ADCNJ’s educational programs and Ken Gruskin for his devotion to education and support of the Thinking Creatively Conference’s- Let’s Charrette event which he initiated and nurtures for the third straight year.

The Birchwood Manor, provided the delicious victuals, making our Awards Show the best in the state. I mean, where else do you get lobster tails and steak for dinner?

My favorite has always been the raw bar. It elevates our show from all others. I mean where else can you get lobster tails, cherrystones on the half, fresh oysters and all the shrimp you can eat. Wait, you can eat all of the above at our event. No rubber chicken here. OK, I have had rubber chicken dinners all over the state and if you’ve seen my restaurant videos you probably would concede that my taste buds might be slightly more seasoned than most, so when I say that the Birchwood is my favorite venue for our show, well, I disclosed.

Rose Gonnella, Executive Director of the Robert Busch School of Arts at Kean University explains the Thinking Creatively Conference to the crowd. Next year will be the tenth anniversary if Thinking Creatively and the ADCNJ has been supporting this and many other education related events.

It was agreed, by everybody I spoke with, that Jenna Smith of Smith Design did a fantastic job of herding the cats to make this show a success and that Rose Gonnella of Kean University was cited for her insight in creating and managing the Thinking Creatively Conference for the past 10 years.

Students from County College of Morris, Kean University and Montclair State University picked up most of the 9 Scholarships for their creative work and also helped me set up the show the day before.

View the 2011 ADCNJ Scholarship Winners and their work here.

Our event coordinator Sue Sabol of Opulent Events performed so well in managing this nightmare that the ADCNJ we’ll probably be seeing more of them in our future.  A special thanks to Nicklefish for the cupcake souvenir gift and for Peluso Caterers for making them so good. Was that really a red velvet cake?

Robert Rose and John Mistretta discuss their services with show participants during the cocktail hour. Digi-Chrome Studios became a sponsor for our event.

Digi-Chrome Studios became a new sponsor for our show and while I was speaking with John Mistretta, their Sales Manager, when I asked him if he was related to NJ’s famous Illustrator, Andrea Mistretta. sadly he said he wasn’t. Andrea, however, was in attendance so I brought them together to see if any relatives were connected. Perry, Andrea’s husband was busy capturing me on his video as I was getting him on mine. I kept it in my video.

James Smith who became one of this year’s Lew Kraut Award winner and President of Smith Design, a Best in Show Winner, stands with Kelly Rabkin, who won the Smith Design Packaging Scholarship Award.

Best of Show winners were Pantone and Smith Design, both provided exemplary work and the President’s Award went to Jenna Smith and we know that was well deserved. Now you can stand erect, Jenna. It’s all over.

Jenna Smith, ADCNJ President with Giovanni Marra, Creative Director of Pantone, another winner of the prestigious Best of Show Award. Pantone has been a generous supporter of many ADCNJ educational events. Congratulations, Gio.

A special award, for her dedication to rounding up judges for our show, setting up the judging and ensuring a fair show, went to Nancy Fisher. Having passed that job onto Nancy, I can tell you stories of bad weather, drunk Art Directors and Illustrators who only gave out low scores to every entry for no other reason than their ego. Nancy has more tact than I do.

Congratulations to all the winners and I look forward to seeing many of you at next year’s 50th Annual ADCNJ Awards Show.

The planning starts now. If you have some ideas, I urge you to join the Show Committee and share them.

Have a nice summer.

Special thanks to Frank Peluso for these great photos, the Cuppa Cabana for the coffee bar, all of the students from Montclair State and Kean that helped to set up the show and to all of the entrants who made this show so successful.

Submitted by Harvey Hirsch, Member at Large, ADCNJ.

Harvey Hirsch, ADCNJ Video Blogger, Steve Longo, Professor at County College of Morris, Jon Weiman, Professor at Bloomfield College and Robert Ryan, President of CMYK Printing take a break from the show to pose for a photo.

Student presents his ideas to team during this year's Let's Charrette, creative shoot-out, held during Kean College's Thinking Creatively conference.

Former ADCNJ President, Deborah Rivera, third from left, mentors her team as they compete in this year's Let's Charrette event during Kean College's Thinking Creatively conference. 

This year’s annual Thinking Creatively conference, hosted by Kean College featured the creative shoot out where students, studying graphic design, architecture and interior design, join forces to compete for bragging rights at the Let’s Charrette event.

Al Montagna's team presents their concepts.

Al Montagna, President of Small Earth Visual Communications, discusses concepts with his team. Sponsored by ADCNJ members, The Gruskin Group, for the third year in a row, the Charrette pitted ten teams composed of ten students, who design a retail environment, a product identity program, a multi-channel marketing campaign and product packaging with the guidance of a mentor from one of the cited industries.

Students present early ideas for approval from their team mentor, Jay Beispiel

This year, the product was a customizable sneaker, made on-demand, and the students had to create this experience for the consumer based on their own experiences.

ADCNJ Communications Chair and Gruskin Group Creative Director, Jeff Barcan advises students in their teams presentation.

Teams were given three-hours to develop and lay-out their ideas onto large presentation boards and then make a personal presentation to the crowd. Competitors learned the value of working as a team and the real-life deadline pressure to create a unified pitch, an invaluable skill that is not usually taught as part of the college curriculum of graphic design.

Ken Gruskin and John Weiman, center, discuss strategies for getting student presentations to be dynamic.

Join me as I interview the sponsors, mentors and students to delve into what we call creativity and how it can be wielded in many forms. And, of course, which team was judged the best.

Art Directors Paul Pullara and John Onushak discuss student work with Suzanne Giovanetti as they provide ratings.

Springtime is when all of the county colleges round up all of their creative artists and photographers and present their work.

This year, I joined a group of art directors at the County College of Morris to view the graphic design department’s student portfolio show.

The coordinator of the graphic design department is internationally recognized packaging designer, Steve Longo.

Eighteen of his students submitted their work for display in the CCM library’s gallery, where we would be able to experience the graphic design capabilities of these two-year students and the intense program they were graduating from.

A rubric, created by the college to help assess the quality of the student work being rated by ADCNJ members as well as other professional creative designers in attendance, just scratched the surface, as we, as a group, were impressed that the level of critical thinking and execution was way beyond what a normal two-year student’s work usually is.

ADCNJ member and package design professional, James Smith contemplates his score.

Attendees numbered around two hundred fifty and the food quickly ran out as students from other departments, parents, professors and industry professionals all professed a positive reaction to most of the work displayed and congratulated the graduating students on their accomplishments.

I managed to interview Professor Longo and a few of the other professional as well as other attendees to find out how the show affected them and to wring some advice from them for the graduating students trying to enter our industry.

Next year should be even more exciting as CCM launches NJ’s first two-year package design program and those students submit their work for this review.

Nicole Bucherer stands by her creative designs.