Final freshmen project

The last project of the spring 2016 semester in the GDES 111 class was creating a poster promoting the Graphic Design and Communications program to send to high schools. The project was a major success, the students did a great job and rather choosing a single poster, we opted to use several of the 27 posters submitted. Check out some of the posters we chose to output and mail below.


The work is in

Last week I posted thumbnails of a sophomore assignment. The assignment was to photographically illustrate a common saying. The task wasn’t easy, several students talked with me about the challenges with the assignment. The process of both shooting and compositing images is challenging, even for experienced professionals. The images below are some of strongest student work. See if you can decipher what is saying is that goes with the photo.

A surprise visitor


Today we had a surprise visitor – Donna Vallarano. Donna is a retired faculty of the Graphic Design and Communications department (Commercial Art while Donna was teaching). She was also one of the instructors that taught all three of the current GDC faculty. To clarify that, she taught Sean, Tom and Jason about graphic design at BSC.

Donna took time to give a quick hand lettering demonstration that the students watched closely. After 16 years of retirement, Donna still knows how to talk to a class and deal with students.

Spending time with Donna was definitely the highlight of our day.


The start of something great?

The sophomore Graphic Design and Communications students are working with Photoshop compositing, or building one image from multiple pieces.

Their goal is to build a literal interpretation of a saying from three or more photos the student shoots. So far the thumbnail sketches showing student concepts look promising.

Watch for finished work next week.



Hall of fame scissors


If you don’t recognize the name “Luyben” on the blade, then this is just an old pair of scissors. If you were a student of Dave Luyben’s, these scissors probably remdind you of a great teacher from your past.

Dave made a positive mark on many young people, including the current GDC teaching staff. Dave taught all of the computer-based portions of the curriculum in the late 80’s and early 90’s and much of it until his retirement.

If you have great memories of Dave or other faculty members, feel free to share them.

Better than Monopoly?

The freshmen Graphic Design and Communications students are working on creating board games. The goal is to work in a group of four to create a board game from the ground up.

Each group chose a concept and presented it to the instructors. The concepts were very impressive and the group work so far has been amazing.

building panofresh

Step back in time

Shane Balkowitsch has taken time out of his day the past three years to explain wet plate photography to the BSC Graphic Design and Communications students.

Shane is incredibly passionate about what he does and extremely generous as well. Few people still shoot using this process and Balkowitsch is one of the most prolific. He shoots an amazing number of wet plates each year and even offered the students a chance to come back and have their photos shot at a later date.

The Halloween video list

Each year around Halloween the Graphic Design and Communications department does a  stop-motion animation project with the freshmen students. The assignment is creative and aims to teach story telling along with the need to balance speed with creativity.

Each animation is around 300 frames and the groups have about 90 minutes to complete it.

Group 1 video

Group 2 video

Group 3 video

Group 4 video

Quench your thirst

Beverage photography is difficult. Even though the subject doesn’t complain, it requires more attention than the other subjects the students have worked with.

The beverage container is as important as the drink itself – it has to be spotless and the lighting must be arranged perfectly. A plan must be prepared before hand because ice needs to stay solid or warm drinks begin to look different as they cool.

The sophomore students captured several excellent beverage photos, below are a couple examples.

A modern look at the past

The Bismarck State College Graphic Design and Communications students are starting a semester-long project creating a new design for the department’s two display cases.

The process started with some education from an expert – Erik Holland. Holland is the curator of education for the State Historical Society of North Dakota. He talked about sticking to a concept, understanding your audience and planning. Holland is very knowledgeable and an interesting speaker.