Two MU students win Orbit design contest

The winners each received a $5,000 cash prize for their victory.
Juniors Emily Herron and Brad Siegler were selected as winners in Orbit's Spotlight Series Design Contest. They submitted designs for Orbit's new "Melon Remix" flavor. Photo Illustration by Staff Photographer Nick Ehrhard

Two MU School of Journalism students have been selected as winners of the Orbit Spotlight Series Design Contest, a nationwide competition between college students.

The MU winners, juniors Emily Herron and Brad Siegler, each submitted original pack designs for Orbit’s new “Melon Remix” flavor. They each received a $5,000 cash prize for their victory.

Herron and Siegler both found out about the contest through an email from Barbara Willis, the J school’s Assistant Director of Career Services.

The two contestants used the computer programs Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to make the designs, which were based on a template provided by Orbit and three provided colors: orange, light green and hot pink.

Herron began working on her design after final exams, which lent it, in her words, a “summertime” theme. She sketched designs on copies of the template in her free time and eventually put the design together in Photoshop.

“I kind of got in the habit of doing these really crazy shapes that fit together and repeated throughout, and that’s what I ended up doing in Photoshop,” she said. “I used a lot of repeating elements throughout the entire design. I want to say I had four or five hundred layers (in Photoshop).”

Siegler started his design process by going to the gas station, buying six packs of Orbit and emptying them of gum to familiarize himself with the shape and design of the pack.

Siegler, who is also a musician, decided to base his pack design on a cassette tape. He downloaded Adobe Illustrator and created his design with the program.

“The color scheme that they gave us to use was very '80s feeling to me and very retro, and I really wanted to go with something a little more vintage, old and nostalgic,” Siegler said. “I thought that a cassette tape would be a little more universal, something people would readily identify with.”

Herron and Siegler are both in the Strategic Communication sequence in the J school and hope their experience benefits them in the future.

According to a release from Orbit, Herron plans to put her cash prize toward next semester's expenses, during which she is studying abroad in London.

Siegler hopes to use his winnings for everyday expenses, allowing him to focus on school without having to get a job.

The cash prizes weren’t the only positive the winners took from the contest.

“I hope I get to know a little more behind the process of what goes into these kind of contests,” Herron said. “I’m not in this just for design, I’m also in strategic communication, so once I won I got to see a little bit more inside all of the PR that goes into this contest. It was really interesting to see that kind of stuff behind the scenes.”

Siegler said he was appreciative of how the contest could help him in the future.

“It’s a resume builder,” he said. “Even though it’s just a small design contest, it’s a national company and it does make you feel good to at least get your hands dirty, per se.”

Siegler also mentioned how the contest helped him become more secure with his post-college plans.

“I haven’t made a final decision on what exactly I want to do with my degree yet, but I definitely want to incorporate a lot more design aspect into my career in some way, shape or form,” he said. “I’ve learned that I enjoy it.”

The packs Herron and Siegler designed will be available for purchase at major retailers from mid-December until February 2012.

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