Jason Brady came to The University of North Carolina at Pembroke to play baseball and left an artist.
Brady, a 2001 UNCP graduate, was part of a graphic arts team that was honored recently for their design work in an international marketing competition. A newspaper advertising campaign, designed by Brady along with the marketing department of the Fayetteville Observer, was selected as one of four finalists in an annual competition sponsored by the International Newspaper Marketing Association (INMA).
Brady, a graphic designer, and Marketing Creative Manager Bryan Huffman traveled to New York City to attend the INMA annual world conference. Brady and Huffman are the graphics arm of the newspaper's marketing department.
"New York was great fun, and it was an honor to be selected as a finalist," Brady said. "Our whole department got in on this marketing campaign."
Entitled "Knowledge Changes Everything; Take A Closer Look," the branding campaign is a multi-year, multi-tiered program to promote the newspaper. For the third phase of the campaign, Brady and Huffman designed five newspaper ads that were based on important news themes.
Themes for the five ads are Heritage, Courage, Hope, Communities and Quality. Despite trends toward use of color in newspapers, The Fayetteville Observer chose to work in black and white, using photos taken by the newspaper's photographers.
"Almost all the entries were color, so it goes to show that you can do good work with black and white," Brady said. "We chose black and white to make it more dramatic."
The judges appreciated the clean lines and excellent photography in the ads. Brady said he learned a lot about art at UNCP working under Dr. John Labadie, who teaches graphic design.
"When I went to UNCP, I went to play baseball," Brady said. "Art did not cross my mind, and I did not know what a McIntosh was."
A class with Dr. Labadie, and Brady "fell in love with art."
"I took painting from Ralph Steeds and sculpture from Paul Van Zandt and had a blast with all of it," he said. "But to walk to the computer and hit 'new' is what is exciting because you have unlimited canvass and unlimited color."
Dr. Labadie said Brady's international recognition puts him at the top of his profession.
"Jason has done quite well and won his share of professional recognition and awards since graduating," Dr. Labadie said. "This is quite an achievement. Nothing like being recognized as being at the top of your chosen field at age 25 or so."
Brady said he is still learning.
"At UNCP I learned the art side, and at my first job with Up and Coming magazine, I started learning the print side," he said. "At the Fayetteville Observer, I am still learning the marketing side. The Fayetteville Observer is a great company to work for, and I learn something every day."
Brady still finds little time for playing ball these days. He and wife, the former Erica Jones, a 2001 UNCP graduate and former softball player, have a one-year-old daughter, Morgan.
"I've been too busy to get in the gym lately," Brady said. "Erica and I play on a co-ed softball team."