When I first began school, every morning I would wake up, eat breakfast, and head down the road to Hillside Elementary School. Eager to see all my friends and my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Frye, but even more anxious to go to my Aunt Genny’s home office after the first half of my day! There I would get to hangout, and, of course, draw, color, and paint everything I could have imagined. I had my own desk and my own box of crayons with my name on it. Though while there I knew that my aunt and grandmother (who is the office manager at Odessa Design, Inc.) had work to do, I was being inspired for a few hours until my parents got off work. Who would have thought that 13 years later I would be back at the same place? I looked forward to it then, and I look forward to it now.
I’m now in my senior year of high school. At the end of my junior year I had the opportunity to select a “Senior Project” for the upcoming year. A Senior Project is similar to an independent study; it is individually tailored to the abilities and interests of each student. The student has a sponsor and works with him or her to gain more knowledge and skills for a particular profession.
I did not have to think long and hard where I wanted to do my Senior Project as others may have. I asked my Aunt Genny if she would show me the ropes of graphic design and how she does her job. Not knowing if graphic design was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I soon discovered that I love it!
Each school day around 12 o’clock I arrive at Odessa Design, Inc. for my Senior Project. It is by far my favorite time of the day! I get to design projects, gain amazing insight, observe how my aunt thinks and solves design problems.
I have done quite a few projects over the past eight months. They started out simple and small, then transitioned into more complex works. My aunt chooses my assignments wisely so that I am exposed to all different types of graphic design. From advertising and poster design to packaging and typography, I rarely do the same type of project twice. The projects she selects for me are based on her schooling and experience, giving me an idea of what I have to look forward to!
One of the first projects I developed was a bookmark series promoting a specific genre. I chose mystery. First I jotted down everything that came to mind about mystery like the stereotypical sleuth, a magnifying glass, a question mark, and many related words. I wrote catchy taglines and took custom photos for each bookmark. Finally I arranged the content into visually appealing layouts, making sure the files were ready for printing.
Another design project I enjoyed creating was one not chosen by my aunt, but required as part of an art test for a college application. I am lucky enough to have been able to complete this in the office during Senior Project time! This project was very different in that I could not use a computer as a design tool. I had to do everything by hand, including rendering text and creating graphic imagery.
The required work was to create a magazine advertisement for a food project found on Kickstarter.com, a new way to fund creative initiatives and bring them to fruition. A magazine ad often has little text, but must still impel a reader to action. I researched Kickstarter campaigns whose ad should be colorful and fun so that I could use bright, vivid materials that would attract attention. I chose the Candy Jar project!
Candy Jar is an online candy store where you can custom pick candy to fill a jar, which is then delivered straight to your door. Who doesn’t like candy, right? Without being able to use the computer, I created a collage using textures and colors found in different papers and magazines. The jar itself is made to look like a vintage mason jar, but to add depth I incorporated rice paper over the “candy” that filled it. I really enjoyed this hands-on process!
Ultimately, each one of the projects I’ve completed has proved to be beneficial. They have helped me improve my skills immensely and bettered my understanding of the graphic design industry. I hope it will make a world of a difference in my next four years at the Pennsylvania State University where I will continue studying Graphic Design. I do not believe I would be where I am today with out my aunt and Odessa Design, Inc. Being able to complete my Senior Project here was the best way to spend my time during this school year. Getting a feel for graphic design and discovering that it is what I want to do has prepared me for the future. I am lucky to be finishing my senior year the same way I began kindergarten—and enjoying it just as much!
Amelia’s senior year at Odessa Design has been one of great discovery and growth—for her and me. This blog post is another Senior Project assignment chosen to educate her on the importance of proper grammar and sentence structure, word selection, audience engagement and understanding, endless rounds of editing, and more—all of which support and enhance great graphic design. –Gen