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Featured Alum! Austin Haas

2018 Alum

Where are you currently working? (location & company)
Johannes Leonardo, New York, NY

What are you currently working on?
Volkswagen, Apeel, Kraft Heinz

What’s your favorite recent project?
Not so recent now, but we got to make a :90 spot saying goodbye to the famous VW Beetle. The whole experience was a highlight to work on animated spot with a studio I had admired for years, but as a small add on, part of the media buy was the New Years Eve countdown clock in Times Square. It would have been a really standard logo placement, but we had to the idea to incorporate the logo into the clock. So I made this minimal clock using rotating circles as hands that worked around the logo. So when the nation watched from the their living rooms, counting down to the first minute of the new decade, they were watching a clock that I made. It’s a little thing. But a nice moment.

How has your job changed with COVID?
It’s been tough. It can be mentally taxing, and feel unrewarding to see an entire production go by through zoom calls. While we’ve suffered the ability to travel for shoots and truly collaborate with our partners, teams and clients, COVID has been really liberating. I hope that agencies are flexible with the ability to work remote when it’s desired.

What was your favorite KUCD project? What class did you make it in?
Creative Writing. I loved Creative Writing because it was an opportunity to make art and experiment without expectations. I wasn’t expected to be any good at it so the reward was sweeter. There’s a lot of pressure and disappointment that comes with any creative career and I think you need those outlets to keep your balance.

How did your decision to attend KUCD affect the trajectory of your career?
Financially KUCD was my best option. While getting on the radar of recruiters and good agencies took a lot of work, and it’s surly easier to do coming from a bigger AD school like VCU, or Brigham Young, it ultimately comes down to the quality of your work and thinking and how you navigate relationships.

What advice would you give your high school self about choosing a college?
I’d say not to stress so hard. It feels like such a big deal at the time but now that I am a few years past it, collage feels like a small stepping stone. Given the chance I’d try to enjoy it more a second time around.

What is the best part of KUCD?
The versatility of the program allows you to change direction quickly. I picked up a lot of skills like motion, editing, illustration, writing that don’t define my job or necessarily find daily use, but have helped me to stand out or contribute when I otherwise wouldn’t have.

Any advice for current KUCD students?
Model yourself and your expectations off of creatives you admire. Be super honest and diligent with yourself. If something is bad, fix it. If you’re not up to par for a job or internship, figure out where to start and work to get there.

National GDUSA Awards Winners!

We are so proud of Prof. Vicki Meloney’s Package Design class. There were over 2,000 entries and less than 10% of those were winners.

KUCD Winners are:
Kerry Domas
Elline Santos
Bethsaida Torres
Gisela Rivera
Michelle Hue
Maddy Zeman

All the winners received a certificate and will be published in the quarterly magazine and featured on the website.

For nearly 60 years — since 1963— Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) has been a business-to-business information source for graphic design professionals.

GDUSA covers news, people, project, trends, technology, products and services. The GDUSA brand now includes a 100,000 visitor-a-month website, a monthly e-newsletter, a digital version of the magazine formatted for desktop, tablet and phones, and several national design competitions that culminate in Annuals showcasing the best in Graphic Design, Inhouse Design, Web Design, Package Design, Healthcare Design, and Digital Design.

Other major initiatives include annual recognition of leading Designers to Watch and promising Students To Watch, and periodic benchmark Reader Surveys on the state of print design, technology in design, design education, and the use of stock imagery in design. The main office is located on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan NYC.

http://gdusa.com/

 

Featured Alum! Andrew Cygan

2018 Alum

Where are you currently working? (location & company)
EY Design Studio PHL, Philadelphia, PA

What are you currently working on?
Building dashboards and data visualizations for an international healthcare company.

What’s your favorite recent project?
Designing a treatment and tracking app for patients suffering from a rare skin disorder.

How has your job changed with COVID?
I’ve been remote since March 2020. My role and responsibility hasn’t changed, we’ve just had to adjust how we tackle certain design activities, like brainstorming and whiteboarding sessions. Luckily, there are a lot of online resources that allow us to continue those activities. But personally, I miss the camaraderie of a hands-on, in-person whiteboard session.

What was your favorite KUCD project? What class did you make it in?
My favorite KUCD project was a non-profit ad campaign to help teach children (and adults) the concept and importance of ‘consent.’ Working with my partner, we created 30-second animated commercials showing examples of how language and actions can impact a child’s view of consent.

