The Alternative School Young Lions Design Semester: Jury Announcement

The Design Semester powered by The Alternative School has come to an end. Over 40 students have had the chance of participating at 12 niche talks of international professionals and discover insights into creativity & design strategy.

They all worked in teams of two by firstly building a creative studio identity and proving their abilities on 3 different briefs: first surrounding George, our partner and the first intelligent banking in Romania, second on improving Glulam’s awareness, the largest Romanian manufacturer of laminated wood beams and Love & LOBBY, a platform that promotes and celebrates cultural identity in an international creative context.

Here is the international jury that will pick one winning team to represent Young Romanian Design at the Cannes Lions Creativity Festival.

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Kapil Bhimekar, Creative Director, Leo Burnett, Dubai

Kapil is a Creative Director at Leo Burnett, Dubai. He is currently working on the McDonald’s business for 17 markets across MEA. He has worked with agencies like Leo Burnett India, Mullen Lowe Dubai and VMLY&R Dubai (Cannes Lions agency of the decade 2010-2020).

Kapil’s work has been awarded at various shows like the D&AD, Cannes Lions, One Show, Andy awards, Clio, New York Festivals, LIA, Dubai lynx, Loeries, Adfest Asia Pacific etc. He was on the prestigious Cannes Lions jury (Direct Lions) in 2018 and was also invited to judge Lisbon Advertising Awards in 2019. He was Ranked No. 3 Art Director by The Loeries Awards in 2017.

Kapil has a passion for art. He has undertaken various art projects leaving his unique black & white imprint across the city of Dubai; a passion he practices on weekends and after office hours. He also owns Dubai-based design brand K100designs. Kapil enjoys sharing his knowledge of art and has conducted various art workshops across multiple countries.[spacer height=”20px”]

[spacer height=”20px”]Marina Cordun, Senior Creative Copywriter

With over a decade of creative experience, Marina has worked for brands like Lidl România, ING România, OMRON, Ponderas, Mercedes-Benz, Samsung, Golden-Brau, Staropramen. Her work has managed to win some distinct awards, including 2016 Gold Corporate PR Campaign at Golden Hammer Festival for “The Kilometres Bank” Campaign, 2016 Best Social Media Campaign at IABMixx Awards for “The Kilometres Bank” Campaign and Silver Effie 2011 for “Get confidence from Raiffeisen Leasing” Campaign, Section Financial Services.


[spacer height=”20px”]Andrei Beșliu, Group Creative Director Cohn&Jansen

Andrei is an architect turned designer turned art director and currently Group Creative Director.

After a substantial work, play & experiment activity at Headvertising, one of Romania’s most innovative, independent agencies, he took flight to Cohn&Jansen in 2018. Now he’s managing the visual and strategic communication behind George, the first intelligent banking, by making it a relevant yet fun new brand. He thinks advertising is still about having a curious mind and a tough stomach, and not always looking for the next golden, shiny prize. Usually found talking about design in the corners of the agency.[spacer height=”20px”]


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Adrian Savean, Brand Manager at George

His work involves brand strategy, including the setting of style guides, brand guidelines, brand vision and value proposition for short as well as long term for George, the first intelligent banking in Romania.
Improving brand recognition and reputation, while planning and execution of all campaigns and media communications actions on all channels, including online and social media. He is ready to see what the participants have prepared for the George brief.

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Katerina Todorovski, Senior Brand Manager at George

[spacer height=”20px”][spacer height=”20px”] Alex Ilie, Junior Brand Manager at George

[spacer height=”20px”][spacer height=”20px”]Malik Benamara, Creative Director Scholz& Friends, Germany, Cannes Grand Prix Winner, Creative Trainer @Hamburg School of Ideas

A Cannes Lions GP winner, Malik Benamara is one of Germany’s remarkable creatives, working for agencies with iconic work, like Kolle Rebbe, from junior to intermediate, LLR, Grabarz & Partner and Scholz & Friends, as a Creative Director. He started by studying design, alongside his twin sister and ended up being a copywriter with an amazing retina. He’s worked on brands like BMW, VW, Nike football, Weber grills, Eurowings, Financial Times Germany. He believes in brands’ social imprint and in his spare time he shares his unorthodox view of the creative world with talent attending the School of Ideas in Hamburg or The Alternative School over zoom.[spacer height=”20px”]


[spacer height=”20px”]Bianca Dumitrascu, Graphic Designer & Lettering Expert

Bianca Dumitrascu is a type master, a letterer and a passionate graphic designer navigating graciously from advertising to art, type and design. Awarded with the typographic excellence distinction by Type Directors Club New York and Communication Arts, she is the creative community’s darling in Bucharest and beyond. A former Romanian Young Lion & gold winner, holding a master in Advanced Typography, she launched Ampersand Studio in 2018 — the place where she continues to develop her knowledge and passion by creating identities, books, packaging, posters and art. Through Caracter – launched as well in 2018, she offers training & consultancy in calligraphy, typography & type design. In 2019 she became the official letter dame by launching the #TypeThursday Bucharest chapter.

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[spacer height=”20px”] Iuliana Dumitru, Communication Specialist, Igloo Media

Philologist with studies in literary theory & comparative literature and with openness to the creative industries. 12 years of experience in the publishing field. She divides her resources and searches between literature, translations and communication, resisting, as much as possible, the comfortable installation in jargon and hoping that not everything needs to be translated or communicated.

