Anna Maack, Nick Bazzoni Named to GDUSA’s Students to Watch List

nick and anna holding gdusa magazine
Watkins College of Art

Anna Maack, Nick Bazzoni Named to GDUSA’s Students to Watch List

March 22, 2024 | by Haley Charlton

nick-and-anna.jpegAnna Maack and Nick Bazzoni, senior design communications majors within Belmont's Watkins College of Art, were recently named to Graphic Design USA magazine's “2024 Design Students to Watch" list, a prestigious recognition in the design world. This accolade acknowledges their outstanding talent and hard work, highlighting them as emerging designers with promising futures. 

For Maack, this recognition came as a delightful surprise. "It is truly a huge honor and privilege that I was not expecting whatsoever," she shared. "This recognition not only gives me more confidence to continue the hard work I've been doing for so many years but also solidifies that this is the career path I've been set out to pursue as a graphic designer." 

Bazzoni reflected on the honor with a sense of gratitude and validation. "In seeing the other students who were featured in the publication, I couldn’t tell you how honored I felt to be placed next to all of that talent," he said. "It felt really validating to see all my hard work pay off." 

Bazzoni's award-winning Addiction Campaign caught the attention of GDUSA, leading to his inclusion in the magazine. “Ad campaigns always provide me with opportunities to try something new and think outside the box,” Bazzoni said. “I would consider my style to be very clean, sleek and a little bit corporate. My mentor told me that I have a unique capability of capturing the humanity in what it means to be human – imperfections and all.” 

He also acknowledged the influence of his mentor, Professor of Practice Doug Regen, and the transformative impact of his courses, like Narrative and Advocacy Design. "Through that class, I learned that design is more than learning how to communicate information, it’s about how to give information a voice," he shared. “It’s how you make your design scream when you want it to scream and how to make it whisper when you want it to whisper.” 

Maack’s standout project, an ad campaign for national advocacy initiative Unlock the Box aimed at ending solitary confinement in the U.S., showcased her ability to merge impactful messaging with compelling design elements.

"I forced myself to go outside of my comfort zone stylistically, which was a challenge, but paid off in the end and stretched me as a designer,” Maack explained. “Using only black and white, grunge textures, bold type and sketched elements, I believe I compiled a project that really leaves room for depth and feeling as well as aesthetics, which is so important in advertising campaigns like this. It was also so rewarding to work on a project I'm passionate about and truly think about what would make viewers not only develop empathy, but advocate for change upon seeing these sorts of advertisements.” 

Both students credit Belmont's unique programs and creative community for their success, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and diverse learning experiences.  

"I owe 100% everything I've learned to Belmont," said Maack. “Most of the classes at Watkins are small, which has been so incredible to allow me to grow and learn and be inspired by my peers, and all my professors have influenced different parts of my journey as a designer.” 

Bazzoni added that Belmont's emphasis on collaboration has played a significant role in his development as a designer. “I have the absolute pleasure of working alongside students who I believe to be some of the best designers in the country,” he said. “They’re always bringing new ideas to the table and encouraging me to push my work to new levels. Everyone is so ambitious, and it inspires me to dream big and aim high.” 

In looking ahead, both students offered advice to aspiring designers. Maack encourages thinking outside the box and gaining early experience, while Bazzoni emphasizes the importance of going beyond the project checklist and embracing ambitious creativity to take the extra step. 

As they continue their journey in graphic design, Maack and Bazzoni stand as shining examples of Belmont's commitment to nurturing and empowering the next generation of creative professionals.