PaliHi Grad Wins Major Design Award

By Laura Abruscato 
Contributing Writer

Johnny Fracchiolla, 22, won the 2016 D&AD (formerly British Design and Art Direction) Yellow Pencil Award given to promising young graphic designers.

D&AD, a British-based group celebrating design and art direction, awards its New Blood Awards to students, recent graduates and designers under 24.

Johnny Fracchiolla (left) won the D&AD Yellow Pencil Award for up-and-coming designers along with friends Andrew Diemer (center) and Niccoló Debole for their satirical web store designiswork.com.

Johnny Fracchiolla (left) won the D&AD Yellow Pencil Award for up-and-coming designers along with friends Andrew Diemer (center) and Niccoló Debole for their satirical web store designiswork.com.

 

Fracchiolla, who graduated from the Pratt Institute in May with a BFA in communications design with an emphasis in graphic design, traveled to London this summer for the award ceremony. 

A native of Pacific Palisades, Fracchiolla attended Pali Elementary, Paul Revere and Palisades High, and is currently living in Brooklyn, where Pratt is located.

To enter the design competition, Fracchiolla and Pratt classmates Andrew Diemer and Niccoló Debole asked themselves ‘What is bravery these days?’ and created the satirical web store designiswork.com.

The site uses humor to discuss ethical employment practices in the design field. “Young designers feel they have to participate in unpaid internships, and that you’re getting paid in experience,” Fracchiolla said. “You’re making work that you should be compensated for. You’re paying to go to school, you shouldn’t have to give  it away for free.

“The web store gets the message out but makes it easier to digest through humor,” he said. For example, one T-shirt on the web store states: “I paid my interns and all I got was a more diverse group of talent who felt valued and invested in my business.”

The three friends wanted to focus on unpaid internships as a way to bring the subject into the conversation in the design industry using a lighthearted approach.

Pratt School paid for their flight to London to accept the award and the friends did some travel around Europe afterward.

Fracchiolla is the son of Nancy Fracchiolla, the drama teacher at Palisades High School, and Chris Fracchiolla, the pastor at Magnolia Park United Methodist Church in Burbank. His younger sister Alice is studying history at UCLA.

He originally became interested in sculpture at PaliHi and entered Pratt to study that discipline. During his foundation year at the school, he became interested in design and typography. “I still love sculpture,” he said. “I do it on my own time.”

For Fracchiolla, one of the challenges of attending the Pratt Institute was its location in New York. “I knew I wasn’t necessarily a city person. I wanted to take it on as a challenge,” he said. “I’ve grown to love it. I’ve learned a different side of myself.”

He continues to backpack and rock-climb, going from solo backpacking trips in the San Bernardino Mountains to hiking in woodsy East Coast locales like Virginia’s Appalachian Trail.

Fracchiolla is currently freelancing while looking for a full-time design position. He recently designed a campaign logo for Allison Holdorff Polhill, a Palisadian who is running for a seat on the LAUSD school board.

 

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