Graphic design seniors add purpose to final projects

Mary Racette, Associate Editor

GVL / Mary Racette
GVL / Mary Racette
GVL / Mary Racette
GVL / Mary Racette

The last semester for five graduating Grand Valley State University graphic design students was spent creating senior projects that carry purpose and meaning and showcase the skills they’ve developed throughout college. 

Seniors Jacob Battle, Hayley Belcuore, Caileigh Bigger, Arien Middlebrooks and Viviana Rubio displayed their work in the GVSU Art Gallery on Nov. 15-18.  The gallery was titled “Reflect: Seeking Perspective Through Design.”

The seniors have been guided through their projects by professor Lindsey Peterson. Battle said they were free to express themselves through their projects and were encouraged to create a message with their work.

“We spent a lot of the time honing in on our ideas and making our own personal messages that we wanted to convey clearly,” Battle said.

The projects this semester ranged in subject matter and style. The students explored topics such as Black culture, immigration and personal emotions. Each project reflects the students’ unique interests in graphic design. 

Battle created his own clothing brand that partners with national parks to show different data that represents the effects of climate change within the parks. The aesthetic of his brand is reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s. 

“I have always been a big fan of the outdoors and traveling, and another one of my interests is clothing and fashion design,” Battle said. “So I wanted to marry the two together and create a line of clothing inspired by the national parks.”

Battle said he is most proud of his accomplishment of creating his own cohesive brand.

Belcuore took a different approach to her final project and developed a mobile app that created an interactive smartphone experience for museums. The app is titled History Hunt and is a full prototype so it can be viewed as if it’s real. 

As the students prepare to graduate, they’re reflecting on their time studying graphic design at GVSU.

“I think I do feel prepared (to graduate) because throughout the program there’s been so many different projects and experiences that really cover what I think is going to be the full range of what I’m going to experience in the real world,” Battle said.

Both Battle and Belcuore said they felt their graphic design professors, Peterson and Vinicius Lima, helped them grow as designers. 

“This is the first semester that I’ve had (Peterson) but I really value her input and her opinions and I’m constantly thinking of ways to not disappoint her,” Belcuore said. “I think she is very good at connecting with the students so I think she’s really helped with my GVSU experience.”

Out of all the classes in the graphic design program, Battle and Belcuore agreed that their most impactful course was “3D for Graphic Design”, which is an elective that focuses on the mechanics of packaging. 

“That class cemented what I really liked about graphic design and my interests in packaging,” Battle said. 

Battle and Belcuore are among the five graduating students who are showcasing their work. These students have spent the last semester creating projects that they’re proud to share. 

The gallery came to a close with a reception on Nov. 18. In attendance were the graduating students, their professors, and a number of others who came in support.

“It’s felt kind of new, because it was so different last year, for our seniors and for their shows,” said Professor Lindsey Peterson. “That we’re able to have it in person and resume a sense of normalcy while taking measures to ensure it’s a safe experience for everyone, is exciting.”