Graphic design students to host exhibition that highlights the process of design

A promotional poster for the Work in Progress exhibit.
Fourth-year graphic students describe their "Work in Progress" exhibit as a “radical showcase of all our design screw-ups and triumphs,” according to promotional materials the class produced.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Fourth-year Penn State graphic design students in the College of Arts and Architecture's Stuckeman School will host “Work in Progress,” a free public exhibit that showcases their design processes, from 2-5 p.m. Nov. 15-16 in 24 Borland Building on the University Park campus.

The students describe the exhibit as a “radical showcase of all our design screw-ups and triumphs,” according to promotional materials the class produced. Attendees are invited to “learn the method behind our madness while exploring our interactive event. From brainstorming to drafting to throwing it away to start over again, you'll get to see it all!”

Taylor Shipton, assistant teaching professor of graphic design, asked the students to create an exhibition highlighting the theme of connections and to showcase their projects from their internships and undergraduate work. She posed a prompt to them: “People do not know what graphic design is, what designers do and why it is important and impactful on the world at large.”

The showcase will take the audience into the mind of a graphic designer by showing not only the students' finished projects but also their process as designers.

“They decided to start to work on this idea of a 'work in progress' as a way to showcase that nothing is ever finished, and even as they go through life, there is always the next thing coming,” Shipton said. “It applies not only to their work and their lives but also it applies to anybody's life.”

To start planning the exhibition, students broke into four teams: branding, promotional, social media and installation. The branding team established the showcase's look and feel first for the other teams to delve into their work.

“[A challenge was] bringing together a group and trying to figure out how to combine our personalities and goals into something singular that represents us all,” said Megan Dale, a student on the branding team. “I think that 'Work in Progress' gives us each our own freedom within the branding to be able to express ourselves but also have it stay consistent.”

After the branding guidelines for the showcase's look and message had been determined, each member of the branding team joined one of the other three remaining teams.

The promotional team developed posters and invitations — in both printed and digital formats — for the exhibition, along with takeaways that attendees can bring home from the show. The students hope their efforts will not only promote the showcase to those on campus but will also appeal to prospective students.

“Social media has a big aspect when looking at prospective students by getting our posts on their channels,” said Dustin Sites, a student on the promotional team.

The social media team is focusing its efforts on Instagram, curating posts for highlights and stories to reach out to prospective students who follow the Penn State Graphic Design account.

The installation team had the challenge of asking “'What is design for people who aren't face-to-face with it every day?'” said Peyton Harris, a student on the installation team. “We wanted to answer that by breaking down what the design process looks like for us.”

Harris explained that the audience walks through a five-step process of a graphic designer, starting with a project assignment, going into research, ideation, problem-solving and finally the finished project.

“It really walks the audience through exactly what design means for those of us who are living [graphic design] at Penn State,” Harris said.

Schools and Departments: Department of Graphic Design, Stuckeman School
Event Sponsors: Stuckeman School