Neurodiverse Student Demian Reith Wins Hackathon Brand Identity Contest

Neurodiverse Student Demian Reith Wins Hackathon Brand Identity Contest

Minneapolis College Graphic Design student Demian Reith’s logo design was chosen by a panel of judges from U.S. Bank as the brand identity for the 2023 US Bank Hackathon, a competition centered around building a finance-related application that helps students manage their money in a fast-paced, competitive learning environment. Students from the Graphic Design and Web Design Department were invited to submit designs that reflected the event for use in marketing and promotional materials. 

“The Hackathon showcases the creative and technical talents of our students while creating a collaborative real world educational opportunity,” said Pashell Johnson from the Alumni and Community Relations department in the Office of Institutional Advancement at the College. “In addition to having his design featured on t-shirts, posters, social media, and more, Demian can use this accomplishment as a résumé builder to support his future work as a graphic designer.”

Reith was born in a town called Grasse in France, near Cannes. He holds US and German citizenship and grew up in Minnesota. He always had a creative side, sharing how he and his grandparents would sit for hours carving intricate designs out of wood that included cars, trees, and animals. In 2019, he began his educational journey at Minneapolis College as a PSEO student from Transition Plus Services, a school for students with various disabilities and those alike looking for good jobs, and post-secondary classes. 

The last half of spring semester turned out differently than he had planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic when he took a one semester hiatus to focus on work. “I missed my old friends from class,” said Reith, who anticipates 2023 will be his most epic and unique year yet, with graduation on the horizon. When he graduates from Minneapolis College in the Spring of 2023, it will mark the tenth anniversary of his graduation from the Twin Cities Immersion School where he studied in German and English. 

The graphic design program interested Reith for its reputation, mix of technology and the colorful blend of shapes, colors, textures, and images it offered. Identifying as neurodiverse, Reith was also seeking a welcoming space with accessibility resources to ensure college remained manageable. “Being so special and unique in a certain way is an honor,” he said. “Typically, like many people with autism, I’m still living under the roof of my parents with no home or apartment of my own. I’m learning how to improve my budgeting skills and enjoying every single part of my life every day so I can keep learning to move on with what I need to accomplish.” 

Reith learned about the design competition from one of his instructors, Samantha Sather, Graphic Design and Web Design faculty at Minneapolis College. She encouraged him to enter alongside his student colleagues. “I am a big believer in God. I rarely even talk about it because not everyone is, but His encouragement led me to enter the contest,” said Reith, who expressed he never expected to win the competition and felt honored to have his design chosen. “You can’t always make people believe in what you believe, but this prize is a great accomplishment and I feel very proud.”

“Demian always has a positive attitude, incredible professionalism, and an immense amount of passion that shines through every design he creates,” said Sather, who was impressed with Reith’s Hackathon design submission. “He is always deeply engaged in the assignments and activities we provide and ready to provide meaningful insight into his creative process and design work. Demian goes out of his way to reach out and show us the cool things he creates in his work, community, family, and friends.  Anyone who is lucky to interact with Demian knows very well the incredible creativity and passion he puts into all of his work.”

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