By Mellany Armstrong
Not only did Alissa Outwater have a job waiting for her when she graduated in May, her senior thesis was selected as “Top Talent of 2019” in the international Adobe Design Achievement Awards.
The thesis work, More than Muses, recognizes and celebrates the achievements and changes that women creatives have made in their fields.
“It was a nice surprise to click with the judges,” Outwater said. Top Talent winners are shortlisted for a chance to win a creative residency at Adobe. Selections will be announced in August. Adobe tools must be used in the creation of the entry, and work is judged on originality, effectiveness and skill in applying Adobe products.
More than Muses features 14 women, ranging from a German Benedictine abbess to a contemporary painter who explores gender and sexuality, in colorful animated portrait collages. They are accompanied by a biography page explaining their contributions over centuries to art, film, music and other artistic endeavors.
Outwater has taken her graphic design skills to P’unk Avenue, a design and branding company in South Philadelphia that hired her two weeks before Commencement. She had worked at P’unk Avenue as an intern the previous year, and her bosses kept asking her to come back.
“Eventually I started working on mobile website comps (page layout), where you take a desktop website and convert it to mobile,” she said. Impressed by her skills, the P’unk folks gave her the job of designing the website for the company’s content management system called Apostrophe.
“They came to Moore’s Senior Show, and I think it served as a cover for the design director to ask me to lunch,” she said. “After we talked about the show, he gave me the job offer. I couldn’t eat anything, I was so excited!”
As a child growing up in the small northeastern Pennsylvania community of Shohola, Outwater put her younger brother to the test, quite literally.
“I used to like writing out tests, making sure the sections were all lined up,” said the Graphic Design major. She would add a line at the top for the name and date, and a bottom block for bonus questions. “I was very in tune with layout from a very young age. My brother was my user tester.”
Talent runs in the family. Outwater’s grandfather was a pattern maker for a swimwear factory in Port Jervis, New York. Her father used to play drums, her mother sings, and her brother can sing and play guitar, piano “and pretty much anything.”
“If there’s a bunch of Outwaters together, they do this thing where they sing sentences,” she said, laughing. “They’re wacky.”
Outwater was in the prestigious Visionary Woman Honors Program while at Moore. She designed materials for Moore’s 2018 fashion show, such as the program, posters and tickets. She found out about Moore through a visit by an admissions advisor.
“It really impressed me when she came all the way up to this tiny Delaware Valley school,” Outwater said, “and when I visited Moore, it instantly felt like home.”
She credits her education in the Graphic Design program with helping her land her new job.
“I’m looking forward to using all of the skills I started developing at Moore in this new job,” she said. “I feel really good about all the design lanes that I touched on and I’m excited about bringing them all together to work in the real world.”