Category Archives: Alumni News

NEWS: Alumnus Derek Ballard shows 3 poster designs in this San Francisco exhibit from Spoke Editions

Derek Ballard Posters

To view or purchase Derek’s prints, please visit –

On October 30th alumnus Derek Ballard was featured in the “Bad Dads”, Wes Anderson tribute show that opened at the new Lopo Gallery in San Francisco. This new gallery is located via the Space Gallery on Polk Street. Curated by Ken Harman (Hi Fructose, Arrested Motion) this group show featured work from over 70 artists such as Dave MacDowell, Caia Koopman, Ana Bagayan, Serge Gay Jr, Rich Pellegrino, Sandi Calistro and many more.


NEWS: Alumnus Esther Longmore featured on


To view this article in its entirety, please visit:

Alumnus Esther Longmore was interviewed and featured on, conversing from everything to personal design style to the marketing tactics for her company. In her interview she states the following when asked what her number one tip to creatives was…

You’re going to have days when you feel like you’re not good enough and days you want to give up. No matter what, keep pushing yourself, be eager to learn, and pick yourself up when you fall. Many of your successes will be small and a few may even be huge, but there’s no substitute for the feeling you get when they come to fruition.

Check out her interview using the link above – thanks for the words of wisdom Esther!

NEWS: Obake Style featured in Gavin’s Underground / Culture


To view this article and interview in its entirety, please visit –

One of the standout local names from the last Comic Con was Obake Style, featuring prints and jewelry themed around monsters and Japanese culture, with an array of other items as they’ve branched out into pop-culture. Today we chat with Nick Burke and Magen Mitchell, the married duo behind the artistic company, about how they got started and where they intend to take their works.

NEWS: Alumnus Kickstarter Onomatopoeia an Alphabet Book by Sound

To view this project on kickstarter, please visit –

In choosing this word to base my book off of, I wanted to make sure that each page was full of bright and colorful illustrations that would encourage kids to have fun while learning. From the words of Dallas Clayton, my favorite author and illustrator: “Find something that makes you happy and use it to make others happy.”  I hope that my book will make you and your children happy and that you can help me fulfill my dream to have this book in the hands of little children around the world.

NEWS: Hilary Spillane featured in Steamboat Magazine


To view this article in it’s entirety, please visit –

Local portrait photographer Hilary Spillane fell in love with Steamboat Springs’ beautiful landscape and tight-knit community after moving here in 2007. Married to former Olympian and world champion Nordic Combined skier Johnny Spillane, this Utah-born mother of two runs Spillane Creative. Knowing the significance of capturing a photographic record of vacation memories, she has advice to share.

Photographer Hilary Spillane knows how to capture the perfect winter family portrait.

When is the best time of day to take pictures during the winter months?
 My favorite time of day is always in the evening just before sunset when the light is glowing. If it’s overcast, I like to shoot earlier in the day when there is more light and it’s typically warmer.

Any advice for a bright snowy day when trying to capture active moments on the mountain?
 If you have a camera with manual settings,
try using a faster shutter speed to more easily capture skiers or riders on the mountain or tubers at Howelsen Hill. There is a lot of light, which means you’ll catch
all the action, but white balance can cause problems because of sun and white snow. On automatic settings, the camera tends to lean more to a cool hue, so you may need to manually compensate. Try photographing the action with the sun behind your subject and expose for their face. This will lessen the shadows and help with squinting.


NEWS: Alumnus Davin Abegg is not only a great designer but is in the punk rock band, Secret Abilities! He designs the posters and collateral for the band.

To view this article in its entirety, please visit –

SALT LAKE CITY — For seven years, Secret Abilities has been carving an indelible mark into the Salt Lake music scene with its brand of pop punk.

Secret Abilities founding member Davin Abegg played in a few bands over the years, but after playing in a group where he only played guitar, he decided to start Secret Abilities, so he could write his own music.

He found band members by reaching out to his friends on social media, and gradually he was able to find like-minded musicians who shared his desire to make fun music without any agendas.

