School assignment earns national award

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: PROVIDED BY CLARA MARSHALL
By becoming excited about her project, Clara Marshall's award-winning online portfolio became so much more than a school assignment.

Clara Marshall, a 2018 graduate of Fanshawe’s interactive media specialist (IMS) program, is the winner of the Applied Arts magazine national Student Award, in the web design category.

In summer 2018, Marshall submitted an online portfolio she had designed as part of a class assignment to be considered for the annual award. Her work was judged by an independent jury of creative professionals and selected as winner by the fall. It was then published in the Fall 2018 Student Awards issue of the magazine, read by more than 46,000 industry professionals across Canada.

Since 1992, the Applied Arts Awards have recognized the creative work of Canadian professionals and students in the communications sector. Marshall told Interrobang that it felt good to have her work seen by the magazine and its audience.

“It has a different weight to it when you’re recognized by a corporation like that rather than just your friends saying this looks really good,” Marshall said. “It was nice to be recognized and get validation.”

Marshall is also a graduate of the (now defunct) joint Fanshawe- Western University media theory and production (MTP) program. While in MTP, she developed an interest in web design, which prompted her to earn the IMS certificate. She said the program’s instructors, including Robert Haaf, urged her to submit for the award.

“Success like Clara’s always requires the right type of person to fully take advantage of the extended learning opportunities we offer: Someone who is invested in learning as much as possible, and who is able to learn independently whenever necessary; that describes Clara perfectly,” Haaf, who is also an IMS program co-ordinator, told Interrobang in an email. “She represents the best outcome from our programs that we could possibly hope for.”

Marshall said that while her time at Fanshawe taught her to meet her clients’ needs, her portfolio showcases what she describes to be her personal design style: clean, minimal and functional, with contemporary, natural colours.

She said that she considers winning the Applied Arts award as an indicator that she is on the right track in her work and is pleased that a school assignment has received such positive feedback.

“It’s a good motivation,” she said. “It’s cool to have that in a school project. You never think that your school projects are going to go anywhere or do anything.”

Marshall is currently working at OneMethod, a Toronto-based marketing and advertising agency, where she said landing a job had been her ultimate goal all along.

“My profs encouraged me to reach this goal by saying just apply, you’re better than you think you are,” she said. “They really encouraged me throughout the entire program.”

Marshall said she is looking ahead to a future where she will pass along her knowledge as a mentor to the next generation of web developers and designers.

“Take advantage of the resources the program and professors offer,” Marshall advised current Fanshawe students.

“Try to find that part of every project that makes you excited,” she added. “Take advantage of those projects and turn them into something that you’re going to be proud of afterwards.”

You can find Marshall’s award at or view her portfolio at