Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Winona State Student Wins “Steal This Idea” Graphic Design Contest

Karleigh Johnson
Third-year art and design student, Stephanie Dasbach, smiling brightly holding her design of Winona States’s Homecoming theme: Channel The Flannel.

The Association of College Unions International recently presented its annual “Steal this Idea” contest in which professionals and students from around the globe competed for the very best graphic design and marketing submissions. The contest submissions include promotional items such as brochures, posters, merchandise, digital campaigns and more. Stephanie Dasbach, a third-year art and design student at Winona State, had entered five submissions into the contest. Three of them won.

“I honestly didn’t know much about the contest but my boss, Tracy Rahim, knew about it and helped me submit my design work,” Dasbach said. “I had no idea how competitive this contest was, but it was interesting to see other college student’s work around the nation.”

Beginning in 1914, the ACUI is the largest student activity and student union association, with judges selected from across the country to determine the best graphic design submissions, and the “Steal this Idea” contest is by far one of the greatest and most competitive student graphic design contests in the nation.

“When I heard that I was selected for the awards, I was so overwhelmed with pride and joy. It made all that design work and the long hours spent on the projects feel celebrated,” Dasbach said.

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Dasbach was the very first Winona State student ever to enter, winning 2nd place for Homecoming Logo/Brand Identity, 2nd place for Homecoming Digital Campaign, and receiving Honorable Mention for Homecoming Calendar/Schedule.

Dasbach’s winning submissions all began when she was hired for an internship in promotional work for Winona State in the fall. Rahim typically hired a graphic design intern every year for the school’s large-scale events such as Homecoming, the Warrior Game Day Experience and I Love WSU Day.

“Steph met with me in spring 2023 to discuss the internship and showed me some of her portfolio work. I hired her based on her creativity, positive energy, and desire to really become involved in the events and traditions she was helping to promote,” Rahim said.

An I-Design major with a concentration in Business and Marketing, and with a Marketing minor, Dasbach already spends much of her time working on big projects, with experience in Adobe software to create engaging digital content, in addition to working with physical prints.

“I-Design is different from the basic graphic design major because each student gets to choose a concentration. I chose the Business & Marketing concentration, therefore around a quarter of required major classes are marketing classes,” Dasbach said.


Rahim explains that Dasbach’s internship at Winona State helped her learn more about what graphic design work really looks like, learning concepts such as logo development and creating branding for every event. Dasbach designed merchandise, print pieces, and social media graphics in addition to her general branding and logo work.

“Steph starts out with a vision and inspiration and runs with it. The challenge with the homecoming logo branding was that once we established the full-color design, she had to figure out how to translate them into one-color and two-color designs depending on how we would use them,” Rahim said.

Rahim continues to explain that you cannot always print something in full color, for something such as merchandise for example, but Dasbach worked out her designs to accommodate many different forms.

“Steph is very easy-going, creative, inquisitive, and reliable. She took feedback and others’ ideas and wove them into her own creative process which was incredible to see in her final products,” Rahim said.

In addition to staying busy with graphic design, Dasbach is a part of the Winona State Women’s Basketball team. She has used her artistic skills to create posts for her team’s social media, in addition to creating senior posters. She also designed the “Think Pink” shirts for the Athletic Department and SAAC this year.

“Besides her internship and classes, Steph became involved in the Student Athlete Advisory Counsil this year to represent women’s basketball,” Rahim said.  “It is very difficult for student athletes to really get involved on campus due to their time commitments of their sport, but Steph had really good organization and time management to accomplish everything she wanted to do.”

Rahim continues to explain that she is very proud to see Dasbach proud of her own work. The internship allowed her to release designs that were enjoyed all over campus, with merchandise being worn, posters hung up and even stickers on friends’ water bottles. Hundreds of t-shirts were given out during the Warrior Game Day Experience that Dasbach had created herself.

“My entire life I have been an athlete and an artist, but I didn’t think art would become a part of my profession,” Dasbach said.

Dasbach had taken a graphic design class on a whim during high school to learn more about how to make digital art. She describes that she instantly fell in love and continued her passion from there.

One of Dasbach’s professors had taught her the difference between art and design, and she explains that it truly helped her approach to becoming a better designer. She mentions that many expect designers to simply create what they like, but rather, design is the crafting of information and art together to enhance one’s observation.

“Art is made in all mediums and usually has meaning, feelings, and a story behind it. Design has a purpose and a function that is crafted in a way for others to use it to provoke new emotions,” Dasbach said.

While art and design are different concepts, Dasbach explains that she considers her design as art as well, because there is much creative thought behind it all.

“Life is honestly my biggest inspiration. It sounds basic but I love observing the media, society, marketing schemes, how people interact with information and what is popular at the moment,” Dasbach said. “I am a designer more than I am an artist, therefore, I am not creating for myself or my needs.”

Rahim hopes that students will find inspiration through Dasbach’s work, as you never know where an opportunity could get you. Dasbach decided to take advantage of the opportunities that came her way and ended up winning awards because of it. Dasbach explains that you should always continue to learn and add new skillsets to your work, as there will continuously be something new to use.

“Keep believing in yourself and your designs, art can be so abstract and come from any person at any time,” Dasbach said. “The great thing about art and design is that there is no specific way to get a beautiful final project.”

After graduation, Dasbach hopes to begin her own design agency. One of her dreams is to become Senior Graphic Designer for a company that applies to her interests and lifestyle, such as Nike, to work with athlete collaborations. She also hopes to travel the world.

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About the Contributor
Karleigh Johnson
Karleigh Johnson, News Reporter
Karleigh Johnson (she/her/hers) is a reporter for the Winonan as of fall 2023. She started off at North Hennepin Community College and transferred to Winona State University in her third year to Major in Creative Digital Media and Minor in both Film Studies and Spanish. 
After attending Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion, Karleigh continues to have a passion for the Spanish language and culture. She studied in Spain through Winona State University in May of 2023. Karleigh enjoys travel, art, writing, photography and videomaking. 
Karleigh participated in the Disney College Program in Spring 2022 and became a Disney Trainer. After graduation, she hopes to return to Disney by working for one of the many media and entertainment companies Disney owns. Her dream is to write her own television show inspired by comedic styles of The Office, Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development, and many others.

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