Raising the Bar for Young Design Talent in Modesto

by Lee Davis, Founder, Modesto Design Collective (MO.DE)

Born in Ecuador and raised in Modesto, Jordi Camps, Jr. is an exceptionally talented young designer and illustrator. Camps attended Beyer High School and Modesto Junior College (MJC) where he discovered his passion for design. He went on to receive a BFA in Graphic Design from CSU Long Beach and returned to Modesto after graduation in 2013 to be closer to family (his parents own Picasso’s Gourmet Deli on 10th Street). He’s now a Senior Designer at E. & J. Gallo Winery, creating packaging, advertising and 3D displays for Gallo’s Premium brands. His work has received design awards from American Advertising Awards, AIGA, Graphic Design USA, among others.

How might we attract, retain and support young local design talent? Supporting more young local designers like Jordi Camps is a necessary ingredient for fostering a vibrant design culture in Modesto. And for the last 17 years, a unique local scholarship has done just that. Camps is one of the young designers who have benefited from the Al Barr Memorial Scholarship that has provided over $30,000 in scholarships to Stanislaus design students since 2000. The scholarship was established in honor of Al Barr, one of the most influential graphic designers in Modesto’s history. Barr opened his studio, Al Barr Design, in 1974 after a 12-year career as an award-winning designer at the Modesto Bee and the Pasadena Star News. His work remains ubiquitous across Modesto today in the form of logos he designed for Centre Plaza, MID, Prime Shine, among many others. He was also an active member in the community, having served on the City of Modesto’s Public Art Committee and as a portfolio advisor to MJC graphic design students.

The Al Barr Memorial Scholarship Fund provides an annual grant of up to $3,000 to students from a Stanislaus County high school or MJC who have been accepted into or who are currently enrolled as a graphic design major at an accredited four-year college or university. The 2017–18 Scholarship Committee has just announced awards to five college-bound designers: Morgan den Dulk (Hughson High) who will attend CSU Sacramento; Yoonhee Hong (California High) who will attend San Jose State University; Felix Jara (Pitman High) who will attend San Jose State University; Rachel Macias (California High) who will attend Seattle University; and Vivian Tran (Gregori High) who will attend UC Davis. Awardees are selected through a competitive process by a committee organized through the North Modesto Kiwanis Club where Al Barr was a past president and active member for almost 30 years.

Al Barr opened his studio, Al Barr Design, in Modesto in 1974.

“Al would have been very proud to see a scholarship in his name benefiting many aspiring graphic art students to pursue the career he so loved. He enjoying working with young people, and on Career Day would visit local high schools to counsel and advise those considering a college graphic arts major,” says Al’s wife Carol Barr.

Al Barr continually raised the bar of design in Modesto. Many of the professional designers in the city today began their careers as his student, mentee and/or employee. And his design legacy continues through the scholarship in his name. “The Al Barr scholarship was important to me because it validated my work and pushed me to improve,” says Camps. “To be recognized by professional designers as a design student fed my drive to pursue this career.”

Originally published at www.modestoview.com on July 1, 2017.