Artwork 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 First Night Monterey posterevent’s organizers.

The winning design was produced by Justine Herrera, a communication design major from San Jose. 

Herrera, 22, a transfer student from Foothill College, originally intended to major in science and pursue a career as a marine biologist. A graphic design class she took as an elective, and encouragement from a professor, motivated her to change majors.

Now, she plans to work in graphic arts and web design after her graduation next year.

Since 2003, members of Professor Bobbi Long’s Publications Design course have been creating the First Night poster, buttons and ads.

The students had to design around this year’s theme – Seachanges. According to the First Night website, Seachanges represents the majesty of the ocean and the issues of pollution.

"The seahorse was the most successful concept I created," Herrera said. "It was inspired by the short snout seahorse in the recent Secret Life of Seahorses exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Milton Glaser's Bob Dylan poster design."

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

Publication 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.

Justine Herrera"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."

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.

Photo courtesy of Justine Herrera