July 6, 2017

Sherwin-Williams Unveils Winners of 2017 Student Design Challenge

Sherwin-Williams has revealed the winners of its seventh annual Student Design Competition. The contest, open to individuals or groups, asks applicants to include a minimum of three Sherwin-Williams paint colors in their designs. Three winners were selected from hundreds of submissions in both the commercial and the residential categories. Designers Cynthia Rowley and Vern Yip, along with Sue Wadden, the director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, judged the projects. Two Facebook fan favorites also received recognition. “The winners stood out this year because of the risks they took to bring color to life in unexpected ways,” said Wadden.

Regan Adair from the Fashion Institute of Technology received the top prize in residential design, while Courtney Christensen of the University of Wisconsin at Madison won in commercial design. In addition to $2,500 cash prizes, they will be featured in Sherwin-Williams STIR magazine, in the STIR eExtra newsletter, on the Sherwin-Williams Facebook page, and on their website. Their schools will each receive $1,000 for use in design programs.


Earning first place in residential design, Regan Adair of the Fashion Institute of Technology created a modern living space reminiscent of a carved Asian lacquered box.

Nia Gibbs from the Ringling College of Art and Design took home second place in residential design with the bright “Eclectic Luxury.”

Third place winner Sarah Hansen of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design put forth a loft concept meant to enhance and revitalize the creative processes of its artist inhabitants.

Elizabeth Bixenman from Iowa State University received the Facebook fan-favorite for her mountain home designed for a young, active couple.


Garnering first place in the commercial category, Courtney Christensen designed an office concept for the University of Wisconsin Credit Union E-Commerce Center.

Second place in commercial design went to The Fireside Lodge Mental Health Wellness Center, designed by Katherine Sadler of Fanshawe College, which aims to help eliminate the stigma associated with conventional mental health facilities.

Mariela Ortiz from the University of Cincinnati won third place for her children’s library concept which provides a healthy balance of stimulation and relaxation.

The commercial design Facebook fan-favorite is an upscale eyeglass store called Spec in Manhattan envisioned by Ellen Straub of the University of Florida.

See last year’s winners.

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