How did your decision to attend KUCD affect the trajectory of your career?
Attending KUCD allowed me to take my career in a new direction. Without my education at KUCD (and the reasonable price tag), I would have been much less likely to return to school and would likely still be working in a job and career I disliked.

What advice would you give your high school self about choosing a college?
When choosing a college, make sure to visit and get to know staff and faculty in the department where you plan to study. If you have a good experience with them, that’s a really great sign. Also, always consider the cost. College is a huge investment and state schools often offer both a high quality education and a lower price, allowing you to pay off loans earlier.

What is the best part of KUCD?
The faculty! The professors truly care and are invested not only in your success as a student but in your success as a graduate and young professional.

Any advice for current KUCD students?
Don’t hesitate to reach out to KUCD alum via social media (LinkedIn) for advice or other opportunities. Most all would be happy to help! We were all once in your shoes!

Featured Alum! Mary Kate Henry

2016 Alum

Where are you currently working? (location & company)
Pentagram, NY

What are you currently working on?
With my team, I just finished branding a theatre in Omaha, a non-profit helping create more equitable workplaces called Coqual, and a soap company called Dally. I get to work on everything from logos, packaging, print, web, and sometimes signage. I also do a personal project where I redesign the covers of books I read.

What’s your favorite recent project?
coqual.org (identity / web) – I always love doing work for clients that work to make a difference.

How has your job changed with COVID?
I work from home full time until at least summer 2021.

What was your favorite KUCD project? What class did you make it in?
I loved The Magazine Feature project in Graphics with Prof. Cunfer. This class was when design really started to click for me.

How did your decision to attend KUCD affect the trajectory of your career?
KUCD gave me the opportunity to attend an incredible design program while going to a liberal arts school where I could meet people with all interests/backgrounds. The professors gave me the all the tools I needed to enter the field, and they supported me in finding internships exactly where I wanted. Kutztown is between New York City, Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley, all areas with great design opportunities (and where we often went on trips). And of course, I have significantly less student loans from going to Kutztown than I would if I had decided to go to a private art school in a big city.

What advice would you give your high school self about choosing a college?
Choose a college that feels exciting and that just feels right when you visit.

What is the best part of KUCD?
KUCD is one big family. You know everyone by the time you leave, and your classmates and professors will be in your life long after you graduate. I’m forever grateful for them!

Any advice for current KUCD students?
Don’t be too hard on yourself in COVD times. Otherwise, make work you love, and always try to make connections in the field. If there’s a studio or designer you really love, ask them to get coffee instead of just asking for a job. Build relationships and learn from people. They will remember you, and they might help you out down the line.

Featured Alum! Connor Green

2018 Alum

Where are you currently working? (location & company)
R/GA Los Angeles

What are you currently working on?

The latest project I worked on was for Verizon’s Super Bowl collaboration with the NFL and battle royale video game Fortnite. With work environments becoming remote over the last year due to COVID-19, Verizon teamed up with Fortnite builder influencers to show off the powers of Verizon 5G. These Fortnite builders worked together online via video chat to build an in-game replica of Raymond James Stadium, the location for this year’s Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, FL. During the week leading up to the Super Bowl, Verizon livestreamed gaming influencers and various NFL superstars who battling it out in Fortnite, taking part in the various different game modes within the stadium. The public could even get involved by joining the same games as the NFL players, searching for easter eggs around the stadium to win a handful of prizes, including meet and greets with these same NFL players.

What’s your favorite recent project?
The current Verizon Super Bowl project is definitely my favorite as well. Below I added a few links to tweets showing off the work.

https://twitter.com/Verizon/status/1356301433335918595?s=20

https://twitter.com/FNBRInGame/status/1356330313488756739?s=20

https://twitter.com/saquon/status/1356678836696547328?s=20

https://twitter.com/TeamJuJu/status/1357358314800242688?s=20

How has your job changed with COVID?
Since going fully remote back in March, collaboration amongst your team has definitely been different. I’m sure like many others, Zoom calls is how all work is crafted and reviewed, whether its internally or with client. But allowing yourself to be nimble and open to new ways of working in this even faster changing work environment, is super important.

Any advice for current KUCD students?
Two pieces of advice to current KUCD students about to enter the field:

1) If your goal is to work at a big-name agency or big-name design studio, don’t be bummed to take an internship (paid of course. no free work) there after graduation to get your foot in the door, if you can’t get a full-time gig. I took an internship at R/GA and was lucky enough to get hired at the end of the summer. And even the friends I interned with who weren’t able to get hired at R/GA that summer, made incredible connections that lead them to other awesome opportunities at other agencies.

