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.

 

ADDYS Recognize Excellence in Student Work

BSC GDC Students Win Share of Awards

The North Dakota chapter of the American Advertising Federation, AAFND or AdFed, recently held its annual awards show – the Addys – in Fargo. BSC Graphic Design and Communications students competed in the juried competition against other students of two and four year institutions represented in the district.

This year, seven BSC sophomore students won nine awards for their outstanding demonstrations in design and photography. MiKayla Pfaff won a Gold Addy for a digital illustration of a gold pocket watch. Josh Schaefbauer won a gold for his studio photography piece entitled ‘Let’s Drink’. Parker Bachmeier won two Silver Addys for his personal stationery design and a poster design for the BSC Theatrical Production of ‘The Foreigner’. Brandon Veen won a Silver Addy for his poster design for the BSC Theatrical Production of ‘How I Learned to Drive’. Aaron Bechtle won a Silver Addy for his studio photograph entitled ‘Coffee Delight’. Jessica Edinger won two silvers for her studio photographs entitled ‘Spice Your Life’ and ‘Drink’. Larree Janssen won a Silver Addy for her photography ‘Dragonfly’.

All Gold Addy Award winners are automatically forwarded for judging at the District 8 Addy Competition that will take place in Green Bay, WI on March 23.

The GDC graduating class of 2017 won a Gold Addy for the sixth edition of PROOF Magazine, an all student designed and produced publication. Since 2012, PROOF magazine has collected three Addy Awards. The seventh edition of PROOF is currently in production.

Several Graphic Design and Communications graduates were also part of award-winning projects this year. Rob Burke, Jamie Vetter, Caleb Hauff, Nathan Long and Jade Neumann were among the alumni honored with Addys as well. Neumann, a 2017 graduate, was awarded two Silver Addys. One for the ‘Shortcuts’ Poster Design and the other for ‘Create’, an illustration. Long, a 2016 graduate now attending Moorhead State University, shared in a Gold Addy for a web site design for ‘The Fargo Project’. This entry also received the only ‘Best of Digital’ Student Award. Burke, 2009 graduate and owner of Yarn Media, received 3 Gold Addys and 1 Silver for his cinematography and editing work. Vetter, also a 2009 graduate, netted four Addys – a Silver with co-creator of the Shortcuts Poster, Jade Neumann, and three Addys as part of his work with Agency Mabu. Hauff, 2014 graduate and co-founder of Threefold, shared in over ten awards – four Gold Addys, five Silver Addys and the only Best of Show given this year.

Congratulations to all award winners and all of the students that entered. Because the Addy is universally recognized by the creative industry as a signature achievement, receiving one is great validation for the professional and creative work produced by our GDC students.

MiKayla Pfaff’s digital illustration of a gold pocket watch received a Gold Addy.

Josh Schaefbauer’s Moscow Mule in ‘Let’s Drink’ captured a Gold Addy.

Parker Bachmeier’s personal stationery package received a Silver Addy.

Bachmeier also received a Silver Addy for his poster for ‘The Foreigner’.

Brandon Veen received a Silver Addy for his ‘How I Learned to Drive’ play poster.

A Silver Addy was awarded to Aaron Bechtle for his ‘Coffee Delight’ photo.

Jessica Edinger won a Silver Addy for her ‘Spice Your Life’ photo.

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Larree Janssen’s up-close-and-personal photo of this dragonfly won a Silver Addy.

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Nathan Long (2016 graduate), won a Gold and Best of Student, Digital for his collaboration on ‘The Fargo Project’ web site.

The Silver Addy Award-winning Shortcuts poster was a joint effort between Jamie Vetter (2009 graduate) and Jade Neumann (2017 graduate).

Jade Neumann’s illustrated ‘Create’ design won a Silver Addy.

Motion and Sound with After Effects

Second year students in the Graphic Design and Communications Intro to Multimedia course recently completed an assignment where they used After Effects to incorporate movement and sound to introduce themselves. Students worked diligently using what basics they knew to incorporate some advanced techniques inspired by more popular television intros. All in all the results were impressive. Here are just a few.

Reality: Illustrated

The first year students recently completed one of the most time-consuming and technical assignments of the first semester: the vector product illustration. Success of this particular assignment hinges largely on the reference image as well as the quality of the path construction. Sampling colors and building custom gradients contribute greatly to achieving photorealism.

hammersmark_animation

Patrick Hammersmark

decoteau_animation

Meggan Decoteau

pfaff_animation

MiKayla Pfaff

wit_animation

Witney Nielsen

schaefbauer_animation

Josh Schaefbauer

emmil_animation

Courtney Emmil

murphy_animation

Jackson Murphy

Hink Pink

Freshmen students recently completed their first vector drawings using Adobe Illustrator and the pen tool. These illustrations were based on an earlier analog assignment where they needed to visually depict a hink pink, or two-word rhyming riddle and render it in ink. The original drawings were scanned and placed into Illustrator so that they could trace over them using the vector drawing tools they’ve learned over the past several weeks. See if you can guess these hink pinks riddles.

foxbox
smartheart
bigpig
bearchair
chillpill
leafthief
mimetime
polarmolar

TV Title Typography

Type is a powerful design element, one that greatly influences the mood and emotion of any creation. When era-specific typefaces and styles are used in a design the perceived age of that design changes accordingly.

First year students in BSC’s Graphic Design and Communication’s Typography class recently demonstrated how, just by changing a typeface, a modern television program can be transported back to an earlier time.

Click on the image above to load some examples of vernacular TV titles.

Click on the image above to load some examples of vernacular TV titles.

Movement for Mobile

Second year students in the Graphic Design and Communications program recently covered how to utilize Adobe Animate to execute HTML5, mobile-ready, browser-controlled animations. In the span of a few weeks students created animations that were to engage the user and link their original brands to a national cause/movement. Adobe Animate focuses on achieving mobile-friendly, efficient vector animation using javascript and HTML5’s canvas feature rather than rely on Flash’s vulnerable Flash Player.

Click on the images below to see a few examples.

 

CFlanaganAnimation

Cori Flanagan masters fluid movement with her ‘Monster Munchies’ character.

NWeaverAnimation

Nicole Weaver pours on the ‘Sweet Piggy’ BBQ sauce.

ALongAnimation

The buzz is about local, organic freshness in this ad by Adam Long.

DTrippAnimation

Daisy Tripp’s animation has us tripping on ‘Daisy’s Donuts’.

History’s Rolodex

Business cards are some of the most common brand identity elements designers are asked to create. So what if your brand is a fairly notable individual? First year students in the Typography class recently completed an assignment where they had to imagine and design a business card for an actual or fictitious character. After conducting some research as to who their character was they had to make design choices that reflected the era in which they lived. They were to consider typographic styles and details that would help the finished card appear as legitimate as possible. Typography is often a hit or miss proposition but with some historical context the choices can become more obvious.

HistoricBCs

Some notable business card designs from a handful of students. (Clockwise from left to right: Annette Pickard, Lindsay Swaidner, Hannah Schafer, Preston Murschel, Ashley Rudnick and Kelsey Nicholson.)

Emotional Bunch

The first year students in Sean Thorenson’s Digital Illustration class recently executed their first original vector drawings. Using a scanned image of their hand drawn inking, the pen tool and a lot of patience, the students created this motley crew. This image may appear to be inked, but it is a 100% digital vector creation.
EmotionCollage