Design students draw on creativity, ingenuity for final projects

Graphic designer Niki Wehner shows some of her advertising artwork during the College of Arts and Media Senior Design Showcase on Tuesday at the Quad.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow

“You get what you put in,” Agape Haile, senior graphic design major, exclaimed as he proudly showed off his projects at the College of Arts and Media Senior Design Showcase on Tuesday afternoon.

Students, parents, staff and faculty filled Grand Canyon University’s Quad lawn for presentations of design students’ finest projects created over the course of their college years. It was a chance for them to share their portfolios and show how they have grown as artists.

“This showcase is a community-wide celebration,” said Dean Dr. Craig Detweiler. “It involves more than 100 students, parents, all different kinds of employers and opportunities. We even have alumni coming back saying they need to hire someone. There is a circle of goodness created.”

Agape Haile shared his graphic designs.

Tables peppered the field with graphic and web design, social media, animation and advertising seniors displaying their best coursework. Printed books, monitors showing off websites, stickers and fun trinkets on every table represented the personal brand identities students created.

Web design major Olivia Ice got especially creative with her branding, designing everything in the theme of ice cream in correlation with her last name and favorite treat.

“Professor (Troy) Pottgen says when you have something creative like that, you just have to run with creativity and make new ways,” Ice said.

Web design major Olivia Ice talks with fellow students about her work.

She used that fun theme to draw people’s attention to her booth and showcase the project she's most proud of: an app called Rem Logic, used to track narcolepsy and educate individuals on the condition.

“You have to find a problem and solve it,” added Ice. “I chose a ring people can wear that tracks sleep specifically. You can track your medicine within the app and find resources about the condition and even share them with your doctor. It’s to help maintain and take care of a person’s health.”

What started out as a class project turned into a career goal for Ice, whose interest sparked because of her own narcolepsy condition.

Just like Ice, most students drew inspiration for their projects from personal experience and desire to impact their communities.

Students look over the work of their fellow College of Arts and Media students.

Pink, blue and black stickers and postcards were spread across senior social media major Adelei Nykamp’s table.

While a duck wearing a mini bib sticker or a pink pigeon nestled in a paper plane postcard seemed like cute, unique designs to attendees, the icons reminded Nykamp that social media should be a fun platform where everyone is a friend and can freely communicate.

“Each icon represents something different. I came up with these as core values for myself. I wanted more to my design, and I want it to represent something.”

This year’s showcase was especially significant as the first graduating class of social media majors got to present their work.

With less than 10 graduating seniors in the social media program, these students have built a tight-knit community, working and growing alongside each other as the program itself is in its early stages of growth and development.

“It feels really awesome to be able to say we were the first graduating class with social media,” shared Nykamp. “There has been a lot of challenges, but good challenges that forced me to grow into a better designer, creator and artist. A lot of projects pushed me out of my comfort zone.”

Senior motion graphic designer Brenton Jones displays his graphic designs.

Every table booth showcased a compilation of projects that students were challenged by in their creative fields. From their early projects from freshman year to their final products completed in their last days of college, their growth as artists and individuals was displayed most of all.

“It’s going to sound so cliché, but I’ve learned to never give up,” shared senior motion graphic design major Brenton Jones, standing in front of his multiple drafts that showed his persistence to get that perfect sketch.

 “You can’t see it through when you get started, but if you just keep going, then you eventually make it out and you have such a solid thing to be proud of.”

Students pack the Quad for the Senior Design Showcase.

Students experienced that pride in the event's overwhelming attendance and in the awards gifted by their professors for their outstanding performance and determination.

“The showcase is always so celebratory,” said Sheila Schumacher, chair of digital design. “It’s great to have parents here and see the students as proud, professional designers and promoting their work the way they do. That’s probably one of the most fun things for me to see – mom and dad.”

GCU staff writer Izabela Fogarasi can be reached at [email protected]

Related content:

GCU News: Design students, faculty honored by ad group

GCU News: Rejuvenated college paints a picture of transformation

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