Katherine K., Graphic Design

Student Status: Alumna
Course: GRD 4200 Corporate Identity Design
Category: Art
Opportunity: Atlanta Science Festival

“It was a very unique experience in that we could see all the concepts and ideas come full circle. It wasn’t theory; it was how do I make it happen.”

Q: Tell us about your role in the Atlanta Science Festival.

A: Jeff Boortz, our professor, invited students to participate in this special class. There were several students from the junior and senior classes in the design program (about 15 in total) and we also had a few students from different areas film students and an interior design student — and we sat down with a schedule and said these are the items we need for the screen series, these are the items that we need for Discover day, and these are the items we need for the fusion art gallery. It wasn’t just posters or flyers; we had to name the events and brand them. We had to come up with brand guidelines for each one. We had to design merchandise and a pop-up store. After that, we actually had to make everything happen. So we found products. We had the products designed and ordered. We constructed a pop-up store with the help of one of the interior design students who was amazing. We did video ads to go online, we did a website, we did radio spots. We had to film it all and take pictures. We were doing everything, but our professor, Jeff Boortz, was there to hold our hand, to make sure we didn’t stray, and to encourage and critique us.

Q: How did you benefit from participating in this course?

A: It was a culmination of things that we had learned so we had all of these skills to produce these graphics but it was a new frontier as far as production goes. So our education took us up to this line, and then we had to cross it and kind of venture out on our own. So we are swimming with these floaties and then the floaties were taken away. We had to figure it out and it was great. It was totally great. If I had the opportunity to do more of these kinds of experiences in school I would have. In going through different interviews and meeting with different companies, some of them are interested in your portfolio, but I would say the majority of those you have interviewed with want to know what you have actually done. These experiences give you the opportunity to start building up your resume before you leave school. The design community is small and it’s competitive. And those things [experiences] are hugely important.

Q: Since you have graduated, what are you doing now?

A: I am working as a graphic designer primarily in promotional products. Doing this merchandise helped me feel more comfortable working with those kind of projects and items. So I’m doing that now but I also take on freelance work. I am about to commit to some freelance work helping with the design and branding of a production company and the nine short films that they will be working on of the next three years that I am going to be involved in and I will be designing but also facilitating and hopefully passing off some of that work to other people. Because of this experience I feel a lot more comfortable in being confident in my decisions and being confident in how I delegate tasks.

Q: What was your favorite part of the experience?

A: That it was real; that it was really happening. It wasn’t just an idea; it was I’m calling the printer, I’m calling the distributor of all the products we’re ordering, etc. We are actually having these banners made. We’re going to this film festival. We’re asking people to come and speak. We had the Science Channel come in thanks to Jeff Boortz’s awesome connections. We had the producers from the show Through the Wormhole come and actually speak to us and I got to meet them and talk to them. And that doesn’t happen because we are sitting in a classroom talking about how great it would be to do such and such. It’s real. That was definitely the best part of it.