Imagine you’re in front of an admiring crowd, all of whom are smiling and cheering as you inch toward the microphone. You’ve just received a prestigious award, and as everyone quiets down for you to humbly accept, your mind goes blank.
Not long ago, Eddie Arcilla found himself in just this situation. A 25-year-old Sacramento City College graphic design student, Arcilla received top honors in the student categories of Sacramento’s 2012 Addy Awards held March 21 at Elks Tower.
“I was really shocked,” he said. “I didn’t even know I was going up there to make a speech. I was in awe.”
The Addy Awards, hosted every year by the Sacramento Ad Club, recognize excellence in the local marketing and advertising industry. Earlier this year, the Ad Club held an open call for entries on its website, and contestants made their submissions in a variety of media forms, all vying for the coveted “Best of Show” award. Arcilla came out on top, earning awards in two different student categories including “Best of Show,” and now is eligible for the district-level Addy awards later this year.
“I didn’t even intend to submit my work,” said Arcilla, who wasn’t aware of the Addy Awards until a friend brought the open call for entries to his attention. “My friend sent me the link and said, ‘Maybe you should enter this? And now!’”
Arcilla, who used a final project from one of his past typography classes as his Addy entry, said the response from the crowd was unbelievable.
“That night was so crazy,” he said. “I couldn’t even make it back to my seat without someone wanting to give me a business card! It was about two days before everything really hit me and started to sink in.”
Born in the Philippines, Arcilla moved with his family to Folsom in 1995. From a very young age, Arcilla liked to draw anything from cartoon characters to real life people, and even then, he was praised for his creativity.
“Throughout my childhood, everyone always told me how artistic I was, but I never really thought anything of it. I just liked drawing,” he said. “I used to draw all the time. Some [characters] I’d make up, and some were from videos games I played, mostly based on Final Fantasy 8. I also drew dinosaurs and people like Albert Einstein, which actually won an award when I was in middle school because everyone liked it. The school framed it and presented it to me in front of the whole school.”
A self-taught graphic designer, Arcilla says it was as early as high school when he sought to refine that creativity into a viable career path. In his senior year, he won a contest to design his high school’s video production class logo. It was then, he said, that he started to become more serious about graphic design.
“I said to myself, ‘Hey, I like doing this! I want to be in a creative environment and also get paid.’”
Arcilla started trying to learn programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop after winning the logo competition.
“I was pretty determined not to only familiarize myself with photoshop but to master it,” he said. “I would go online and look up tutorials, buy books, magazines on how to do this and that and techniques on how to select objects, how to use certain tools and whatnot. And from that, I started doing photo manipulations, typography, etc.”
Arcilla admits that when he was not out with friends, or even in spare moments during class, he would get on a computer and “start messing around,” he said.
Wanting to learn as much as he could about design, Arcilla enrolled at Sac City after graduating Folsom High. By the time he started taking design classes in college, he already knew a lot about the programs being used in his classes.
While he plans to transfer to Sacramento State next fall, Arcilla admits that at the moment, school is a secondary pursuit.
“For me, I don’t see my education as getting to a degree. My purpose for school is to learn as much as I can and sharpen my skills in design.”
Currently, Arcilla is creative director at iSnap, a Sacramento-founded social media company and an Addy Awards show sponsor. iSnap creates photo stations where users can take a photo of themselves at events or venues and then automatically tag themselves and friends on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Companies, iSnap clients who host the photo booths, can then use social media communication for promotional or informational purposes.
“We have one set up at Blue Cue, and have had them at places like bars, nightclubs, etc.,” said Arcilla.
Approached about a year ago by iSnap co-founders Alex Lowe and Dat Tau, Arcilla now considers himself gatekeeper of the company’s image.
“I’m responsible for revamping the image and identity of iSnap,” he said. “Beyond the original logo, I’m responsible for the look and feel of iSnap, whether through print, videos, graphics or web design. [Lowe and Tau] give me a lot of creative freedom, and I love that about my job.”
Arcilla worked as a freelance graphic designer for about five years prior to getting hired at iSnap. And Sacramento, he says, has been good to him. “Most of my clients have been in the Sacramento area.”
But to Arcilla, it’s about more than money in the bank. “I’m very passionate about design, and I don’t see it as just a job.”
Arcilla says he subscribes to no particular artistic style, but his work tends to be minimalistic and attention-grabbing – and there is no better representation of this than his Addy Award-winning project.
Last semester, a class assignment called for Arcilla to act as head designer in a marketing campaign for a fictional event at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The event was a monthlong retrospective exhibit on the typeface Gotham. Arcilla not only created billboards and posters that would serve as promotional teasers for the event, he also created a brochure, mock tickets and video commercials for the event.
Speaking of promotional teasers, one of the iSnap’s creative director’s current projects is a new video campaign, with videos to be released soon, he said.
“They’re just an overview of our company, and how our machines are made,” he said. “Just a feel-good type of video for our clients and users.”
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