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“Print in Pop Culture” – Student Design Contest


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Congratulations to the Winners of the 2023 “Print in Popular Culture” Student Design Contest!

1st place:

Leslie Burciaga Villa 

Chabot College


2nd place:

Thanh Truc Nguyen

Sacramento City College


3rd place:

Mira Shupe

California Polytechnic State University


Monique Ferronatto

San Francisco State University


2023 VMA Student Design Contest: “Print in Pop Culture”

Create a design showcasing that printing and print materials continue to be relevant today in 2023 – and win cash prizes! 

The Issue

There is no doubt that we’re living in a digital world where social media and email consume much of our day. Yet print, while less intrusive, continues to hold a critical place in our lives and lifestyles.  

There are many benefits to printing and print materials, yet these are so ingrained, they are easily overlooked. This is an opportunity to bring awareness to prints and its many benefits.  

The Assignment

Take some time to research the benefits of printing in our contemporary lives and showcase through your design how these benefits are important in popular culture.   

Create a magazine cover design for Connected publication that speaks to the many benefits of print items and print industry in popular culture. Connected is a print magazine geared towards small business owners in the print, packaging, label and creative agency field. Past issues of Connected can be seen here.


In the 15th century, the innovation of the printing press enabled people to share knowledge more quickly and widely. Printing made it possible to put information on paper quickly and cheaply, leading to an explosion in the distribution of books, pamphlets, pictures, and newspapers. There are many many benefits to print. Most that get overlooked daily but that bring great value to our lives – such as packaging for functionality or signage. Or others that are more purposeful such as printed ads, wallpaper, or branded packaging. There are many more benefits as a google search or thoughtfulness on the matter will bring to mind. 

Pop Culture

Popular culture is the set of practices, beliefs, and objects that embody the most broadly shared meanings of a social system. It includes media objects, entertainment and leisure, fashion and trends, and linguistic conventions, among other things. The most common forms of popular culture are movies, music, television, video games, sports, entertainment news, fashion, and various forms of technology. 

VMA (for short) is the industry trade association for small business owners and managers in the print, packaging, label, and graphic arts in Northern California. 


The competition is open to current college students studying graphic arts in the northern and central California region.


  • First Place – $500 + The winner’s design will be featured on VMA’s April Connect magazine cover and in VMA’s eNewsletter. These publications go to VMA’s member base of over 500 Northern California print and creative agency small business owners.
  • Second Place – $250 + showcased in interior page of Connected and in VMA’s eNewsletter
  • Third Place – Three Spots – $100 + showcased in interior page of Connected and in VMA’s eNewsletter.


  • Design extended to March 15, 2023 at midnight
  • Winners announced and contacted in late-March
  • Connected is printed and distributed in mid-April


Winner will be selected by a jury consisting of VMA’s Communications team

Design Direction

  • Imagery should be designed on the theme of: “Print Matters Using Pop Culture.” Designs should show the relevance of print in our world today.  
  • You may use VMA’s brand guidelines or not: Media Kit

Design Specs

Download the InDesign template here and design on your own layers below the masthead for 300 dpi, CMYK. For the final PDF file, export with bleed and crop marks.

To Enter

Complete the form and upload the final PDF file online at: https://forms.gle/qwA8u3AasT1UrLxT9 


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2024 Student
Scholarship Application

To complete your application please provide the referring teachers information in the form below. The referring teacher’s email must be associated with an accredited Northern California college.

2024 Student
Scholarship Application

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