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2020 Design Scholarship Winner & Runners-Up

About Our Scholarship:

Since we awarded our last scholarship recipient in 2019, Thomas Group Printing has been accepting applications for our annual print design scholarship, a $1,500 award given to a promising design student. In order to apply, students sent us a project they felt exemplified their best print design work and wrote an essay on the topic “Why is Print Design Still Important in Today’s Day & Age.”

We were overwhelmed with excellent applications and the process of selecting a winner was difficult. After much deliberation, our scholarship committee selected a winner as well as a runner-up, who we’d like to take the opportunity to spotlight below. Congratulations to our 2020 winner, Shea McCrohan, and to all of the excellent design students who applied to our scholarship this year!

Our 2020 Winner: Shea McCrohan of Arizona State University

Thomas Group Printing is pleased to announce the winner of the 2020 Chelsy Tomashoff Memorial Scholarship for Print Design Excellence, Shea McCrohan of Arizona State University. Shea is a freshman at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and will receive $1,500 toward her education.

Her submission for the scholarship was a beautiful illustration, outlining her creative process every step of the way. From her original sketches, to the watercolor plan process, to developing the mockups for her piece, the scholarship committee enjoyed experiencing her work process at each step and felt the final submission was excellent.

The Traveler is a student creative arts publication produced annually by the Art and English Departments of Glendale Community College. Volume 53 of The Traveler is an illustrated field guide that showcases the diverse flora and fauna native to the state of Arizona. More than just a “giant oven” filled with cactus and sand, Arizona is home to six different biomes and a plethora of plants and animals. The resourceful wildlife of Arizona has adapted to the states vast range of elevations and temperatures. The students of Glendale Community College are just as diverse, resourceful, and tenacious as the Arizona flora. This arts publication is a testament to the these students blossoming into mature individuals who will use their abilities to redefine this unique state.

Shea maintains a portfolio of her design work at behance.net/sheamccrohan/.

Runner Up: Bianca Pierre-Jacques of Abilene Christian University

Bianca Pierre-Jacques Scholarship 2020 Submission

A runner-up was also chosen for the scholarship. Bianca Piette-Jacques, a senior at Abilene Christian University, redesigned a book cover called Fresh Girl, a novel by Jaira Placide. Bianca describes her work as the following:

“Placide tells a heart-aching coming of age story of a Haitian American teen struggling to adapt to the Big Apple, after fleeing her beloved island. With a unrevealed secret haunting her past, this story shows the strength of love and family to heal old wounds. To visually convey the protagonist’s inner turmoil, I decided to use a paper cut illustration style for this redesigned cover. Each layer depicts specific imagery, from the corn stalks to the boat. Finishing off, a canvas texture was overlayed to add a slight rugged feel to overall clean look of the cover.”

While her work alone is excellent, her essay on the importance of print design really impressed our scholarship committee. Her essay is presented here in her own words.

“In a blinding moment of brilliance, we were born into a vividly strange world, hungry to embark on a lifetime journey of discovery. Yet all too soon, we become hunched over and bleary-eyed, basking in the blue light of our screens. From the flashing popup ads to repetitive video ads, a narrow selection of our senses are engaged to the influx of information: sight and hearing. Yet such brief encounters with a brand lacks true resonating power to reliably reside in our memories. Fortunately, products of print design take up the challenge of capturing and maintaining our attention. Through direct encounters with the printed form, the audience undergoes a tantalizingly immersive experience, thereby strengthening memorability.

We encounter manifestations of print design everyday: a well-worn Harry Potter book, a brochure at a tourist stand, and more. All these printed forms are memorable because of their mere existence in the physical world, as opposed the virtual one. Suddenly, we associate physicality with authenticity, instantly building trust with the brand. Thus, the importance of its physicality is shown in two ways. First, since we undergo a first-hand experience with the printed form, like greeting cards, there is no need to rely on the testimonials of online strangers. We can formulate our own intimate knowledge of the product. Second, its physicality directly calls us to action by tapping into our childlike curiosity of the world. This curiosity leads us to exploring the features of a book from the sweet aroma wafting from its pages to the beauty of its cover. This seeming mundane encounter plays with at least four of our senses: sight, hearing, touch, and smell. This stimulatingly immersive experience has a keyhole in our memories.

Overall, the ability to experience the printed form directly empowers the customer and creates a resonating experience. In return, the chances of the customer remembering the brand is heightened. Thus relying on the printed form is not a fad from a bygone era. Rather, its mere physicality invites us to tap into our inner child’s curiosity and simply experience real life more genuinely.”


Thanks so much to all of the 2020 applicants! We look forward to following your work as you continue to grow in your careers.

We’re Accepting Applications:

The Chelsy Tomashoff Memorial Scholarship for Print Design Excellence accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year, and will be awarded to another student each year. More information can be found on the scholarship here.

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Thomas Group Printing is a family-owned print shop that ships nationwide. In addition to a variety of standard-sized printed resources, our experienced team can help you quote and print any custom job you can imagine.