Graphic design class finds inspiration in Amsterdam

A UMSL studio art class spent two July weeks soaking up graphic design inspiration in Amsterdam. The students are showcasing their own design work now in an exhibit at UMSL's Gallery Visio.

In the graphic design world, nothing beats witnessing the craft being practiced firsthand, according to Jen McKnight, associate professor of art at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. She also wanted her students to gain some international travel experience. When working on pulling together a two-week class trip, one country stood out: Holland.

“The idea was to travel to a country where design is embraced by the public at large, highly valued and regarded and where we could visit both firms and museum collections,” McKnight said. “The goal was to soak up as many new design ideas as possible and return to print a body of posters for an exhibit at UMSL.”

From July 18 to July 31 in Amsterdam, McKnight’s 10 students visited eight internationally recognized firms including Marcel Wanders Studio. They also toured the Breda Design museum and several design collections in art museums. And the students participated in a collaborative workshop with renowned poster designer Harmen Liemberg.

Upon their return to St. Louis, the students churned out 30 posters inspired by their trip, which makes up the current exhibit at UMSL’s Gallery Visio, “Visie Van Amsterdam.”

“The students came back not only energized, but truly worked as a team to help each participant make beautiful and challenging posters,” McKnight said.

The exhibit will remain up at Gallery Visio through Sept. 22. McKnight said they are also working on plans to travel the show to Loyola University New Orleans in the spring.

For many of the students, the inspiration from the trip has not died with the creation of their “Visie Van Amsterdam” posters. Several students from McKnight’s class have applied for Dutch internships, and student Seth Kaiser will work next summer for Lava, an Amsterdam-based design firm.

McKnight said she looks forward to the trip again in 2013 and every odd year after that.

More information:
blogs.umsl.edu/news/2011/08/23/amsterdam
umsl.edu/~art/bios/mcknight.html
umsl.edu/~art/UMSLGDDwebsite

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