Lauren Smith, Staff Writer

Florida Southern College’s art department bursts at the seams with talented students, and the graphic design department had their chance to shine during the Senior Graphic Design Thesis Exhibition in March. The exhibition was held in the Melvin Gallery and displayed the projects, both print and digital, of graphic design seniors that involved an entire school year to develop.

Those who participated in the exhibition were required to create a made-up brand, product or service. This gave the students free reign to be as creative and clever as they wanted, and also gave them the opportunity to choose something in which they were genuinely interested. Once they invented their brand, product or service, they were expected to create everything involved with the design and advertising of a company, including the business logo, packaging, posters, website, letterhead and business cards.

“The biggest thing I took away from my involvement in the art show was that I am capable of creating and following a brand,” says senior Danielle Zenga about her involvement in the Graphic Design Thesis Exhibition. “I also now have exciting content to add to my portfolio, which I can show to future employers.”

Awards are given to students who show superb creativity and excellent graphic design skill during the exhibition. The judge that participated this year, Tina Sargeant, editor of the Lakelander, had many fun and interesting projects to choose from. Some of the imaginary products that battled for first place included edible cookie dough, health food, hard lemonade and makeup. However, it was Kelsey Culm’s project centered on a children’s bookstore that stole the show for Sargeant.

“Storytime Children’s Bookstore celebrates the way children interpret stories. It’s a place where parents and kids and interact with literatures most beloved characters, and maybe a few new ones as well,” says Culm about her winning project. “I fully illustrated the whole brand along with custom and hand lettering so there would be a playful, approachable feel throughout. I wanted to make it feel like you were walking into a storybook.”

Culm, coming from a family of educators, found reading a very important part of her life, so the project was very close to her heart. Winning first prize was truly an honor for her.

“The other brands were so well executed this year. It was an enormous undertaking for everyone who participated, so being recognized for a job well done feels incredible,” she says.

The Senior Graphic Design Thesis Exhibition begins the fall semester of a graphic design student’s senior year and combines everything they have learned since their freshman classes. Before Winter Break, students collaborate with their professors to flesh out ideas for their imaginary brand or service, and then spend the spring semester executing their ideas and bringing them to life. It is a great way for graphic design students to put their skills to the test and show everyone, including potential employers, what they are capable of.

“Here at FSC, graphic design majors are challenged weekly with projects that can be applied to real world experiences,” says Zenga. “The program here has pushed me to be a more confident and passionate designer. I am very happy with the place I am at today with my skills and knowledge. I have learned so much in such a short period of time.”

Photo courtesy of Kelsey Culm