The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Senior graphic design show envisions impactful products

GVL/ Aida Dennis

An exhibition, “Envision: A World Aligned,” created by senior Graphic Design majors at Grand Valley State University opened at the Art Gallery in the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts on Nov. 13. The exhibition will remain on display through Nov. 21. The 2023 senior show uses student-created graphic design projects to address issues relevant to students and people around the world. 

A reception for the show was held at the gallery in the Haas Center for Performing Arts on Nov. 16. Those in attendance were encouraged to observe the work and speak with the student designers about their creations.

The 10 students who contributed to the exhibition created hypothetical brands and mission statements for displays ranging from golf apparel to non-alcoholic beverages. The students used different elements of graphic design to promote their brands by creating business cards, display products, stickers and other items.  

Students used their hypothetical brands to solve a problem of their choice and visually communicate their solution through graphic design. The result was a wide variety of infographics, apparel, package and postage designs. 

“We really try to push the students to look at the larger landscape of culture and what’s going on in the world,” said Lindsey Peterson, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and User Experience at GVSU. “We do quite a bit of research to try to identify areas of interest, but also where there’s a gap.”

Some of these gaps and areas of interest were inspired by issues students saw happening at GVSU and universities throughout the country. 

Lauren Walsh, a graphic design student, created a line of non-alcoholic mocktails called “Levy.” In her accompanying mission statement, Walsh included statistics from the Alcohol Rehab Guide, revealing that nearly 80 percent of college students consume alcohol. Furthermore, they estimate that 50 percent of those students also binge drink. 

“There’s such a big pressure on college campuses to drink, and there’s also a stigma on choosing non-alcoholic beverages,” Walsh said. “My goal was alleviating that peer pressure and societal norm of binge drinking.”

Another student, Brooklyn Graham, created a line of skin and hair care products named “Eaze” to treat eczema and dermatitis. Graham said developing a product that people could use to feel comfortable in their skin was her inspiration.

“I’ve struggled with it (eczema) since I was little,” Graham said. “I didn’t want it (Eaze) to be super feminine or masculine because everybody deals with these issues.”

Both Graham and Walsh said the process for their designs did not come without challenges. Along the way, Graham and Walsh said they experienced printing errors with their labels and stickers. They also said working within the capacity of what’s available as a student was another challenge.

However, Graham and Walsh said the entire creation process for the exhibition was very collaborative. 

With specific days scattered throughout the semester for feedback and critique, each student had the opportunity to give their perspective on each other’s work. Graham and Walsh said the collaborative nature and inspiring creativity amongst the designers pushed everyone to create their best work.

Peterson said she hopes people walk away from the exhibition with a better understanding and appreciation of the work that graphic designers do.

“(With this exhibition) we wanted to show people the breadth of what our graphic designers can do and the systems that they’re building,” Peterson said. “There’s multiple mediums that are happening and understanding how those mediums can bridge between digital and physical spaces (is) something a lot of students might not think about.”

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