She has coordinated the editorial activity of the National Museum of Romanian Literature for two years, being also part of the team of curators, architects and museographers who designed and arranged the new permanent exhibition of the museum.  In 2018 she joined the Igloo Media editorial office, where she communicates architectural gestures and expands the reading community, convinced that a seemingly hermetic and intimidating field such as architecture can finally be translated and meaningfully integrated into our lives. She lives between Berlin and Bucharest.[spacer height=”20px”]

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Alexandra Bombita, Copywriter

Big agencies, small agencies. Wild ones, ambitious ones, nice ones.
Big brands, challengers, underdogs.
Wild clients, curious ones, lovely ones. Sometimes annoying ones.
Big campaigns. Courageous ones. Cute ones. Unnoticeable ones. Sometimes shitty ones.
TVC commercials, print, digital, radio, shopper. Even lots of flyers and facebook ads. And banners. Don’t forget the banners.
Each and every brief she has solved in advertising taught her that at the end of the day, she is just a lazy consumer who wants to be entertained when spending money.[spacer height=”20px”]


[spacer height=”20px”]Filip Gonzacenco, Art Director, Publicis Paris

Filip Gonzancenco is one of the proud alumni of The Alternative School for Creative Thinking who made it big! In 2015, he won the local competition and became the Romanian representative for Cannes Young Lions 2015.

As he lives abroad now, he is an ardent supporter of Romanian creativity and encourages people to discover his country of origin at every given opportunity. He is currently working as an Art Director for Publicis Paris and works for brands like Nescafe and McDonalds.[spacer height=”20px”]


[spacer height=”20px”]Jane StrukArt Director & Board member, Depot Branding Agency, Moscow

Jane Struk is the Art Director for Multinational clients in the Depot Branding Agency, located in Moscow. Jane specializes in branding and packaging design and has been working successfully with a number of major international and Russian brands, NESTLÉ, Unilever, Pepsico, Bayer, Danone, Heineken to name but a few.

After five years of working in Depot, Jane became a board member of the agency.

Depot is officially the most award-winning branding agency in Russia. As a part of the Depot Branding Agency team, Jane contributed to the winning of prestigious awards at international design and advertising festivals. Among them are Pentawards, Red Dot Communication Design, The Dieline, European Design Awards, Eurobest or RED APPLE.

Jane finds inspiration in minimalist art, Scandinavian aesthetics and functionalism, managing to interpret them her own way via the medium of graphic design. She puts her love and passion into every single project to ensure that it is a breakthrough.[spacer height=”20px”]

[spacer height=”20px”]Vidya Manmohan, UAE, Dubai Lynx & Cannes Lions winner & Juror

Vidya Manmohan is celebrated for having traveled off the beaten track, across the span of her career.
She walked out of the medical school gates to pursue a career in Advertising.
Switched her expertise from Art direction to copywriting mid-way through her successful career. What’s more, this mom of a medical student has gone back to University to pursue her Masters in Digital Management at the reputed HyperIsland (also known as the Harvard of Digital studies) whilst launching her own passion venture. Her work reflects the pop culture around her and has bagged International awards, not only in the print and outdoor categories, but also in radio, design, digital, integrated and advertising for good. Vidya has also been on the jury panel of International Advertising Festivals like the Cannes Lions, New York Festivals, Clio, Adfest, Lisbon Advertising Awards and the Young Guns to name a few.[spacer height=”20px”]

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Uwe Melichar, Melichar Bros, Packaging Expert, Penta Awards Winner & Juror

Uwe Melichar, born in 1968, studied communication design at the Muthesius University in Kiel and worked at the brand agency FACTOR for 25 years. He was the agency’s managing partner and built up the packaging division. In 2020, he left the FACTOR and started his new business, MELICHAR Bros. Under the slogan “Increase Value, Decrease Waste”, the company focuses on sustainable packaging solutions. In his work-life, Uwe Melichar has realised projects for adidas, Bosch, C&A, Gardena, Omron and Miele. Together with his team, he develops packaging and communication design for clients in Japan, Russia, China, the USA and various European countries. He is also a lecturer at several universities, such as the University of Augsburg, is a member of the Type Directors Club New York and president of the European Brand & Packaging Design AssoCiation (epda).

[spacer height=”20px”][spacer height=”20px”] Iashido, Digital Media Designer

With over 20 years of experience in design, Iashido has worked with companies like Headvertising, McCann, Rompetrol, Cora, Daimler, Kurt Arrigo. His work focuses on Web Development, VR, AR & MR. Check out his work on


[spacer height=”20px”][spacer height=”20px”]Cristian Costea, Co-Founder at Font Brief


Cristian Costea is an internationally awarded creative and a proud former student of The Alternative School for Creative Thinking, currently living and working in Berlin.In 2009, Cristian Costea became the winner of The Alternative School competition and qualified as a Young Lion representing Romania in Cannes. It was an eye-opening experience helping him set his inner compass for international performance.

He moved abroad, working for Jung von Matt, Geometry or Ogilvy in Prague, Hamburg and Berlin, developing his creative language way beyond traditional advertising into branding, mobile and cyber creativity. Ambitious and open minded, he worked both on established brands or sensitive social topics and continued winning at larger scale, up to being a silver recipient in Cannes.

In 2020, together with fellow graphic designer Victor Bartis, he launched, a platform helping designers and art directors to better choose fonts for their projects. You can check out his work here.

The Young Lions Design & The Roger Hatchuel Academy

Entries are open for the Young Lions Design & Roger Hatchuel Academy via The Spring Semester.

Deadline: 17 March

€300 + vat / individual

€500 + vat / team


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