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Design students bring artistry and dedication to community projects

by Linda Lenhoff,

Juniors and seniors in graphic design and illustration are busy creating real work in the real world each semester — and devoting their skills to the community.

Projects this term include redesigning Willamette Week’s ultracool Give!Guide and supporting nonprofit Blanchet House with stylish, meaningful displays for their street-front windows. 

Clockwise from top left: Kacie Jones BFA’23, Zoe Sevier BFA’23, Skylar Scott BFA’23, and Sam Brass BFA‘22. Not pictured: Alicia Vidal BFA’22.

“We are working on projects that are values-driven and community focused, make-a-difference kind of initiatives,” said Graphic Design Department Chair and Professor Kristin Rogers Brown. “We introduce student designers and illustrators to interesting, creative teamwork in the world, and they learn by doing — with a little safety net.”

The 2022 Give!Guide appears in Willamette Week’s Oct. 26 issue. Readers looking to make donations will find a list of 235 nonprofits in need of support, along with ways to get involved — and incentives for those under 35. 

Give GuideThe students have designed an engaging 1960s-meets-1990s theme that’s psychedelic yet modern. “It’s easy to digest and fun, but it does take into account the seriousness of the project,” Rogers Brown says.

The students love the challenge: “I was excited to be a part of a program like this while also being able to give a creative twist to the project and bring in people of all ages to learn about what they can do to help others during this time,” says Sam Brass, BFA’22. The design team also includes Alicia Vidal BFA’22, Skylar Scott BFA’23, Zoe Sevier BFA’23, and Kacie Jones BFA’23.

Students are also hard at work with local nonprofit Blanchet House, which serves hot meals to anyone in need. A design team will adorn the sizable windows with illustrations, facing both inside and out, adding cheerfulness, privacy, and a “respectful but bright” invitation to the community, Rogers Brown says.

“I truly believe that working with Blanchet House and being in this class have benefited us in ways that will further our careers outside of school,” says Ghaimah Muhammad BFA’23. The team also includes Quinn Cook BFA’23, Gabrielle Ferroggiaro BFA’22, Harvey Seaman BFA’23, and Aimee Narcisso BFA’24.

Check out design students at work on Instagram @PNCADesign.

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