On June 9th 2011, I received an AIGA BoNE award for my Contradiction Poster Series, and I like to tell you a little about the application process, when I found out I had won, and the event itself.

I’ve been a member of AIGA since 2009, was involved as an officer for my student chapter at RIT and after graduation volunteered, most notably for the Matthew Carter AIGA in the fall of 2010. In January, I opened my mailbox to find a call for entries for the 2011 BoNE show. “Where does my poster series fit in?” I thought. I perused through the entry guidelines and categories, and ultimately determined that there wasn’t an appropriate category and pushed the mailer to the corner of my desk and the back of mind.

A few weeks later, my Creative Director at the time, Laura O’Connell, called me over to her desk and had the 2010 BoNE Show website pulled up on her computer screen. “You should really consider entering your promotional poster series,” she told me. I recounted to her how I had thought about it, but couldn’t find a place it would fit in. We looked at the website together, and found the promotional category, perfect for my posters.

With a little confidence boost from my boss, I decided to take a chance. That same night I pulled the materials out from the previous Spring to see what I would have to do to get the application ready to send. I had one out of four posters made, and just enough Hahnemühle German Etching paper left to make the remaining three.

Three days before the deadline, my posters were made and my application was complete. Off it went to be judged, and I was sure, tossed in the “pass” pile.

About a month later, my boyfriend (now fiancé) asked me, “Hey, whatever happened to that competition you entered?” “Oh, well…I entered,” I answered, “But it’s likely I won’t hear anything or win anything.”

Two days later, my heart jumped into my throat as I listened to a voice mail telling me, “Congratulations! Your work has been selected for the 2010 BoNe Show!”

I had to wait two agonizing months until I could tell anyone – well besides my office, my family, some close friends and influential professors from RIT – the news.

Natalie J Mroczka 2011 AIGA BoNE Show Awards

Natalie J Mroczka 2011 AIGA BoNE Show Awards

At the time, and still now, the recognition is validation. I belong in the ranks of the best New England designers, including the ones I most admire and who gave me advice and guidance as I searched for my first job. The award gives me satisfaction and proof that I not only enjoy being a designer, but that I’m kind of talented too.