When her family installed Greetings Workshop — a program that allows users to create their own greeting cards — on their first computer, a young Caitlyn Berardi informed her mother that she wanted to design cards for a living when she grew up. Years later, after being named the winner of a highly competitive graphic design contest, the Rider University senior is well on her way to making that dream come true.
While interning at Allegra Print and Imaging this past summer, Berardi was offered the chance to enter the company’s annual Holiday Card Contest.
The winning entry was to be featured as Allegra Network’s greeting card and sent out to clients throughout the winter months.
Vying against approximately 40 skilled graphic designers, Berardi was well aware that the competition was anything but easy.
“I heard about it through the other designers in the graphics department who were too busy with work to participate,” she said. “They suggested I give it a try, especially since I had the chance of winning $500 along with my card being printed for use throughout the Allegra Network.”
The determined intern took the advice of her colleagues and decided to take a chance on the contest. At the very least, she figured, it would give her material for her portfolio.
Going out on a limb proved to be incredibly successful for Berardi. In late August, after her internship was completed, she was informed through e-mail that her entry had been chosen as the winner.
“My jaw dropped when I opened up my inbox that day,” Berardi said. “I was so excited and so surprised. They gave me an award and a letter along with my check.”
Entrance into the contest came with its own challenges, making success even that much sweeter for Berardi. One of the largest obstacles she faced was coming up with an entry that was appropriate for all winter holidays.
“It was hard to steer away from Christmas trees and gifts, so I designed several different options to see what would work best for a non-denominational entry,” she said.
The result was a seasonally-themed card focusing on winter’s most famous symbol: the snowflake.
“I used a light green background with different sized opaque snowflakes scattered throughout,” Berardi said. “On the bottom of the card, I used red and green stripes in order to add some contrast from the background and to emphasize the text, which simply states ‘Happy Holidays’ flush right in a cursive text.”
With such a huge accomplishment, the senior graphic design major is passionate about doing more work in this field.
She credits her internships with Allegra and the Trenton Devils for giving her hands-on experience and ultimately reinforcing her desire to work in graphic design.
“When I graduate in May, I am definitely going to be looking for a job dealing with graphic design,” said Berardi. “I couldn’t be happier or more excited to hopefully enter a field that I was interested in when I was little.”