By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Jase Hueser was almost destined to attend the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
His grandfather Jerry Hueser is the winningest men’s basketball coach in school history, compiling 519 victories over 26 seasons from 1970 to 1996, and his father Joel Hueser played for the Lopers from 1984-88.
Now Jase Hueser is finding his own success at UNK, but not in the sport his family loves.
“I’m 6-foot-6, but I don’t play basketball,” he said.
Instead, Hueser is drawn to art.
“I always was really intrigued by art,” he said. “I think around junior high I started discovering art could translate into an actual vocation besides just studio work.”
That background, combined with his interest in computers, made graphic design the perfect fit.
Hueser dabbled in graphic design while attending Papillion-La Vista South High School, doing some work for local clients, then enrolled at UNK because of its strong art and design department.
The visual communication and design major enjoys the challenge of coming up with a creative way to communicate a message, whether it’s through a company logo, branding campaign or promotional poster.
“A lot of people assume that graphic design is just kind of this vapid profession where you make pretty pictures on a computer screen,” he said. “But there’s a lot of logic that goes into it, a lot of psychology.”
Admittedly, his design process often starts with some self-doubt before that aha moment when everything starts to come together.
The end result is usually quite spectacular. Just ask the judges from last month’s Nebraska ADDY awards.
Hueser earned six awards, including best of show, while competing against student designers from across the state during the event hosted by the American Advertising Federations of Lincoln and Omaha. UNK visual communication and design students claimed a total of 16 awards at the event hosted at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Omaha, and assistant professor Sam Rapien took gold in the professional category for his work on the Imagination Day posters.
Hueser, who received four golds, a silver and a special judges’ citation, called the best of show win “very humbling.”
“There was a lot of really great work from the other students,” he said, adding that it can be “a bit intimidating” to see the creativity coming from UNK and other Nebraska schools.
The UNK junior took the top honor with a project from his typography II class. The assignment was to create a cross-platform promotional campaign for a Halloween or horror movie.
Hueser, who isn’t into horror flicks, chose the 1944 film “Arsenic and Old Lace” starring Cary Grant. The dark comedy focuses on a man, recently married on Halloween, as he uncovers the truth about his insane family, including a pair of aunts who are secretly poisoning lonely bachelors with arsenic.
“There’s that funny dichotomy of cute, old lady, and then murderer,” Hueser said. “I wanted to capture that.”
His promotional package includes movie posters, a wine bottle and social media and online components that represent the absurdity of the film in a format that’s both 1940s and 21st century.
“They said it was really cohesive with all of those elements,” he said of the judges’ remarks.
Hueser, who works in video production for the Buckle, is part of the UNK Honors Program and president of the local International Justice Mission chapter, which combats human trafficking. He’s also a member of the professional design association AIGA, a UNK Student Senate representative and secretary of the treasury for the incoming student body president and vice president.
The 21-year-old plans to intern at an Omaha design studio this summer and work in graphic design after college.
“Long-term, I wouldn’t mind going into academics or teaching design,” he said.
Winners from the Nebraska ADDY awards, hosted Feb. 17 at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Omaha:
Jase Hueser of Papillion
Best of Show – cross-platform consumer campaign – “Arsenic and Old Lace” movie event
Gold – out-of-home and ambient media (single) – film score infographic
Gold – out-of-home and ambient media (single) – design movement synthesis
Gold – cross-platform consumer campaign – “Arsenic and Old Lace” movie event
Gold – elements of advertising (animation or special effects) – next steps informative motion
Silver – sales and marketing packaging – Florence jazz album cover
Special judges’ citation – out-of-home and ambient media (single) – film score infographic
Maggie Pierson of Omaha
Gold – out-of-home and ambient media (single) – senior exhibition poster
Gold – elements of advertising (illustration) – poppy scientific illustration
Silver – out-of-home and ambient media (single) – lifetime infographic
Silver – cross-platform consumer campaign – “Clue” murder mystery and movie night
Special judges’ citation – out-of-home and ambient media (single) – lifetime infographic
Sarah Styron of Lincoln
Gold – sales and marketing packaging – Empress Wine
Silver – direct marketing – Senior Show promotion
Hannah DeWald of Louisville, Kentucky
Silver – sales and marketing packaging – True Hoppiness
John Shea of Blair
Silver – sales and marketing packaging – Nectar perfume
Silver – sales and marketing packaging – Ceiba tequila
Silver – cross-platform integrated brand identity campaign – Lunar Society Surf Co.
Special judges’ citation – sales and marketing packaging – Ceiba tequila
Professional gold – poster campaign – UNK Imagination Day posters
Writer: Tyler Ellyson, writing specialist, UNK News, 308.865.8529, firstname.lastname@example.org