Hands on learning

A partnership between graphic design students and the Village of Claycomo

Emily Noyes, Design editor

At 8:53, every other day, Kerri Cassity’s graphic design class transforms into a professional graphic design firm.

The Village of Claycomo approached Cassity last spring about designing a community logo.

“They’re trying to reorganize their community in the next few years, so they asked me last spring if we had graphic design students that could work on this,” Cassity said, “I told them that our entire graphic design class would be glad to partner with them and create a series of logos that they could choose from.”

For the 19 students in the graphic design class, the first semester has been focused around collaborating on the designs.

“We interviewed him [the Village Administrator], we did research and then each student came up with their own little sketches of logos. From there the class has just gone through a process. They’ve guided their process of which designs were the strongest and then they continued to work in small design teams to refine that design,” Cassity said.

Before beginning their designs, the students researched the Village of Claycomo.

“It started with finding out key elements that Claycomo has geographically or metaphorically and turning those into different logos themselves,” senior Gardner Littleton said.

The students put a lot of thought into the design of each logo, operating just as they would in the career world.

“We have to know why we chose different colors and why we chose different font styles, and be able to present that in a way that makes sense to other people who aren’t in the art world,” junior Charity Smith said.

An authentic learning partnership such as this one benefits both the students and the community.

“It gives students an understanding of how a design firm works, or what type of jobs they could have in a company if they worked in a department that needed a designer,” Cassity said.

The real world experience gave students a purpose in the classroom.

“It really helped because we presented in front of the council. We had to meet deadlines and we actually had to meet them because we were doing it for a company,” Smith said, “If it was just school work it wouldn’t have been important to us.”

Taking the step from the everyday classroom to a hands-on business partnership prepared the students for a career in the art field.

“I think that’s more important than anything because what we want to do is help students understand that they can go into the field of design. They are prepared to do that if they work through an event like this,” Cassity said, “I think that it’s more than just learning the skills. The students are actually experiencing what it would be in a design firm to communicate with a client, to take client feedback and apply it to their artwork.”

On Monday, December 14 the final decision will be made at a city hall meeting based on public votes and city employee votes.