38 visual communication design seniors 'Strive' to research social issues through graphic design

Visual Communication Design seniors will showcase their year-long research projects on social issues in a variety of interactive exhibits during their show.

Graphic Design Senior Student Association President Dillon Johnson said ASU's 2016 VCD graduation exhibit, “Strive,” will display each of the 38 students' projects on a 4-by-7 foot wall that they have incorporated into the exhibit. 

“The show is going to be a blast!” Johnson said. “We’ve become experts on our topics, and found where the problems lie. We’re bringing awareness and coming up with a solution to fix it. That’s what we’re showcasing — our solutions.”

The three-day open house will begin Friday, May 6, from 7 to 10 p.m. in a warehouse that was rented out for the show near ASU's downtown campus. 

At the beginning of the spring semester, each VCD student created a poster with his or her own title, design and concept for the senior show's theme, which was then voted upon by seniors in the design school. The winning poster was titled, "Strive."

The name came from student Cristian Hernandez, and he said it was meant to demonstrate achievement.

“Its been a long journey for all design majors. We all had overwhelming nights, days and even weeks throughout our years in school but still found ways to overcome them," he said. “The solvable maze represents our struggles and challenges. One must go through these obstacles in order to strive for excellence.”

VCD senior and web committee leader Tameika Pittman said the show takes a unique approach to graphic design.

“We’re demonstrating how we can use graphic design to problem solve,” she said.

The website is set to launch by next Wednesday, Pittman said. It will showcase every graduating student in the design school with a description of their senior project, and include a link to their email or online portfolio. 

VCD Professor Michelle Fehler said the first night is expected to draw a crowd of over 300 people.  

“Opening night is the biggest night,” Fehler said. “It's the main event. Students will be present to explain their exhibits to friends, family and professionals they have invited.”

After the first night, the exhibits will be open to the public May 7-8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

In the fall, each senior VCD student chose a social issue that was important to them, and found a way to localize the issue, Fehler said. 

Some of the topics include proposing a change to the global regulation on commercial whaling, combatting media censorship and showing a human-aspect to homelessness.

Fehler said she and professor Alfred Sanft oversee the work the students do throughout the year. They make sure everything is done on time and on budget, but the rest is up to the students.

From there, the senior VCD students organize the entire event themselves by dividing into six committees and conducting work like a mini-design agency. The committees are broken into photo/video, print, web, marketing, experience and leadership.

“It’s a really great way for students to have their final, and celebrate this as a party together,” Fehler said. “It’s more of a big firework at the end of their long four years of education together.”

Reach the reporter at tseltzer@asu.edu or follow @TinaSeltzer on Twitter.

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