The Scott and Amy Dadich Endowed Scholarship in Design Communications will support students who further the inclusion, diversity and equity initiatives of the Texas Tech School of Art.
In 1998, Scott Dadich got his start in magazine journalism as part of the communications office at Texas Tech University. At the time, Dadich was a senior design communications student in the university's School of Art.
The opportunity in the chancellor's office launched an award-winning career of innovation in design that has included stints at Texas Monthly and Wired magazines, with international media company Condé Nast and in collaboration with Netflix as the creator and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated anthology series, "Abstract: The Art of Design."
As the current co-CEO of Godfrey Dadich Partners, Dadich has been named the recipient of the 2020 National Design Award for Communication Design. The award, presented earlier this month by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, celebrates design excellence and innovation and is based on the work Dadich has created throughout his career. It is the industry's highest honor.
Looking back, the 1999 graduate said his time at Texas Tech prepared him for all the places his career would eventually take him.
"In design school, we were taught to pay attention to craft, to seek mastery in our technical practices while learning from the critique process," Dadich said. "In these contexts, I learned to truly listen to feedback and to integrate constructive criticism, both from our professors and our fellow students."
Now, he has found a way to give back to the university where it all started, with the creation of The Scott and Amy Dadich Endowed Scholarship in Design Communications. Named after Dadich and his wife, the fund will provide scholarships within the graphic design program at the School of Art, part of the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts.
The scholarships will support students who further the inclusion, diversity and equity initiatives of the School of Art, with preference given to students from historically underrepresented populations like the Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities.
"I have been so fortunate throughout my life to have people take chances on me and to open doors that many people would not have access to," Dadich said. "Amy and I wanted to create opportunities for students whose voices are important to hear and whose perspective and design leadership the world needs more than ever."
Getting his start at Texas Tech
For all his success as a designer, Dadich's university journey began with an entirely different focus.
"I had actually been enrolled in engineering school at another university and realized halfway into my freshman year that I wasn't on the right track," Dadich said. "I found the design program at Texas Tech to be exactly what I had been looking for – a venue to explore creativity with just the right guardrails."
During his senior year in the School of Art, Dadich had an opportunity to use the skills he had learned so far working on Vistas: Texas Tech Research, then the university's science and research magazine.
"I worked in the communications department as an art director and designer under a photojournalist named Artie Limmer," Dadich said. "Artie is a visionary leader and one of the most hard-working and thoughtful people I've ever learned from. He taught me how to think critically about visual storytelling and provided me with my first introduction to magazine journalism via our work on Vistas."
Limmer, now a senior photographer for System Relations, said he hired Dadich after the two built a working relationship via communications assignments in Lubbock.
"I was asked to look into hiring a new art director for the magazine, and I knew he would be a perfect fit," Limmer said of Dadich. "At the time, he was still a senior design communications student with the art department, but I could see that he was very talented, a hard worker and very driven. I got a bit of pushback because he was so young, but eventually they gave into my suggestion. Scott had been interested in magazines, and when he got this opportunity, he exploded onto the scene. We made great art and design, and even though we made a few mistakes along the way, it was all very cutting-edge for a university magazine."
Their work on Vistas began receiving regional and national accolades, and not just among university publications. Soon, the magazine was featured in both the Society of Publication Designers annuals and PRINT magazine, two major industry platforms. Those accomplishments opened the door for other Texas Tech design students entering the field professionally.
"Because of Scott's amazing talent and work ethic, combined with our level of success," Limmer said, "I was able to continue hiring young and very talented artists from our exceptional School of Art's design communication program for several years."
More opportunities arise
During this time, Dadich had the chance to meet a Texas Tech School of Art alumnus who also was making his mark in the design world.
"I recall my design communications instructors welcoming renowned alumnus DJ Stout (class of 1981) as a guest lecturer during this time," Dadich said. "At the time, DJ was serving as art director of Texas Monthly, a publication I knew well and revered as a native Texan. DJ regaled me and my classmates with stories of a life in magazines, sharing sketches, ideas and behind-the-scenes gossip on photo shoots with larger-than-life Texans like Ann Richards, Robert Rauschenberg and Willie Nelson. At the time, I had no idea someone could make a living designing magazines – or have so much fun doing it – so his visit was a massive unlock for me."
