For as long as she can remember, Baylee Kimbar ’18 has been drawn to the arts. “Some of my earliest memories involve finger paintings, crayon drawings and sticker collages that I would create on pieces of paper and then tape to the front door of my house,” she recalls.
But she didn’t get seriously involved with studio arts until she came to Stonehill, where she fused her artistic passion with a graphic design major. “The first things I really designed were in my first-year foundation course,” she recalls.
Kimbar is one of the growing number of students who has benefited from the graphic design program’s revamped curriculum complete with tiered courses, internships and portfolio reviews. According to Graphic Design Program Director Gary Stanton, the preprofessional program prepares students to work with clients in today’s more visual world.
With the influx of digital communication delivered to us from all directions, at all times, engaging design is essential to attracting and maintaining audiences. “As technology changes and Wi-Fi is becoming broader so that you
can get more data, there is more coming at us visually,” Stanton says. “So, for graphic design, you can no longer just focus on print but on a package of different approaches.”
To prepare fledgling graphic design majors for this task, the program’s course load begins with the history and foundation of graphic design and moves on to type and image making. Students then take a deeper dive into disciplines, such as advertising, package, publication or screen-based designing.
And while graphic design has evolved within the landscape of digital media, the program doesn’t disregard the more traditional practices that built and shaped the field. The department recently purchased a letterpress and will
be integrating letterpress printing into the curriculum. “We talk so much about moving forward and what we need to do to stay current, but there is also this craft to graphic design that can’t be left behind,” says Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Cristy Morgan.
Of course, the best way to talk about the College’s graphic design program is to show the work of some of its majors.
Language of Design
Drawn to the Arts
BAYLEE KIMBAR ’18 Kimbar credits her professors with making her the designer that she is today, noting that “they go above and beyond for their students.” While her two internships, with the marketing departments at Stonehill and Massachusetts General Hospital, have been print-focused, she has found her area of interest through her course work. “I’ve fallen in love with the digital side of design, especially web design and motion graphics,” says Kimbar. Her work here was for her Type and Image class, where she was tasked with creating a poster for an arts festival, in which the typography couldn’t make direct contact with any of the imagery.
JONATHAN LETOURNEAU ’18 As a kid, Jonathan Letourneau ’18 would sit at his parents’ Windows 95 computer and design using the Microsoft Paint program. “I’d draw for hours until I got bored with the limits of just having a paintbrush to design,” he recalls. Fast forward to college, and Letourneau’s ongoing interest in design motivated him to declare both marketing and graphic design as his majors. “I enjoy finding visual solutions to problems. I think design has a lasting impact on people, and creating those impressions makes me feel like I’ve accomplished my purpose,” he says. For three semesters, he interned with Quench Design, a small design studio located near the College. He is also interning for Stonehill’s Marketing Department, is the lead designer for the Stonehill Digital Lab and serves as the treasurer of the College’s student chapter of AIGA, the professional organization for designers. Using his eye for design, he created this data visualization of his travels while studying abroad. “My dream is to work for one of Elon Musk’s companies, specifically SpaceX,” he says. “I find what SpaceX is doing to be incredible, and being able to visually communicate that to the public would be the chance of a lifetime.”
Designer at Heart
NICOLE WROBEL ’19 “I’ve been ‘designing’ ever since I was old enough to use a computer. I use the word designing lightly because what I was really doing was sticking as much clip art as possible in a Microsoft Word document; but nevertheless, my love for design was born,” says Nicole Wrobel ’19, who has a minor in business. After serving as the editor-in-chief of her high school yearbook, Wrobel decided to follow her passion for design and focus on something she truly enjoyed in college. With the hope of one day working for Disney, she is paving her path by serving as the creative director of InHouse, Stonehill’s student-run graphic design studio, as well as interning in the College’s Marketing Department. Last summer, she interned with Buildium, a property management company in Boston, where she worked under graphic designer Caroline Thompson ’16. In the design for her Type and Image Class, Wrobel created a poster that
DANNY HAFFEL ’18 The first thing that Danny Haffel ’18 ever really designed was a logo for a fake coffee shop called Récolte during his Graphic Design Foundations course. “I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” he admits. Now a senior, he has refined his skills through the program’s courses and his internships—at the Fuller Craft Museum, Kel and Partners and ’47 as both an apparel graphics intern and photography intern—leading to more sophisticated designs such as this poster titled Photosynthesis that he created for his Information Design course. A dual language—French and Spanish—and graphic design major, Haffel is hoping either to attend L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique (Nantes, France) for graduate school or find a job as a junior designer after graduating this May. “My dream is to eventually be a creative director or package designer,” says Haffel, who is most interested in packaging and information design. “I want to make a difference through effective design.”
GRAPHIC DESIGN MAJORS can work for InHouse, the student-run, preprofessional graphic design studio that produces real client work for local nonprofits and campus departments or organizations at no charge. “InHouse was one of the aspects that drew me to Stonehill,” says Nicole Wrobel ’19, creative director of the studio. “Students get to work on real projects and build a portfolio, while clients are provided with high level graphic design work.”
integrated text and image through fusion and established a graphic resonance for the viewer.
DINNER AND A SHOW
EACH SPRING, the graphic design program hosts two signature events. The Graphic Design Annual Dinner brings together current graphic design majors with graphic design alumni. “This is our third year hosting the dinner, and it has grown each year,” says Assistant Professor Cristy Morgan. “Students and alumni share their work and talk about the field. Our alumni want to mentor our undergraduates, and they also get to reconnect and network.”
Michelle Curtis ’13, who works as a product designer in the education software industry, has attended the dinner and sees the significance of such a gathering. “It is important for alums to talk to students and for students to see that to be a successful designer, you don’t need to end up at an agency,” she says. “There are lots of different paths you can take and tons of smart design-focused companies in the Boston area looking for talented young designers.”
In conjunction with the dinner, the program also curates the Graphic Design Annual, a student-run design show in the Carole Calo Gallery, showcasing the work of senior graphic design students. As a class, the seniors hang their pieces, brand the show’s name, create the logo as well as organize and arrange how viewers will experience their pieces.
According to Graphic Design Program Director Gary Stanton, the show is a major team project that prepares students for working collaboratively in their jobs, and it is “a great way to celebrate their design work.”