Students gain valuable professional experience in the process.

CCM Design Course Provides Students with Professional Experience, Produces Nationally Award-Winning Literary Magazine

Last year, six students banded together in a design studio class at the County College of Morris (CCM) and worked in a real-world environment to produce a slick, 48-page magazine entitled the 2008 Promethean Literary & Arts Magazine. That publication recently won two national design awards, competing with major corporations and professional advertising agencies across the country.

The students, who worked under the guidance of Stephen Longo, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Graphic Design, were Brian Manna, Wharton; Craig Clifford, Denville; Alex D’Angelo, Long Valley; Cory Bohner, Long Valley; Justin Bradford, Denville; and Michelle Berardesco, Randolph. Most of them have gone on to four-year colleges.

Legacy of Excellence

“The Promethean Literary & Arts Magazine has been entered in international and national design competitions over the past six years and has won more than 20 awards,” says Longo, who has overseen the program during that time. The 2008 Promethean Literary & Arts Magazine won the American Graphic Design & Advertising Award and the American Graphic Design Award. Once an extracurricular activity, the design and production of the magazine has been developed into a demanding 15-week course in the Visual Arts Department.

“The students who step up to this course are taking a heavy load,” Longo says, “The studio environment and teamwork are difficult to adapt to at times, but students who come into the course pick it up quickly and learn to count on team members to get the job done.” At the end of the semester, the students go professional with an internship in a real design studio at an advertising agency, publishing house, printing company or other design environment.

“Students learn the basic principles of how a publishing firm would work on a 48-page brochure specific to the literary and arts area,” Longo says. They learn proofreading, professional design software and various aspects of publication design including the fine art of typography. They also produce comps (prototype versions of the publication), review proofs and go on print runs.

“Every student gets a color and black & white spread to design. In addition, they all design a front cover and then we vote on which one to use,” Longo says. Every year the publication has a different theme. In 2008, the Promethean had a contemporary, clean look.

“The students who persist in this course show extraordinary character,” Longo says. “They stay with something that is so demanding because it represents the college. The image of the college, essentially, is in the hands of students and one lone professor.”

“I am very happy to have won these awards,” Craig Clifford, one of the award-winning students says. “I had a lot of fun working on the project and was very proud of it. For our group to have won two awards… it really shows the effort we put into it.”

Michelle Berardesco sees it as an affirmation of her career choice. “Art has always been my passion and getting recognition for that, and having my art appreciated really gives me inspiration for my future as a graphic designer,” Berardesco says.

“This course brings students to a higher level of understanding of the publication industry,” Longo says. “When they see they are in a competitive arena with the professionals, and in some cases come out on top, it inspires them to work harder.”

The American Graphic Design Award

The CCM magazine competed with more than 8,000 other entries across the nation to win the American Graphic Design Award. Only 15 percent of entries are chosen for that honor. Graphic Design USA sponsored the 40-year-old competition, which was open to graphic design firms, advertising agencies, corporations, institutions, publishers and more.

The American Graphic Design & Advertising Award

Students competed with major corporations and advertising agencies to win the American Graphic Design & Advertising Award. Founded 25 years ago by noted authority on logo design and corporate identity, David E. Carter, the competition is a highly respected showcase for the very best graphic design and print advertising in the nation. Past winners have included Adobe, EOS Airlines, FedEx, Unilever, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The winners are published in a hard-bound book that is distributed worldwide and this year they will be able to visually display their winning piece on the AGDA’s Web site.

Brian Manna, now a student at Ramapo, sums up the significance of the awards for himself and future design students. “With a mere two years of college experience, I find it remarkable to be able to compete with professionals in the industry on a national level. The awards are a true testament to the college and its staff.”

For more information about the Graphic Design program at CCM, call 973-328-5100 or visit