Student Design Talent Recognized By Sherwin-Williams Annual Contest

CLEVELAND (May 8, 2018) – Today Sherwin-Williams announces the winners of the eighth Student Design Challenge, an annual competition for design students. First-, second- and third-place winners were awarded in both the residential and commercial categories, in addition to two Facebook fan favorites who were chosen by the public. Along with national recognition, contest winners receive cash prizes up to $2,500 and the design schools attended by the first-place winners each receive $1,000 toward design programs. Notable designers Vanessa Deleon and Nancy Fire as well as Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, judged this year’s contest.

“It’s always exciting to see the creativity and innovation of the next generation of interior designers, and this year’s Student Design Challenge was no exception,” said Wadden. “The winners pushed design boundaries to think beyond aesthetics and consider how the space will be used and the role that color plays.”

Students across North America were challenged to create a color rendering of a residential or commercial interior space using a minimum of three Sherwin-Williams colors. Submissions included the color renderings along with project statements describing the design and its use of color. Entries were accepted at from February 1 through March 15, 2018.

Residential Category

Nia Gibbs of Ringling College of Art and Design won first place in the residential category. Her design of an urban affordable housing unit incorporated earth tones accented by bright pops of color. She received second place in last year’s competition.

The second-place winner was Margaret Gouthro of the University of Georgia. Amber McCullough from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro received third-place.

“From the natural light and soothing colors in Gouthro’s tropical tree house to McCullough’s modern yet soothing design style, it was a pleasure judging this year’s competition and immersing myself in all of the unique, winning projects,” said Fire. “I especially loved the bright colors and openness of Gibbs’ affordable housing project, which challenged the conventional palette typically used for this market.”

Commercial Category

Rose Phillips, a student at Ohio State University, won first place in the commercial design category for a versatile restaurant design featuring geometric patterns. Christine Galley from Radford University received the second-place prize and Allison Brown of Utah State University won third place.

“This year’s winners showcased cohesive design throughout the space along with eye-catching details, original color palettes and forward ways of looking at interior design,” said Deleon. “It’s always a challenge to select winners from an outstanding group of submissions; however, it was Phillips’ use of geometric design, Galley’s sophisticated yet daring twist on color and Brown’s softening of an industrial space that rose to the top.”

Both Gibbs and Phillips will receive a cash prize of $2,500 and will be featured in an upcoming issue of Sherwin-Williams STIR Magazine, in the STIR eExtra email newsletter, on Sherwin-Williams Facebook page for design professionals and at Their schools, Ringling College of Art and Design and Ohio State University, will be given $1,000 toward design programs. Second-place winners received $1,000 and third-place winners $500.

The Facebook fan favorite winners were Anna Bedwell of Radford University in the residential category and Kaitlyn Brown of Converse College in the commercial category. Bedwell designed a relaxing Scandinavian sanctuary and Brown created a modern corporate headquarters. Each will receive $100.

Sherwin-Williams Student Design Challenge 2018 winners:

Residential Design

First Place Nia Gibbs Ringling College of Art & Design
Second Place Margaret Gouthro University of Georgia
Third Place Amber McCullough University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Facebook Fan Favorite Anna Bedwell Radford University

Commercial Design

First Place Rose Phillips Ohio State University
Second Place Christine Galley Radford University
Third Place Allison Brown Utah State University
Facebook Fan Favorite Kaitlyn Brown Converse College


For more than 150 years, Sherwin-Williams has been an industry leader in the development of technologically advanced paint and coatings. As the nation’s largest specialty retailer of paint and painting supplies, Sherwin-Williams is dedicated to supporting both do-it-yourselfers and painting professionals with exceptional and exclusive products, resources to make confident color selections and expert, personalized service at its more than 4,200 neighborhood stores across North America. For more information, visit Join Sherwin-Williams on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.