MFA Graduate Research Project | William Spanjer, OKER: Teaching Design as a Visual Language

MFA Graduate Research Project | William Spanjer, OKER: Teaching Design as a Visual Language

William (or “Andy”, as friends call him) joined Kutztown’s MFA program to pursue a career in higher education, with the goal of inspiring and guiding future graphic designers. He currently works as a middle and high school art teacher at Chapel Field Christian Schools, where he also serves as an in-house designer. On top of this, he is working to grow his freelance business, Andy Spanjer Design.

Building on the idea that design is a fundamental form of human communication, OKER is a mobile app prototype created to teach graphic design as a visual language. Inspired by successful language education programs like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone, OKER is designed to provide students with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of graphic design in a fun, engaging, and effective way.

The app utilizes tried-and-true language learning techniques, such as heavy repetition and quiz-style exercises, to help students develop a strong foundation in graphic design. By working through OKER’s mobile course material, students will gain a well-rounded grasp of essential graphic design topics, including color theory, typography, layout, concept development, ethics, and more.

Ultimately, OKER seeks to empower students and individuals so that they emerge with a better understanding of the graphic design field and an instilled confidence when considering higher education and career goals in design-related fields.

More Work by William

The Grandparent Project

A book (and initiative) written and designed to honor William’s  four grandparents and to encourage readers to engage with their elderly loved ones. The book consists of photos, stories, and memories that reflect on the author’s relationships with his grandparents as well as prompts meant to provide readers with topics for fruitful and memorable discussions with their own grandparents.

Self Branding

As part of William’s “professional exploration” studio semester, he decided to rebrand his identity material for his freelance work, “Andy Spanjer Design”. The decision to rebrand was driven by the desire to create a brand that accurately reflected his minimalist style and values, and that would better resonate with his target audience.

Honeybee Inspired Paper 

A unique project meant to spread awareness of the crisis surrounding the rapid decline of North American honeybee populations. Using recycled paper, along with honeybee inspired ingredients such as beeswax, honey, and even the bodies of deceased honeybees, William learned the art of handmade papermaking. On the newly created paper, he created art displaying the dangerous lives of honeybee populations.