Graphic design students showcase work at thesis show

by | Mar 18, 2019

Bachelor's candidates presented projects that they had been working on since August to an audience of students, faculty members and design professionals at the Lee Theater.
Graphic Design Thesis Show

UMSL graphic design bachelor’s students gathered March 1-2 in the Lee Theater at the Touhill Performing Arts Center to showcase their thesis projects. The students, who had been working on the projects since August, came up with arguable points that they could then create solutions to through graphic design. (Photos courtesy of Tyler Warren)

Daylee Hopson could feel herself shaking ever so slightly. She just hoped the people in the crowd didn’t notice.

Hopson, a senior in the graphic design bachelor’s program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, was presenting her final thesis project March 1 in the Lee Theater at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Because of the size of her class – 23 students – the presentation of their final projects spread out over two nights, and she was the second one to present on the first night. Hopson was confident in her work, just a little uneasy about how all the necessary technical components in the theater would perform on the big night.

Gazing from her perch behind the spotlighted lectern at the audience of fellow students, faculty members and design professionals didn’t do much to put her at ease, either.

Graphic Design Thesis Show Portfolios

Attendees perused displays of the students’ portfolios before settling in for a series of presentations on the work.

“My dad was all the way up in the back, and he said he couldn’t tell I was shaking,” Hopson said.

Nerves aside, Hopson and her classmates used the Lee Theater as a platform to showcase portfolios of design work they had been compiling since the start of the school year in August. Both nights, attendees got 30 minutes at the start of the program to circulate around the room and take in the students’ work, then they all had a seat and listened to the designers explain their vision.

The project put forward by instructors Scott Gericke and Jennifer McKnight asked students to conceive an arguable point and come up with a solution. Hopson’s argument was that reading fiction books can be entertaining and educational at the same time. Her solution was to create a series of Redbox-like book dispensaries to be placed in venues such as children’s hospitals and military bases.

Her project included customizable logos across multiple platforms, designs and a user interface for the book vending machines, advertising for the service, a mockup of a website and sample packaging for when patrons would order books online and have them shipped to their door.

“I wanted to make sure the packaging said things like, ‘This is a book’ on the outside, to deter criminals from stealing it from your porch,” Hopson said. “Unless they really love reading.”

Here are the students who presented. Click on their names for links to their online portfolios:

Krasimira Angelova
John Beckmann
Hannah Clark
Tori Gildehaus
Alyssa Halloran
Brandon Hills
Daylee Hopson
Igor Juste
Brandon Kelly
Stewart Kirchhoff
Brad Liermann
Hayden Loos
Elise McMindes
Chelsy Middleton
Sierra Morrison
Jonathan Neal
Salena Niemann
Elizabeth Ramirez
Tatiana Vanegas
Alison Viehman
Maxwell Seal
Spencer Smith
Letisha Wexstten

Other project topics included informational campaigns about Crohn’s disease and the skin condition hidradenitis suppurativa, an app for monitoring the condition of aquarium filters and Letisha Wexstten’s app HireMe, a LinkedIn-style service that helps individuals with disabilities network and find jobs that Wexstten is presenting at UMSL’s EQ Student Accelerator Pitch Day on March 19.

“I felt especially inspired by my colleagues who sought to apply their design thinking to confront meaningful and socially conscious objectives,” senior Hayden Loos said, “and presented refined, visually appealing solutions that proposed to enact positive social change.”

Hopson went into college thinking she wanted to train for a career in animation, either at a comic book company, film studio or game developer. After her time in UMSL’s graphic design program, though, she found her interests lie more on the marketing side of things: branding and creating logos.

“After being in the degree longer, it kind of shows you everything that’s available,” said Hopson, who works as a student graphic artist assistant with the Office of Student Involvement. “I have a lot more doors opened up for me because, although things like illustration for film companies are mostly on the coasts, doing graphic design is so much wider an umbrella. It really opened my perspective as far as job opportunities, which is essentially what you want out of a bachelor’s degree.”

David Morrison

David Morrison