He hasn’t graduated yet, but Tyler Junior College sophomore visual communications major Cody Brenner already has an impressive start on his professional portfolio.
Brenner is the winner of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) 2019 Student Graphic Design Contest. NISOD is a professional organization that promotes excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges. His artwork was chosen from more than 100 entries from 36 schools nationwide.
Over the next year, his winning design will appear on all promotional materials related to NISOD’s 2020 conference, including posters, brochures and web graphics.
In addition to a $1,000 cash prize, Brenner will attend the 2019 NISOD convention in Austin in May for an official unveiling of his design, which is being kept under wraps until its debut.
“I was completely taken off guard,” he said after his award was announced during a surprise presentation in prepress techniques class. “I still can’t believe it.”
A Carrollton native, Brenner followed his twin sister, Kayli, to TJC two years ago when she became a member of the Apache Belles precision dance team.
“I had always been interested in photography and design but had no formal training in either,” he said. “When I came to the visual communications department at TJC, I really learned the ins and outs of the design software and how the technology works.”
Cody Brenner’s winning design will be revealed during an official unveiling at the annual NISOD conference, to be held in May in Austin.
He continued, “The professors here are very knowledgeable. Mr. (Torrey) Wylie knows virtually everything about the print industry, Ms. (Rebecca) Stewart knows the design software from top to bottom, and Ms. (Tamara) Haynes is a fantastic photographer. I have learned so much from each of them about the different aspects of visual communications.”
Stewart said, “Cody has exceptional skills and has created wonderful design throughout his time here. I’m thrilled that one of our students’ designs won this competition. This was our first time to submit, and all six of the submitted designs were great.”
She continued, “I’m very proud of Cody and his design because it is in line with the NISOD requirements and includes the ‘education’ component they were looking for.”
On how he came up with the design, Brenner said, “The first thing I did was to go and look at the past winners, so I could see what they were looking for. I saw that they were choosing very simplistic, minimalistic designs, which I’m also a big fan of.”
He also noticed that the previous three winners were all from Ohio and, “their designs had a lot of cactus, desert and cow skills. Honestly, I associate that type of thing more with Arizona than I did Texas; and I saw this as a chance for someone who lives in Texas to portray Texas as it really is. So, I put in a cowboy boot, but I also wanted to dive into the fact that education isn’t strictly about textbooks and rulers.”
He added touches of technology with a cell phone and computer screen, in addition to a globe to signify education’s far-reaching capabilities.
“We’re in a new era of technology in teaching, and there’s a lot more than just books and paper now,” he said. “So, I wanted to make sure to put that in as well because that’s where we are.”
In addition to his coursework, Brenner is also an Apache Belle guard, part of a group of students who help with a variety of tasks in support of the team, including running music during rehearsals, assisting with building props and sets, and assisting with equipment for performances.
“Working with the Apache Belles has also helped me develop my skills through photography of performances and creating graphics for their social media platforms,” he said.
Brenner said he is still considering his next step after TJC, but he knows his future will be in a creative medium.
For more information on the TJC Visual Communications department, go to TJC.edu/VisComm.