“We didn’t have a lot of direction when we first started, we just wanted to make something honest,” Abegg said. “Overall it’s just simple pop music for people to enjoy. Nothing too deep or too political or too sappy.”

NEWS: Alumnus Cassidy Demkov’s design was chosen to for inclusion in Minted Holiday Card Design Challenge!

To read this in its entirety, please visit –

It is so exciting to see one of my designs for sale on the Minted website. Not too bad for a last minute decision to submit a design. I look forward to being more involved in the Minted design challenges and plan on submitting more designs that are a little less rushed than this one was.

Hey, if you like it so much go ahead and order some to send to all of your friends and family this year. Click the link on the right side of the blog to place your order from Minted.

Happy Holidays!

NEWS: Alumni Esther Longmore, featured Shibumi Home designer


To view this in its entirety, please visit –


We’re pleased to introduce you to Shibumi Home designer Esther Longmore from beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah. Decorating and embellishing ordinary items since she was a girl, Esther has always loved making things pretty. And we’d say she’s quite talented at it!

Esther describes herself as sweet on the surface, but silly and sassy underneath. “My work tends to reflect that same personality, giving the observant viewer delightful little gems,” she says.

We love the graceful notes and colors of springtime in her pretty pattern collection. What do you love best about her designs?

NEWS: Alumni Matt Page featured in BYU Exhibit “Mormons at Salt Lake Comic Con”


Poster by Matt Page

To view more about this event, follow this link:

About the Exhibit

October 1–22, 2014, HBLL Level 1, Special Collections

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be found all over the world and in every field, including comics, films, literature, and art. Since its inaugural convention in September 2013, the Salt Lake Comic Con has hosted thousands of artists, actors, filmmakers, and writers. This exhibit showcases the work of some of the Salt Lake Comic Con artists who are Mormon or whose art explores Mormon popular culture.

Curated by Trevor Alvord + Gerrit van Dyk

About Matt Page

Matt is a Utah native graphic designer and illustrator; his work as been included in several publications including Monsters & Mormons.

Matt’s postcards depict 20 different scenes of Mormon iconography mashed up with pop culture.

Also presented is Matt’s retro temple “Holiness to the Lord”

Doing Your Own Giclée Prints

epson stylus pro

Doing Your Own Giclée Prints by Heather Ackley (VAD Graphic Design Alumnus)

Those of you who are focusing heavily on your art and will be doing festivals may want to consider buying your own printer rather than outsource. It’s a personal preference. There are many options out there, and even some good $300 printers. However, the Epson 3880 Stylus Pro does archival prints with archival inks, and can print up to 17×22″ or 17x___ if you get a roll. I needed extreme color accuracy and quality, so I went for the gold.

I have compiled all the info you may need to invest in this type if printer, if the time comes. I had to come to the realization that I needed to spend money to make money, and this printer has more than paid for itself in the last 9 months.

So here you go…

• The printer I have (cheapest way to get it is Amazon) …I recommend getting a Prime account if you don’t have one. You can have paper overnighted to you in a bind for $4 shipping.
• I recommend getting the dust cover. You do not want dust getting inside of it.
• The paper I use is the Epson Velvet Fine Art, in 13×19, but it is available in many sizes. I buy it from PictureLine mostly, local. But sometimes from Amazon. It’s about $6 more from PictureLine.
Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper 13"x19" (20)
• It will come with enough ink to do quite a few prints. At least a hundred or two hundred. But when one of the cartridges does run out, this is what you’ll need: (there are 9 cartridges total, I’ve only had to replace about 5 so far and I print a ton).


There are also usually rebates from Epson for $200-250 at any given time.
• It will come with the drivers you need and is easy to install.I print directly from Photoshop.
• It is best to run the printer lightly and frequently, rather than running 50 prints every two months. One 13×19 sheet takes about 7 minutes to run through.
• I then cut them using a healing mat and sharp Xacto, using a metal ruler as the straight edge/guide.
• I buy my cello bags from GTbags, in various sizes. They last quite a while and are super cheap.

I hope this is of some help to you all! Oh, and I just use a simple cheap 8 year old Epson scanner to scan small pieces, and it works great.