Fifteen graphic design students showcase work in exhibition

GVL / Courtesy - Vinicius Lima

Vinicius Lima

GVL / Courtesy - Vinicius Lima "Grid Nation"

Carmen Smith

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Fifteen graduating graphic design students at Grand Valley State University displayed their semester long works in the collaborative exhibition, Grid Nation, this past week.

Grid Nation opened Monday, April 10,  in the GVSU Art Gallery in the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus and concluded Friday, April 14.

The students featured in the exhibition include: Nathanael Allen, Hannah Colmer, Stephen Dobrzynski, Kathryn Dover, Bethany Houghton, Elizabeth LaValle, Nicolette Looks, Micah Martin, Heidi Mihm, Caitlin Plassenthal, Lina Pierson, Catherine Rader, Jeremy Shane, Carissa Storms, and Ryan Van Ham. They all worked on their individual projects throughout the semester under the guidance of GVSU art professor Vinicius Lima.

“For this project, they get to assign what they want to do. It’s interesting to see where their interests lie. They had to come up with a topic, with a problem to solve within that project, what touch points that project will have, what pieces it will have, how it will be presented,” Lima said. “It’s interesting to see what they can come up with and how they can put all of their skills together from the past four years together into one big comprehensive project.”

The artists were able to create unique designs focusing on topics they are passionate about.

Shane created the branding for a clothing line, DGR, which included shirts, business cards, a lookbook, a shopping bag and a gift card.

Houghton designed a company called Mewow, a small non-profit organization that works with non-profit cat shelters to increase adoption rates. Within the company, Houghton created gift bags that would be included with each adoption and four cat characters to promote her business.

“I’m really into packaging design because it allows for a humanistic approach to what I create and people get to hold and feel the designs I’ve been creating, so that is where this project really became inspiring and fun,” Houghton said. “I loved the exploration of the whole branding experience and I got to learn a lot about what I could do through this project, and the exhibition shows all of our hard work off and gets people excited to see what ideas can become when they have the time to be explored.”

The student designers facilitated a reception in the gallery space Thursday, April 13, to talk about their projects, collaborate with fellow design enthusiasts and mingle with interested viewers who stopped to appreciate all of their hard work.

“Grid Nation is the pinnacle of all of our work,” Shane said. “If you’re working on something that you love doing, be confident in your work. Don’t be shy. This exhibition represents a real presentation, and kind of takes you to the next level.”

Lima offered a word of advice to future student artists: never stop trying. He is confident that the graduating art students will do well after they leave GVSU and is happy with the progress they’ve made over the semester.