Veronica Romano is known for solving just about any quandary with a spectacular design solution. The Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design professor is also known for her ability to champion student work.
Romano was intent on finding a way to better showcase this year’s student portfolios at GlobalShop, a leading convention for the retail and brand environment industry. She put her foot to the design pedal and brainstormed with her department chair Craig Berger. Soon they were searching their phones for sponsors.
This year on the GlobalShop exhibition floor stood an enormous, show-stopping, orange-topped interactive kiosk with a 47” monitor, tended to by FIT students. It was loaded with student portfolios from around the world.
“The energy of the students working the kiosk made industry pros want to connect with them,” says Romano. “They landed great job leads. It was the hot thing. Industry leaders were literally telling me that it was one of the most innovative experiences at GlobalShop.”
“Veronica is the biggest cheerleader of student work,” says VPED professor Anne Kong. The kiosk isn’t just about FIT, it’s about design students globally.”
“GlobalShop is a rare one-time event for FIT students to show their work to high-level industry professionals,” says Berger. “The kiosk was a unique way to accomplish this in a very public space.”
The kiosk’s inception: Last summer Romano had planned to incorporate interactive technology into her portfolio class. Wouldn’t it be a great idea, mused Romano, to exhibit all the portfolios in a traveling kiosk? A challenge was sent out to students around the globe to create digital portfolios to load into a kiosk.
Romano worked with Mona Lisa Tan, a previous winner of the PAVE [Planning and Visual Education Partnership] Student Design Competition to design the kiosk.
Visitors to the kiosk were able to touch a region of the world on the screen to locate design schools and select individual student’s bios and portfolio pieces. The interactive kiosk was loaded with portfolios representing 14 schools from 5 countries.
“I put together the group of sponsors who helped build and program the interactive kiosk,” said Berger. Each had an individual role and donated in various ways: Fresh Juice Global provided the technology; Panasonic the screens; PAVE helped coordinate; GlobalShop the space for the kiosk; B+N Idustries built the kiosk structure from Romano’s and Tan’s designs; and FIT kicked in for some expenses.
The student digital portfolios are available for viewing online at PAVE’s web site, www.paveinfo.org. The kiosk is coming to FIT to be adapted by students and faculty to feature future FIT student work.
“My passion is to enable students to create their own unique ‘visual presentation,’ get industry to engage with them, and to promote their talents effectively,” says Romano. “The kiosk accomplished all of this.”