The Graphic Design Club is teaching students how to apply their artistic capabilities to real-world problems.
Run by graphic communications senior Grace Easton, the club meets on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the art building. Easton said the purpose of the club is to “create community for the design students and provide them with resources wherever we can as far as design inspiration, internship and freelance opportunities.”
While the club is mostly student-run, they often have experts from the industry host workshops for the students.
“Sometimes we’ll have professionals come in and do portfolio reviews, or do a speaker panel so students can ask questions,” Easton said. “We try to do a lot of fun stuff, but also supplement what they’re doing in their classes with stuff that a lot of the upper level students have learned from working.”
Though the club is geared toward graphic design majors, all students are welcome to attend meetings. There is no process of placing membership. One must simply come to a meeting prepared to learn valuable design skills.
“Recently we’ve been having everyone share a bit of their inspiration from that past week,” Easton said. “The rest of the time, we’re either doing some kind of activity together, or we’re just hanging out and passing around ideas. Today [Feb. 8], we’re going to talk about a T-shirt contest we’re going to have, and the rest of the meeting, we’re going to work on the designs for that.”
There is great variety in the types of activities the club does each week.
“We try to let people know ahead of time what it will be, so if they’re really interested in one thing, they can go to that,” Easton said, “and they’re not going to meetings where they feel like they’re not getting what they wanted out of the club.”
Easton only found her love of design after she enrolled in college. She started out as an education major and later switched to graphic design.
“I grew up loving art, but I felt like I was always frustrated,” Easton said. “I thrived in an art class, when I had an assignment and I knew exactly what the goal was. I hated when it was just like, ‘Just create a beautiful work of art,’ with no other instructions. When I found out about design, it was this revelation, because it’s almost like art, but you have a specific goal and you’re trying to tell a specific story.”
She also rejects the idea that graphic design should be purely associated with computers.
“Graphic design has been around for centuries. It didn’t start with a computer,” Easton explained. “Typically you are producing the final result on a computer, but you have to know how to sketch out your ideas. If you don’t know how to work with your hands, your work is going to be missing a lot. The process of design should start with pen and paper.”
Even people who may not feel confident in their programming skills can still benefit from getting involved in the club.
“If you can be creative and think through a problem, you can get help with the programs later,” Eason said. “Anyone can benefit from some sort of design knowledge.”