Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hobby' leads to int'l award for designer

Apriadi Gunawan , The Jakarta Post , Medan | Sun, 05/11/2008 12:37 PM | Discover

Junius Alberto Lumban Tobing. grand prize winner of the Topcoder Collegiate Challenge graphic design competition, poses for a photograph with his laptop at his home in Medan, North Sumatra. (JP/Apriadi Gunawan)Junius Alberto Lumban Tobing. grand prize winner of the Topcoder Collegiate Challenge graphic design competition, poses for a photograph with his laptop at his home in Medan, North Sumatra. (JP/Apriadi Gunawan)

Junius Alberto Lumban Tobing spends at least eight hours a day in front of his computer. The programs he likes to use the most are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Junius "tinkers" with these two programs all the time to increase his abilities in the field of graphic design.

Without a doubt, it is Junius' diligent "tinkering" with Photoshop and Illustrator that bore him fruit: This fifth semester student of Computer Sciences in the Mathematics and Environmental Science Faculty of North Sumatra University placed first in an international graphic design competition last November based in Orlando, Florida, the United States.

Junius defeated seven other finalists from the U.S., Argentina, Canada, India and Poland in this competition, after beating out about 300 other foreign contestants.

In addition to emerging the champion of the TopCoder Collegiate Challenge, Junius was also awarded a cash prize of US$15,000.

The 24-year-old said he was very proud of having been chosen the winner of this world-class graphic design contest.

"It means that the creativity of designers in Indonesia are not inferior to those overseas. This gives me pride and, at the same time, the motivation for greater achievements," said Junius, the second of five chidren.

He explained that he did not meet with any great difficulties in the contest, because creating graphic designs on his computer was already a habit. Junius is a self-taught designer, and said that his dedication to his "hobby" grew out of his fondness for drawing as a child.

By the time he entered university, Junius had become a skilled graphic designer, and by the time he reached his fifth semester of studies, he had started working as a freelancer for an advertising company in Medan.

"My work experience of three years with the advertising company made me increasingly ready for a competition," said Junius, who wants to continue his studies after graduating to broaden his knowledge of graphic design.

He said that the task the contest's three jury members - from the U.S., Canada and the Philippines - assigned to the finalists was complex. However, his "habit" and experience enabled him to complete it easily.

"The finalists were given eight hours to produce a brochure and postcard using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator," said Junius, whose final brochure and postcard used an abstract image of a computer with fresh and futuristic design elements.

The jury evaluated each finalist's design according to its neatness or seamlessness, typography, color and level of difficulty. In the final evaluation, the jury awarded the highest score of 86 points to Junius, followed by 84 points to an Indonesian contestant studying in Singapore and he third highest score of 82 points to an Argentinean contestant.

"It goes without saying that I was very honored when the jurors gave my design the highest score. This is my first achievement at the international level," said Junius. He added that earlier in 2007, he had won a gold award for the digital processing he implemented at a Medan-based tabloid.

Junius is highly grateful that he was able to win two first-place titles within the same year. However, it appears there is more in store for the young designer.

"The plan is, I'll leave for Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 11 to enter the TopCoder Open 2008. This contest is open to the public, and involves professionals, university students and high school students," he said.

According to Junius, this competition is vastly more difficult than the TopCoder Collegiate Challenge, from which the jury has selected 12 of the 300 contestants to participate in the TopCoder Open.

When asked what he planned to do in preparing for the Open, Junius replied that he would give his very best effort to make it to the finals.

Regarding the current recognition for graphic design, Junius said that he would be happy if people, particularly residents of Medan, had a high appreciation for this field.

"Graphic designers in Medan already show good-quality work. However, some of them are restricted by the systems at their current workplaces. As a result, they cannot produce designs that are able to reveal solid messages through imagery," he said.

Junius also mentioned that graphic designers were gen

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