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UC Davis Students Take First Place in National Design Competition

The De3ign Girls, a team consisting of Fiona Micoleau (B.A. communications ’20), Alexandria Reyes (B.A. communications and design ’20), and Isabella Shmelev (B.A. design ’20), took first place in the Brand X Challenge, a national experience design competition for undergraduate design, architecture and marketing students. The trio was awarded $5,000 and internships for their submission, (em)POWERED by Beauty, a Sephora Pop-Up.  

The goal of the De3ign Girls’ project is to celebrate beauty and diversity by showcasing how power and technology have empowered a generation and a global makeup community. This pop-up pays homage to specific cities’ makeup trends and the role they have played in encouraging self-expression.

The pop-up holds the Belong Campaign Manifesto at its core and takes design inspiration from Sephora’s branding and a retro-futuristic aesthetic. The interactions are designed to be stylish, social-media-driven, and to illustrate how cities and beauty lovers are (em)POWERED by Beauty.

The completed project included everything to create a successful pop-up: exterior and interior designs, floor plans, a logo, branding graphics and consumer experience concepts.

“Although we all came from different backgrounds in design and branding, our unique expertise proved to be a winning combination when it came to entering the Brand X experiential design competition,” said Micoleau. “We are so excited to have won first place and are grateful to UC Davis Study Abroad for bringing us together, Professor Timothy McNeil, design, for introducing us to the up-and-coming industry of experiential design, and finally Brand X for giving us the opportunity to compete and win this competition.”

“It’s a great accomplishment,” said McNeil. “This is out of 500 entries from top design schools and universities across the country.”

The Brand X Challenge’s goal is to have participating students learn about the growing experience design discipline as they develop an experiential activation featuring Sephora. 

Brand X is produced by leading experience design company MAS Event + Design and Event Marketer magazine. In 2020, the program features Sephora. The Brand X Challenge invites students to design an experiential activation for a real company. Managing the entry process and communications with students are the editors of Event Marketer magazine, the industry’s leading publication on experience design and marketing.

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