KPU student's Indigenous language preservation project wins at Salazar Awards

Mon, Jun 24, 2024

This year's student design award, the Salazar Awards organized by The Design Professionals of Canada, proved to be a success for nine students from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU).

Students in the Graphic Design for Marketing program at the Wilson School of Design at KPU won in two of four categories and received 10 honourable mentions.

Elias Lemke
Elias Lemke at the Wilson School of Design graduation show in April 2024.

Elias Lemke, a 2024 graduate, is among the students earning industry recognition. His project, Panagraph, focused on the cultural preservation of endangered Salishan languages in B.C., won the motion/video category and received an honourable mention in the branding category.

"I feel very honoured to receive this award from DesCan. This project was very meaningful to me, and I am excited to see it gain recognition," says Lemke. "I hope it sparks greater interest in adding language support to more of the typefaces we use."

Panagraph is a rebranding initiative for an organization supporting endangered languages. It utilizes Typotheque’s November typeface to display the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language accurately. The project emphasizes the importance of digital support for endangered languages and promotes using appropriate typefaces to reintroduce traditional place names in B.C.

The Salazar Awards are presented annually by the B.C. Chapter of the Design Professionals of Canada to students currently enrolled in design programs across the province. It recognizes exemplary design works in the branding, print, interactive and motion/video categories. 

"I'm incredibly proud of the success so many of our students are having," says Michael Cober, a design instructor at the Wilson School of Design at KPU. "What is satisfying is that the industry recognized nine students as emerging designers doing noteworthy work."

Cober says these awards are “stamps of approval” by the industry and let students know that their work meets industry standards and expectations, as they're judged by professionals in the field. 

"Many of our students are able to make the jump from the classroom to the agency often because they receive recognition from the Salazar Awards and other design awards," says Cober. "Seeing our students recognized also acts as a validation of our program, process and approach." 

In the last five years, students in the graphic design program have received nearly 100 awards and honourable mentions from various design competitions across Canada, as well as several international recognitions. In 2023, the Association of Registered Graphic Designers ranked the Wilson School of Design among the top three design schools in Canada.

Lemke and Cherlin Eggenfellner, who won in the branding category and was recognized with an honourable mention in the print category, received a $500 cash prize and a DesCan Salazar Certificate. 

KPU students Veronika Kansaka, Bella Sanchez, Matteo Ferralasco, Rowena Huang, Georgia Stone, Cali Martin and Cody Garcia received honourable mentions.

The Graphic Design for Marketing program is a four-year bachelor's degree program that focuses on developing design skills for marketing purposes. Students learn to create branding, develop advertising campaigns and study design as an integrated part of business strategies.

Video file
Elias Lemke's project, Panagraph, won the motion/video category and received an honourable mention in the branding category.