2) If possible, be open to the idea of moving for a job. I had never been to Los Angeles before accepting my internship at R/GA but knew this job opportunity had huge potential. It was a giant proponent in my career growth as well as my personal growth. It helped me put my career on a different trajectory and I’m forever grateful I was able to make it happen. That being said, when it comes to location, cast a wide net when looking for jobs. You won’t regret it.

Griffin Macaulay. Designer. Illustrator. Level 5 Half-Elf Cleric. KUCD Grad.

Griffin majored in Communication Design at KU with concentrations in Illustration, Graphic Design and Interactive Design. His first year out of school Griffin began working with the Neo-Pangea Society and began working on designs for the web and games, most recently jumping into UX design.

Some of Griffin’s works can be found in games like Dungeons and Dragons, Pokémon Go, and Dr. Pol: Vet Rescue, to name just a few.

Watch the recording:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcSJ7kzM8QA&feature=youtu.be

!!VIRTUAL!! DESIGN DAY CAMP

KUCD held a VIRTUAL hands-on design camp that introduced sophomore, junior and senior high school students to design as a career and raise awareness of design’s possibilities. We had 38 participants attend our Saturday morning camp. We discussed job possibilities with a BFA in Communication Design, campus life, and the amenities in the KUCD department. In the morning we gave the students a hands-on graphic design challenge! They were tasked with creating a collaged Album/Spotify cover! There were a set of parameters to follow and supplies (mailed home to them).

The second half of the day walked attendees through what work to include in their portfolio and how to present it.
KU Visual Arts Programs require a portfolio for first year students. These students received the ‘inside scoop’ from the Portfolio Committee.

Joey Strain, Illustrator, still in College.

An Illustration Blog by Kevin McCloskey

I bought a copy a new kid’s book illustrated by Kutztown University student Joey Strain. The Little Wolf Who Howled at the Moon is written by Dr. Curtis Herr of the KU English Dept. Not every college student can illustrate a high-quality hardcover children’s book, but Joey pulled it off with distinction.

I wrote to Joey to ask about the project. Below is our lightly edited Q and A.

read more…

The “Think Method…” it still works!

Harold Hill, that charlatan professor of music in Meredith Willson’s wonderful play The Music Man, exhorts his young music pupils to learn to play their instruments, not by any formal or even informal instruction, but to simply think they’re playing, and then they’ll be able to do it. The Think Method actually worked. If it hadn’t, Professor Hill would’ve been run out of River City, Iowa, tarred and feathered by the city council!

Maybe there just are some things we learn best by the Think Method…an effective blend of common sense, some practice, and maybe even a few therapeutic failures. Who really teaches a newly-married husband and wife what to do on their wedding night? Who really teaches soccer-playing children how far to bank the ball to score a goal instead of putting it out of bounds or sending it squarely to the goalie? Life is experimental.

The other day I watched my second semester juniors in Production Processes nimbly navigating quirks of Quark and peculiarities of Photoshop. Who really teaches them how to get so good at software? Miles Decoster, a fourth year temporary who teaches high tech courses and manages our computer lab, has a theory…they’re young people who’ve learned to be deft with design software from growing up playing computer games where there are often no instructions given by the manufacturer or the other kid who loaned the cartridge. And avoiding sudden death or gaining new powers for your little virtual action figure only comes through common sense, some practice, and a few failures. It’s the Think Method!

Frustration is part of the act, to be dealt with as a matter of course. “Game Over,” while a real pain, simply means try again and maybe you’ll do better next time, just as crashed software means rebuild your file…it’s always easier next time because your own brain’s memory stored the necessary functions.

We older designers who’ve had to learn the new skills without the benefit of growing up playing computer games, not to mention the benefits of fast reaction time, still get to learn by the same Think Method…challenging but entirely possible. At any age, as long as we’re willing, we gain great powers from common sense, practice, failures, and trying all over again. Even River City’s bickering town fathers learned to get along with each other that summer after Harold Hill came to town.

-John K. Landis

KUCD Marketplace

The KUCD Marketplace is an online catalog of student & alumni work, shops, books, jewelry, and other products. It is designed to showcase and support the hard work, creativity, and small businesses from our department.

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See the full Marketplace!

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