Academy of Art University Graduates Work to Keep Apple Ahead of the Curve

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Alumni Work on iPod Nano and Mac vs. PC Campaign Contributes to Apple’s Continued Growth

As Apple debuts its new iPhone 4 at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Academy of Art University alumni, Jason Sperling and Kourtny Hicks, work behind the scenes to keep Apple on the cutting edge.

As Creative Director at TBWAMedia Arts Lab in Los Angeles, Jason led the team of creative minds behind the iconic Mac vs. PC ads. In addition to being a graduate of the Advertising MFA program, he also taught Advertising courses at the Academy from 1995 to 2000, lending his own brand of advertising savvy to one of the top graduate art schools.

Jason supervised both the broadcast and the online versions of the Mac vs. PC ad campaign. The ads have won numerous awards, including a Cannes Gold Lion and a One Show Gold Pencil, as well as being named Campaign of the Decade by Adweek. In addition to critical acclaim, the campaign has garnered popular appreciation, with fans racking up millions of views on YouTube and other online video services.

The more than 60 ads personify Mac and PC computers, starring Justin Long as the casual, comfortable Mac and John Hodgman as the stodgier PC with hosts of operating problems. The ads revolutionized the way people perceived Mac computers.

When asked by Academy of Art University’s Alumni Association which of the spots was his favorite to date, Jason gave the honor to a spot which takes clear aim at the security features of Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system. In the ad, a security agent forces PC to “cancel or allow” every verbal exchange he has with Mac. “We took the issue and turned it into a really simple, strong visual representation,” said Jason.

By contrast, Kourtny has worked on revolutionizing Apple technology from the inside out. During her three years at Apple, she worked on iPhoto, iMovie, and the Apple DVD Player. Kourtny graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Academy of Art University, one of the top new media and web design schools in the nation.

As the Senior User Interface Designer, she also played a significant role in the creation of the iPod Nano 4G, iPod Nano 3G and iPod Classic. Apple credited her as a lead designer on over 55 iPod trademarks and patents.

Since her time at Apple, Kourtny has moved on to Yahoo, where she creates mobile applications for both the iPhone and the new iPad. Yahoo! Blueprint, one of the programs Kourtny worked on, enables developers to easily author applications and widgets for a variety of mobile devices, including those with Apple mobile operating systems.

Though Steve Jobs will draw the applause during WWDC, Academy of Art University grads are also changing the face of Apple and its products. The Academy stands out among art schools with its knack for producing graduates with the rare ability to use their creative talent to drive business forward.

About Academy of Art University, San Francisco
With more than 16,000 students, Academy of Art University is the nation's largest private art and design university. Established in 1929, the school offers accredited AA, BA, BFA, MA, M.Arch and MFA programs in 16 different majors, as well as continuing art education, with classes in Advertising, Animation & Visual Effects, Architecture, Art Education, Fashion, Fine Art, Game Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture & Design, Motion Pictures & Television, Multimedia Communications, Music for Visual Media, Photography and Web Design & New Media. Art Education is the school's newest major, offering BFA and MA degrees. Students can also enroll in flexible online degree programs in most majors.

Academy of Art University is an accredited member of WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), NASAD, Council for Interior Design Accreditation (BFA-IAD) and NAAB (M-ARCH).

For more information, visit or call 1-800-544-2787.

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Lynn Dalsing
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