Senior Graphic Design Books Reflect Synthesis of Skills

Posted: April 30, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryan Effgen

Books made by senior graphic design students are currently on display on the second floor of College Hall. The books are the culmination of a semester of work by Art and Visual Technology adjunct professor Maureen Lauran’s AVT 498 students. Each book is unique: some are softcover, some are hardcover, some are nontraditional. The pages are filled with original poetry, political commentary, photography—content as diverse as the students who made them.

“The book serves as a vehicle not only for the students to ‘show their stuff,’ but also as a way of completing a large volume of work that involves collaboration,” says Lauran. “The collaboration might involve working with a writer—although many of the students this term wrote their own material—working with an illustrator, or a photographer, or, indeed, doing a great deal of photo research. All of these tools are necessary to the students becoming truly informed designers with an understanding of the publishing industry’s demands on them.”

graphic design book wall
The senior graphic design students produced a variety of books, now on display in College Hall.
Photo by Evan Cantwell

At the beginning of the course, each student designed a 32-page pamphlet as a prelude to the final book, which required a minimum of 56 pages. Instructors from the Writing Center were invited to visit the class to discuss the editing and proofreading services available to the students. Each student had his or her work edited before producing the final version.

“I think in terms of growth as a designer, this has been a very important project,” says AVT senior Josh Hughes. “Designing a book and keeping the design consistent, all in a matter of weeks, is a challenge. And it’s a challenge we haven’t faced until now. Most of the earlier design classes focused on flyers, brochures, and small publications—nothing that even came close to the breadth of a book. I think I would not have felt as prepared as a graphic designer had we not done this project.”

Lauran orchestrated AVT 498 as a synthesis course, incorporating and expanding upon the students’ abilities with typography, illustration, photography, and design.

“The skills they acquire as designers are numerous,” says Lauran. “They have to deal with many issues that are applicable to several communication streams, not the least of which is designing for the web. The hierarchy of subject matter and logical arrangement of ‘links’ in their work is a central understanding that is meaningful in everything a graphic designer is asked to deal with.”

The books will remain on display until Sunday, May 2.

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