Monster Masquerade

Halloween was the perfect time for the first-year students in Sean Thorenson’s Digital Illustration class to create a series of seasonally appropriate ‘masks’. Using symmetry and only two spot colors, this assignment demonstrated the challenge of designing with limited color as well as the efficiency of the reflect tool. We have a lot of scary-good talent in this year’s group! Here are just a few of the illustrations from the classes.

Clown by Regan Reidlinger
Bride of Frankenstein by Hailee Presser
Dracula by Adam Nicklay
Jason Vorhees by Cedric Parisien
Beetlejuice by Breien Berger

The Venus of Vector

After four weeks of analog illustration, our Graphic Design and Communications students opened Adobe Illustrator today — many for the first time.

I remember my first time launching the program — 28 years ago. Just a few things have changed about Illustrator since its inception in 1987. For one, the splash screen.

The unofficial covergirl of this vector workhorse was always a creative incarnation of Botticelli’s famous painting ‘Birth of Venus’. She graced the launch of the app up until Adobe went the way of the Creative Suite in 2003.

If you’re a designasaur like me, you probably remember these images.

Creepy Creations

Among the many basic production skills covered in the first semester, digital illustration students are currently busy working with vectors in Adobe Illustrator. In a recent assignment they were to create Halloween-inspired two-color illustrations using symmetry and transformation tools to simplify construction. They’re constantly applying the creative process to implement and refine their productions while adding to their mastery of the application. Below are just a few of this years’ creations. Happy Halloween from all of us in GDC!

©Marcus Taken Alive

©Alyza Yasenchack

©Kylie Susag

©Tyler Betts

©Carlee Gifford

©Bethany Reitan

©Shane Spilker

Students Exhibit Illustrative Styles

The first year Digital Illustration students recently completed an analog assignment where they were pushed to illustrate an object using different illustration styles and traditional mediums. For many it was an experimental voyage into trying something new. For others it was continued practice in an area they already excel. Below are just a few of the images captured from this assignment.

‘Moth’ by Alysha Yasenchack

‘Key’ by Marcus Taken Alive

‘Flower’ by Kylie Susag

‘Cactus’ by Emily Schumacher

‘Coffee’ by Bethany Reiten

‘Pup’ by Taylor Lemer

‘TV’ by Jamaika Lee

‘Cactus’ by Carlee Gifford

‘Lighter’ by Tyler Betts

‘Cap’ by Michaela Ahrendt

Analog Past

I appreciate the fact that my education in the Commercial Arts involved a fair amount of analog. In fact, my college class was one of the first to straddle the growing void between the old analog ways and the dawning digital age of the Macintosh.

Every once in a while we stumble upon these reminders from yesteryear in our storage room that clearly show the evolution of the iconic present. If you have ever wondered why Photoshop’s crop tool looks the way it does… I present to you the Brandt Scaleograph. I didn’t read the lengthy instructions on how to properly use it, but I can tell you the modern equivalent is much, much better.

 

Design on Display

On a recent trip to the Heritage Center, the sophomore Graphic Design and Communications class had the unique opportunity to learn from Genia Hesser, Curator of Exhibits with the ND State Historical Society. Hesser gave students an in-depth tour of the most recent exhibit in the Governor’s Gallery, The Horse in North Dakota. The class learned of the many challenges that faced the curators, preparators and designers as they brought the exhibit to life. Hesser stressed the importance of generating content that is descriptive but also very efficient – so that every word written is necessary to tell the story. In turn, the design, or form, of the exhibit must visually reinforce the content. Hesser’s wealth of knowledge will prove useful to the students as they begin the process of creating two new display cases for the program area this semester.

Tell me a story in three photos or more

Photos can tell us so much – emotion, time, location and more. Sometimes it’s very hard to convey something specific, even a couple words with a photo. In this case, the goal was to illustrate a specific saying using a few photos and a lot of Photoshop work. The sophomore Graphic Design and Communications students did a great job, can you guess the sayings?

