Writer: Douglas ThomasIf you thought your finals were stressful, imagine creating your final projects live, reality tv show–style, in front of three judges and thousands of your peers.
Ainsley Rose Romero, a senior at Brigham Young University graduating in graphic design, beat out students and young professional graphic designers from around the country to win Command X, the graphic design equivalent of Chopped, American Idol or The Great British Baking Show. CommandX is sponsored by AIGA, the largest professional association for design in the United States, and was held at its annual design conference in Pasadena, CA, earlier this month.
Just to qualify for the competition, Romero was chosen from a pool of hundreds of competitors, including students and recent graduates from across the country, many working at top design firms.
“I felt humbled and excited for an opportunity to not only present my work in front of hundreds of designers who I admire and look up to, but to show my process and the thinking behind all of my projects,” said Romero. “I felt like it was already a win to participate and anything beyond that point was icing on the cake.”
During the competition, Romero and six other competitors completed four creative brief – each akin to a major class project – with only one week to complete the first creative brief, and a mere 24 hours between each of the final three. If the punishing deadlines weren’t enough, the competitors presented their final designs on-stage to a panel of three judges and a full conference audience of designers. After each round of competition, two people were voted off the show.
Romero has already proved her mettle as a designer, presenter and thinker. She is a recipient of The Wheatley Student Scholarship which is awarded to students, nominated by faculty, who demonstrate leadership, outstanding character and integrity in addition to a notable academic track record.
Last summer, Romero completed an internship with the design team at The Wing in NYC. Along with her fellow students, Romero has presented her work to major designers and companies such as Pepsico and AIGA medalists Stephen Doyle and Gael Towey.
Romero’s work has already received plaudits from colleagues, judges and audience members.
As a competition winner, Romero received an all-expense-paid trip to the conference, a cash prize and national recognition for her work.
With more than the pride of being a winner, Romero left the competition feeling grateful for the countless opportunities her professors had offered her during her time at BYU.
“They have given me support, resources, and an expectation for greatness, and this win is truly theirs as much as it is mine.”