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Angela Kilburg '18 Wins Prestigious Design Award

Angela Kilburg ‘18 couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Standing outside of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City on a visit with fellow graphic design students, she took a call from Ian at the Society of Publication Designers (SPD), who told her she had just won first place in the Student Design Competition. Kilburg replied, “I’m sorry, I don’t think I heard you right. What did you say?”

Indeed, Kilburg had won one of the most prestigious honors awarded to an undergraduate design student, made more remarkable by the fact that she is only a sophomore. She created her layout for the conceived story “How to Build a Terrarium Like a Pro” in the publication design course taught by Camille Murphy, assistant professor of graphic and interactive design here at Moravian College, in which Kilburg and fellow students had to conceive of a magazine of their choice and design two spreads for a feature story that would be entered into the SPD competition.

“My idea was to create a trendy interior design magazine for young women,” says Kilburg, who chose to compose a feature for a spring issue of her magazine Dwelling about building a terrarium. Her editorial goal: to offer readers a way to bring life and color into a tiny apartment.  

Kilburg began her approach to the story by researching terrariums and design trends. Discovering the current emphasis on geometry in design, she chose to use a circle in her title treatment to represent the empty terrarium and the surrounding plants, the contents.

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“I wanted the story to feel elegant, so I used a lot of white space,” explains Kilburg. “That’s something I haven’t done with my other designs, which are much more full and compact.

“I incorporated diagonal lines as a motif throughout and added pieces of photo-illustrations of plants to tie it all together,” continues Kilburg. And she created controversy over the solid triangle she placed at the bottom of the second spread. “I didn’t use it at first—there was simply empty white space with a diagonal, but my immediate thought was that I wanted to add more color, so I built the triangle. The class ripped into it and I questioned myself but I kept it in. It helps anchor the page and it repeats the diagonal motif.” Kilburg has since expanded the feature with a third spread that incorporates another solid shape, which lends the triangle more meaning.

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For class, students were required to design a complete 24-page publication, which they printed through, but Kilburg is so thoroughly absorbed by her magazine and editorial publication design in general, she plans to expand Dwelling beyond 24 pages.

When she’s not designing, she’s dancing and is a member of the Moravian College dance company. She performs jazz, tap, and contemporary but likes ballet best. “It’s disciplined,” explains this detail-oriented, self-proclaimed perfectionist. “There’s an exactness, a right way and a wrong way, and of course the genre is so graceful and expressive.”

Like Kilburg herself--graceful, expressive, and full of intensity in the pursuit of her passion. And that’s an award-winning combination.


At the SPD Gala (from left to right): Clinton Cargill, Philip Smith, Angela Kilburg, and Ian Doherty. Photo courtesy: Laurel Golio.