Command X

photo credit: AIGA @ ENMU

Command X, a monthly graphic design competition, is an opportunity for any student at ENMU to try their hand at graphic design, create artwork under pressure and receive critiques from professionals, according to associate professor of art Brad Hamann.

The Command X competition is held in the ENMU Art and Anthropology building and is free of charge for participants.

Hamann said participation is not limited to graphic design majors.

“I went to the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA) conference in Pheonix in the fall of 2011 and they had something very similar, only it was done over the course of three or four days,” Hamann said. “We basically reformatted the scoring of it to work for our students and keep them coming back.”

Hamann started the local Command X competition during the fall semester of 2011 and has held 25 competitions to date.

“The students come in on a Saturday at 10 a.m. and they meet in one of the Mac labs,” Hamann said. “I reveal to them a surprise assignment.”

Students are given three hours to complete the assignment after Hamann leaves the room.

“I don’t want to see who’s working on what,” Hamann said. “At the end of the assignment, they put all of the finished work up on the board and put numbers next to it.”

“David Deal and I go in—sometimes we have guest judges from the college of fine art— we grade them and we score them,” Hamann said.

Students are asked to leave the lab. They are then scored by each individual judge and the scores are totaled, according to Hamann.

After scoring, students are asked to return to the lab for critiques of the top 12 projects. With each critique, the student who designed the work will announce which piece they designed, according to Hamann.

“It gets their competitive juices flowing, but also it helps prove to themselves that they can complete a project in three hours,” Hamann said. “They learn how to work fast and they get a solid critique every time they compete, so it’s almost a classroom experience.”

Hamann said the benefits of the competition can help them in a competitive professional world.

“We run six of these a year and I come up with a leader board for it,” Hamann said.

“We always have an award party at the end of the year and we give out some pretty nice prizes,” Hamann said.

Prizes included in past competitions included “hard-bound art books and art supplies,” he said.

“It’s a real bonding experience for the students too,” Hamann said.

After the competition, students are also invited to a lunch provided by the Deal family. He said, “Students who want to can go over there, chow down, hang out; it’s really great.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to get up on a Saturday morning when I put in a full week, but I never regret holding the competition,” Hamann said.

“You don’t have to be super talented to take part in this,” Hamann said. “If anyone wants to come try it, we’d love for them to come.”

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