The Graphic Design Junior Show in May–referred to as “the student production”–inventively showcased work that ranged from conceptual, to what might be found in a retail environment. Two sections of graphic design juniors worked together to create an exhibit flow that kept viewers in motion–moving from hands-on displays, to interactive media to posters and book covers.
“It was a joyous way for the students to share their educational process with the FIT community,” said Communication Design Prof. Elvin Kince, the show’s advisor.
The flow didn’t just simulate a gallery-feel, but kept viewers engaged and occupied.
“I thought it was fantastic,” said Communication Design Prof. Donna David. “What struck me most was how they displayed the work. They considered context, like books on bookshelves. They used tabletops and innovative displays. All that is important because design work can’t sit in a vacuum.”
Some works hung from frames of plastic tubing. “The work seemed to float within it,” said Prof. David.
Among the provocative works on display:
Daniel Lisowski’s poster set for an “autonomous school,” one that is self-governing, he explained. “It’s a shared and fairer education, in parallel–not doing things normally. It’s mostly from a European mentality of what graphic design is.” Lisowski says the impetuous for his work comes from “being very ambivalent about American graphic design education.”
A concern that Do Kyun Kim (above) addressed is the connection of the New York Public Library to its public. “There’s not a strong connection between the NYPL and Manhattan itself. Manhattan is composed of all straight and vertical lines, which creates a rectangular shape. So I developed a system by getting rid of all diagonals.”
“The graphics in the junior show have a level of diversity that’s very impressive,” says packaging design student Sasha Baw Dusky who came to view the show.
The displays “encompass a full spectrum of educational experiences such as site design and planning, group dynamics, teamwork, goal setting, individual review and presentation, time management and financial planning,” said Prof. Kince.
Sarsha Brown (above) explained the inspiration for her posters. “The project called for us to pick a symposium and design a set of three posters to advertise it. The posters had to work together and separately. I chose the Domestic Human Sex Trafficking Symposium to be held at the YWCA. My inspiration came from the TV show ‘Once Upon a Time’ that manipulates fairy tales into over lapping storylines.
“I used Peter Pan, Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, and Pinocchio,” said Brown. “Originally, these stories were depressing until Disney fantasized them. I stuck with the grim connotations and combined them with the Disney appearances that everyone knows. I used this familiarity to build readability, to draw people in.”
“Sarsha’s concept was to get people to think about the fear that the original stories stimulated and to have a conversation about what fear is,” said Kince. “She used some familiar fairy tale figures to attract viewers and then used the shadows and body parts extending from outside the frame to suggest danger from the unknown and unseen.”
Prof. David lauded the students’ ability to think of the work in relation to the viewer. They elevated their work, she said, by how it was displayed. “It took things to another level.”
Eduardo Mendez described his work as a response to “how a minor change in global temperature can cause major disasters.”
Prof. Kince praised Eduardo’s “natural instincts of the Old Masters in graphic design and typography. His sense of abstraction is like that of an old soul, almost as if he’s obsessed.”
Michelle Walliser explored bulimia prevention. Her poster includes the dictionary pronunciation of bulimia. “It’s typography-based because English is not my first language. I thought it was interesting how different the pronunciation is written from the actually word. It makes you think. It draws viewers closer.”
Prof. Kince said the exhibit benefited by a change of focus. “The exhibit is no longer dependent on faculty critiques as a measure of success. This makes the process more dependent upon student involvement and student energy.”
Photos: Rachel Ellner