After the visit, Stout offered to stay in touch. While completing a project with Limmer for the university's regional teaching sites in the Hill Country, Dadich accepted Stout's offer to tour the Texas Monthly offices in Austin. Through Limmer and Stout, Dadich was able to connect with several people at the magazine.
About a year later, Stout contacted Dadich and said he would be joining the international design firm Pentagram as a partner. Stout had already made a recommendation to the magazine's leadership team for his replacement: Dadich.
"I interviewed as a 22-year old, having just graduated, and took over his role as Texas Monthly's art director in 2000," Dadich said. "Artie was instrumental in me having that opportunity and fully supported my moving on from the chancellor's office role to take over DJ's job. I am forever indebted to both of these Red Raiders."
Dadich spent the next six years at Texas Monthly. From 2006-2010, he served as the creative director for Condé Nast's Wired, where, from 2008-2010, he became the first person to win both the National Magazine Award for Design and the Society of Publication Designers "Magazine of the Year" award for three consecutive years.
Beginning in November 2010, he served as vice president of editorial platforms and design for Condé Nast, before being appointed editor-in-chief of Wired just two years later. In 2011, Fast Company named him one of the "50 Most Influential Designers in America."
In 11 years with Condé Nast, Dadich led the international media company's digital transformation, creating the first online apps for Wired and The New Yorker before rolling out changes to the rest of the company's publications.
As editor-in-chief of Wired, he not only collaborated on the November 2016 issue with guest-editor President Barack Obama, but also worked with additional guest-editors on other issues, including Christopher Nolan, Serena Williams, Bill Gates and J.J. Abrams. The publication received numerous accolades under his leadership, including Webby awards, gold medals from the Society of Publication Designers, a James Beard Foundation Award and four National Magazine Awards for Design.
Dadich and longtime friend Patrick Godfrey came together in 2017 to form their own San Francisco-based communications design and strategy firm, Godfrey Dadich Partners. The goal was to help organizations become better storytellers using everything from documentaries and long-form journalism to brand marketing and corporate strategies.
Their projects have included a re-imagining of the iconic National Geographic magazine, a re-design of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, website and film projects for Nike and two seasons of the award-winning and Emmy-nominated Netflix docuseries, "Abstract: The Art of Design."
In July 2020, Godfrey Dadich Partners was acquired by the New York-based kyu collective, the strategic operating arm of Japanese marketing communication holding company Hakuhodo DY Holdings, Inc. The move allows Dadich and Godfrey to continue leading and growing the firm, with access to additional resources and networking opportunities.
Limmer said Dadich's success since his time at Texas Tech speaks to the type of person he has always been.
"With Scott's talent, intelligence, hard work and level of commitment, all he really needed was the opportunity," Limmer said. "Scott can go as far and accomplish as much as he wants. I will never be surprised by his greatness. I am very proud to have him as a friend."
Looking – and giving – back
It's safe to say Dadich has had an enormous amount of success throughout his career. But he hasn't forgotten where he got his start, and the connections and memories he gained while at Texas Tech.
"I made lifelong friends with so many of my fellow design communications students; a great many of us are still in touch today," Dadich said. "We were all massive fans of Texas Tech's many athletics teams – men's and women's basketball and the football team, in particular, hold fond memories of game days, with massive wins and heartbreaking losses alike. We also did a lot of volunteer work in the greater Lubbock community, from organizing toy drives with Toys for Tots to delivering food to seniors with the Meals on Wheels program."
The Scott and Amy Dadich Endowed Scholarship in Design Communications is one more way to give back and an effort to support emerging creatives within the School of Art who are a part of historically underrepresented communities in the design industry.
"The urgent need for racial equity in this country has never been clearer," Dadich said. "The events of this spring heightened focus on the obstacles too many BIPOC Americans experience – often in direct contrast to the privilege afforded to many, including me. Amy and I found ourselves looking for actions we could take to open doors and encourage more diversity in higher education, especially in design."
The first scholarships from the fund will be awarded for fall 2021 to recipients recommended and selected by School of Art faculty members. Dadich hopes the establishment of the fund encourages others to find ways they also can serve underrepresented voices in their communities.
"We all need to actively reverse hundreds of years of oppression and underrepresentation," Dadich said. "That happens one action at a time. We hope to offer talented young people the opportunity to experience the power of design and hone their craft, and then see them change the world."