NAC Students Learn Graphic Design & Typography at Chapman Visiting Scholars Series
On Saturday, November 17, more than 30 NAC students attended the latest installment of the Chapman Visiting Scholars Series, this time featuring Professor Claudine Jaenichen, an Associate Professor of Art and Graphic Design at Chapman University. The hands-on lecture focused on graphic design and typography, and challenged students to re-evaluate their understanding of how design is used to influence, inform, and entertain the masses.
To open the lecture, Professor Jaenichen shared an anecdote that traced her journey from wanting to be a forest firefighter to now working in the field of information design. After a humbling experience training as a volunteer for the Santa Barbara Sheriff Department’s Search and Rescue team, Professor Jaenichen decided to pursue her interests in art and design. She never lost the desire to help her community, and discovered she could use her skills to help improve the design of safety brochures like the Santa Barbara Tsunami Evacuation booklet. Recalling this after the lecture, NAC student Daisy Monjaras stated, “I like that even though she didn’t become a firefighter she was still involved with helping people.”
Throughout the lecture, Professor Jaenichen reminded students that graphic design covers more than how something looks. “Graphic design isn’t just about doing a logo or a business card; it is about the whole experience you’re giving your target market.” To illustrate her point, Professor Jaenichen cited Disney’s use of aromatic smells throughout their theme parks to give visitors a five-senses experience. In another example, she showed a picture of OXO-brand utensils, which feature large handles to better suit users with arthritis. According to the OXO website, the company’s “Universal Design” philosophy involves “making products that are easy to use for the widest possible spectrum of users.” Finally, Professor Jaenichen asked students which brands of shoes they prefer to show how companies use design to forge relationships with consumers. When one student who preferred Adidas scoffed at the mention of Nike, Professor Jaenichen responded, “That sense of identity, that’s not just about the brand, that’s about the relationship we have with that brand.”
After covering the basics, Professor Jaenichen turned the lecture into a design workshop and asked students participate in a couple activities. The first activity involved drawing up an innovative design for a new-and-improved survival knife that a consumer would need if stranded on a deserted island. Professor Jaenichen intended for the project to mimic a design studio challenge. To meet the challenge, students broke into groups of five or six, and one at a time, each student added his or her idea to the overall design. Students then created concise bullet points outlining the knife’s features to help “sell” their new product. Finally, each group chose a representative to stand up and present the finished product to everyone. After all of the groups presented, the students voted on their favorite design. The winning design included a toothbrush, nail clippers, a fresh-water filter, and fishing line. On the topic of graphic design, NAC student Alejandro Aguilar notes, “It’s a way of using ideas, and revolutionizing them into future products.”
After lunch, Professor Jaenichen taught students to do calligraphy, which involves drawing and writing letters in a decorative style. When asked what she thought of the workshops, NAC student Jacqueline Martinez responded, “I always associated [calligraphy] as being something that was very old world, something that has kind of died out; to me it was a dying art, but apparently it’s not. It’s growing.” Daniel Peñaloza also enjoyed the calligraphy workshop. “My favorite part was when we got the pen and ink and we started doing calligraphy on paper. It was really fun and fascinating.”
The next Chapman Visiting Scholars Series presentation will take place on December 15, from 10:30am – 1:30pm. As always, be sure to check the NAC Calendar for event information.
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