The Olympics have not yet begun, but the Western New York Catholic has brought home some gold. The diocesan newspaper received four awards at the Catholic Press Association's annual media conference held June 1-3.
Graphic designer Carolyn Luick actually competed with herself, taking first and third place for Best Online Ad. She also received an honorable mention for her individual excellence. The paper earned an honorable mention for its annual financial report that ran in the February 2015 issue.
Luick's "Issues Are Rarely Simple" ad, originally created for the print issue of the paper, but carried over to wnycatholic.org and linked with a subscription form, earned her the first place award.
Third place was given for her series of papal visit graphics that appeared as links on the main diocesan webpage, bringing the reader to Bishop Malone's blog, streaming video, and coverage of stories on the WNY Catholic site during Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C., last September.
The individual excellence award is open to all diocesan newspaper staff and based on five examples of their finest work. Luick submitted the 2015 Cemetery supplement cover, a full-page cemetery ad that promoted fall open houses, the Respect Life supplement cover, a black and white Family Life ad, and a color promotional ad for the Western New York Catholic. So, life and death seem to be her strong suits.
"The imagery seems to lend itself to good design," she said.
The creative process starts when a customer calls in asking for an ad. From there, Luick tries to find the balance between graphics and text to appeal to the reader.
"I always try to keep in mind the ultimate reason for what we're doing and have relevant imagery that supports the message we're trying to convey," she said. "I learn as much as I can about the subject matter of an ad, then start designing from there; what the main purpose of the ad would be. It's not always imagery that's important. If your main point is to get people to sign up for a pilgrimage, it's not so much the vacation shots that are enticing people, it's the information about what kind of stops they will be making."
Luick began working at the Western New York Catholic five years ago. She got her start in graphic design by helping an older sister, a commercial artist. After attending the Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts and the Rochester Institute of Technology, she started a career in biomedical illustration working in Miami Beach, where she sat in on operations to draw the human anatomy for medical journals and books.
"Need to know what a gallbladder looks like? I'm your girl," she said proudly.
These awards will hang on Luick's wall along with her 2013 honorable mention for Best House Ad, a 2012 second place for Best Use of Art or Graphics for an Ad, and her 2012 third place for Best Example of Effective Advertising Promotion Originating with Publication.
"It feels good, but the work isn't just my own," she said. "I do think it's a reflection on the paper. It's not just a reflection on me. I think we're a good team and we work well together. I think being surrounded by people who share your professionalism and desire to do a good job is important as well."