FNM's poster was designed by CSUMB student Richard VasquezArtwork by a CSUMB design student is gracing the marketing materials for First Night Monterey – the result of a longstanding relationship between the university and the event’s organizers.

Two milestones are being celebrated this year – the 20th anniversary of First Night Monterey and the 10th year that CSUMB students have done the design work.

The winning design was produced by Richard Vasquez, a communication design major from San Jose. Vasquez started college as a biology major, preparing to become a doctor. After three semesters of science courses, he realized that his passion was design.

"This year's theme is Celebrate Monterey," Vasquez said. "With that in mind, I headed to downtown Monterey and started taking photos while observing the rich history of the city.

"In the end, my design included three of the most recognizable buildings in Monterey: Colton Hall, the Royal Presidio Chapel at San Carlos Cathedral, and the Golden State Theater," he said.

Since 2003, members of Professor Bobbi Long’s Publications Design course have been designing the First Night poster, buttons and the ad that is mounted on buses.

“These projects give students real-world experience of working with a client and progressing through various stages of the design process,” Professor Long said.

Richard asquezPublication Design is not an art class "where students just have a muse. We teach them the actual design process. In design, you have to listen to your client, who tells you their needs and their ideas, and you interpret that," she said.

"This program gives students a chance to show their talents, skills, and creativity, but it also teaches them how to listen and respond to what they hear, as well as how to manage a project."

According to its website, First Night Monterey seeks to foster the public's appreciation of visual and performing arts through an innovative, diverse and high-quality program which provides a shared cultural experience accessible and affordable to all. The centerpiece is its alcohol-free celebration on New Year's Eve in downtown Monterey.

The First Night concept was created in 1976 by a group of citizens in Boston. It has grown to include celebrations in hundreds of cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. First Night Monterey premiered in 1993. The volunteer core has grown from 50 to 500; the audience has grown from 9,000 to 40,000; and participation as a performing or visual artist becomes more competitive each year. First Night Monterey has won awards for promoting the arts, building community and creating innovative programming.

Learn more about the design program at CSUMB.

Learn more about First Night Monterey.

Photo: Richard Vasquez