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AACC Graphic Designer Wins Emmy Award

Sharon Mager
View Bio
September 10, 2015

Ben Pierce, a graphic designer at Anne Arundel Community College (AACC), was the recipient of a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences National Capitol Chesapeake Bay Chapter regional Emmy Award. While working in public relations at George Washington University (GW), Pierce collaborated with his colleague, videographer Stephen Fisher, to create the marketing video “Financing A George Washington Education.”

Pierce explained that the Chesapeake Bay Chapter Emmy’s are awards that have regional interest rather than national. The Severna Park resident was tasked with creating a video explaining how GW supports students in financing their education, and he partnered with Fisher to develop a piece that would be a useful resource for potential students. “We wanted to show the possibilities in a cool, graphic way,” Pierce said.

Pierce started with a script and rough sketches as a storyboard. He designed the still frames using Adobe Illustrator, and Fisher animated the images using Adobe After Effects.

“I wanted something that had lots of motion, so I tried to incorporate lines that could be constantly moving or changing during each frame,” Pierce said. “When you watch the video, you’ll see that there is always movement, which adds to the visual interest and keeps the viewer engaged.”

The university submitted the video for the award after Pierce had transitioned to his role at AACC in October 2014. The award was the first Emmy that Pierce received, though he was part of a team that was awarded a Webby Award for a virtual tour of GW. The Webby Award covers international media and honors excellence on the Internet.

As he did at GW, Pierce now uses his talent to promote the educational opportunities at AACC through graphic design. He designs print, web and environmental graphics — everything from fliers and brochures to digital ads — as a member of the public relations and marketing department.

“Since I have been at AACC, I’ve gotten to work on a lot of really great projects, such as our new athletics mascot — the Riverhawks — and other big initiatives, like our smoke-free campaign,” Pierce explained. “Working at the college is great because I feel that the work I do is meaningful, and when I walk around campus, I get to see how my contribution has made a difference.”

Pierce was initially unsure what career to pursue. A friend recommended that he take a design course. “It was a perfect fit for me because it combined creativity with problem solving and communication,” Pierce emphasized. “Plus, you can see the tangible results of the work you’re doing. That’s really motivating for me.”

The graphic designer and his wife, Jessica, lived in Falls Church, Virginia, but moved to the Manhattan Beach community of Severna Park in 2012. Jessica grew up in the area and was happy to be home. Pierce is pleased to have a much shorter and calmer commute.

“I really enjoy working in the community where I live,” Pierce said. He is also proud to be affiliated with AACC. “It has a reputation for putting students first,” he said. “Since I came here, I really feel that everybody is passionate about supporting students and ensuring their success.”

Pierce enjoys water sports, paddle boarding, swimming and boating. He and his wife have three young girls: 3-year-old Brooke, 2-year-old Courtney and 6-month-old Holly.

View Pierce’s award-winning video, "Financing A GW Education."

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