Students Rewarded for Tobacco Free Campaign Design

The Graphic Design and Communications Program will occasionally receive requests from the community to do graphic design work as either pro bono or as limited budget freelance work. One such opportunity was presented to all students in the program as an optional project to pursue if interested.

The Bismarck Burleigh Public Health (BBPH) Tobacco Prevention and Control Department and Tobacco Free North Dakota (TFND) were looking to engage college students in tobacco prevention efforts with designs for a poster and social media banner. Students were to use Big Tobacco’s court-mandated corrective statements as themes for posters, social media banners, as well as in Off the Wall Advertising throughout Bismarck. Four second-year Graphic Design and Communications students, Alexis Glass, Josh Schaefbauer, Witney Nielsen and Isaiah Lindsay submitted finished concepts for the project.

Poster design submitted by Alexis Glass

Poster design submitted by Josh Schaefbauer

Winning social media design by Witney Nielsen

Winning poster design by Isaiah Lindsay.

University of Mary Health Pro students judged poster submissions and selected the winner. Lindsay’s winning poster will be displayed at United Tribes Technical College (UTTC), U of Mary, and BSC during Kick Butts Day. You’ll also see it among Off the Wall’s Indoor Advertisements in local Bismarck restaurants through April and May.

Heather Austin of Tobacco Free ND and Jordyn Schaefbauer of Bismarck Burleigh County Health present checks to winners Witney Nielsen and Isaiah Lindsay.

Making a Statement

Graphic design is one of the few professions that places a high premium on the appearance of professional documents used to land jobs in the creative field. On occasion I’ll hear others outside our industry criticize the way our design students challenge the mold of the traditional, templated resume.

‘That type is way too small. You should use 12 point text.’

‘You don’t need that much color.’

‘What’s with the logo?’

‘Everything should be in one column.’

What they fail to understand is that the design of the resume, cover letter and stationery present the designer with an immediate opportunity to demonstrate to a prospective employer their mastery of typography, layout design and visual identity. In my experience there is really no better way to evaluate how well a candidate can do such tasks than for them to show it.

True, the content, spelling and grammatical perfection of these documents is equally important – and don’t forget the adage: it’s not always what you know but who you know – but if you hire a candidate to do design that visually demonstrates poor graphic design skill …well, you asked for it.

Graphic Design and Communications Sophomores at BSC spend a great deal of time honing their personal brand identities to match who they are creatively and professionally. They learn about how to assemble an impressive stationery system, build a resume and write cover letters so that they can apply for creative jobs with confidence. Combined with an impressive portfolio, the ultimate goal of the class, designers stand a much better chance of being hired to do what they’ve so clearly demonstrated they can do and happen to do very well. Design.

Where it started

A few hundred students have worked on creating display case designs in the Graphic Design and Communications Department at BSC. The project came around in an interesting way, partially out of frustration.

The display cases outside the classrooms sat empty for awhile – long enough that other faculty in the building started asking if the GDC faculty had a plan for them. We didn’t like them being empty either, but at the same time we recognized filling the cases would be a big undertaking.

The first design was a collaboration between all three instructors – Sean, Tom and Jason. The goal was to display student work and advertise the program. The first design looked good, although it was a little flat. The first design was completed in September 2010.

The display started feeling stagnant in about a year. There were a lot of ideas considered, we wanted students to be involved in the project, but we weren’t sure how. The second version of the display case came in January of 2013.

Each students was given a space in the display. The spaces started with a 24-inch-square piece of foam core and the freedom to design whatever they wanted that would represent them as a student. That was a great start, but it still felt like we wanted the students involved more.

In the fall of 2013 we changed the curriculum to include display case design, creating more elaborate designs each year. The goals today are to teach production skills, collaboration, design on a larger scale, working with dimension and dealing with a budget while designing.