Advertising begins with people. And it’s most successful when these people work together.
We experienced this caliber of collaboration a few weeks ago at Art Building West in Iowa City.
Over 60 students from colleges across the state of Iowa attended On Your Mark at Art Building West on Friday, April 6th for a day of creativity and collaboration. Throughout the day, these students participated in portfolio reviews, a printing workshop, and a creative competition.
In preparation for job searching and applying for their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, students shared school portfolios with local professionals such as Mark Keele from Stamats Communications Inc.
“It was a pleasure to spend time at the inspiring Art Building West and to review some of the student design portfolios,” said Keele. “It was amazing to see how differently each student handled the same project assignments. The faculty, facilities and students are remarkable. It was my favorite AdFed event in a decade or more.”
Thanks to these professionals, students gained valuable insight on their work from a diverse range of industries such as photography, graphic design, web design, and videography.
At the Printing 101 Workshop, Justin McDonald from Cedar Graphics presented students with a crash course in the printing industry, from pixel to ink.
During this session, students learned everything from the print process and prepress to varnishes and augmented reality.
Along with these other events, students from the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, Coe College, and Kirkwood Community College teamed up in groups of four to create a logo for the Iowa Memorial Cup Race Series (IMCRS).
With just under five hours to create a final logo for the organization, students were challenged to collaborate together to create a cohesive piece of work.
The fact that each of the team members were from different schools made working together a bigger challenge, but in the end all of the students were surprised how this type of collaboration aided their team in creating truly meaningful bodies of artwork with the most efficiency.
To help students stay on track throughout the day, mentors guided them through a design process which propelled the teams to engage with one another and their work in very specific ways at specific times. For example, before jumping on the computer, students were required to do research, pull inspiration, and sketch a diverse range of logo iterations.
“Especially where we are today with digital technology, I’ll often see students jump to the computer and begin developing final artwork without first working through the iterative stage of wrestling with the concept,” said John Allen from FUEL. “It was fun to see these students try many variations and explore via pencil and paper before executing them in digital format.”
At the end of the day, the teams presented their work to an auditorium of fellow students and to Ben Anderson (President of the IMCRS), who selected the Grand Winners. Anderson also acted as the team’s client for part of the day, reviewing their artwork as the students were in the process of creating it.
“I could tell the students were engaged and really benefited from a taste of the real world,” said Anderson. “I was really impressed!”
Prizes were given out for Grand Winner, Judges Choice, and Team Player awards.
Events begin with people. And they’re most successful when they’re about the people. This wouldn’t have been possible without awesome people who made it successful. A big shout out to the sponsors below who helped promote design education right here in Iowa.
Thoughts from the day
“On Your Mark provided a unique opportunity for designers to get together and create with a common goal in mind. I was fortunate to have been exposed to other work styles, and enjoy the design process with others who have my same ambitions.”
— Storm Shearer, University of Iowa
“As graphic designers, it’s always hard to get professional critiques. Participating in On Your Mark helps me to know more about my ability and how to improve in the future.”
— Sammi Wu, University of Iowa
“I enjoyed On Your Mark because of the idea of working with students from other universities in Iowa and everyone combining their design strengths into a group project.”
— Antonio Murillo, University of Iowa
“It’s rich to work with strangers because you have to be a little more clear in the message you try to convey, as well as really get the creative juices flowing to put your best foot forward.”
— Leah Plath, UNI
“I thought the event was a really rewarding experience for all parties involved. The students got to have some hands-on with a real logo project for a real client. It was inspiring to see them all work together across colleges. I was amazed by their energy and eagerness to work together in such a collaborative environment, when traditionally colleges are focused on having the students work as individuals. When a group of people can come together, from all these different experiences, background and create something together, I feel like the outcome will always be an amazing thing. It’s when we work together and are open with one another that we form real connections, make new friends, and learn the most.”
— Rhiannon Montelius, FUEL
“It says a lot about the design community here in Iowa that we can rally behind a great cause for a great event and help create a positive message through amazing design.”
— Austin Montelius, University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences