After collecting three years worth of art at WMU, senior graphic design students showcase their work in a self made gallery called “Proof” that was held in the Devries Student Art Gallery from March 25-29.
“Me and nine of my classmates put together a whole bunch of work that we've worked on for the last three years,” said Megan Adams, senior graphic design major and a creator of “Proof.” “We took some of our favorite pieces and refined them and made them better. We got to put them in an exhibit for a week and we got to do literally everything. We titled the exhibit, we made the title wall and got to choose where everything was hung up. We've been working on it all semester.”
The name “Proof” serves as somewhat of a double meaning to the girls.
“When you and send something to a printer it will send you a proof to make sure everything's where it needs to be,” Adams said. “I think that's the main reason why we called it ‘Proof.’ We also thought it was kind of a pun. Like it is our proof for graduating because it's all our work.”
The gallery was made by ten female designers and within the ten, they split into two groups to create the gallery.
“Initially we were a group of 20 and they split us up in a group of 10 and then within that ten we each split up into a 3D group and a 2D group,” said Megan Weaver, senior graphic design major and a creator of “Proof.” “The 2D group dealt with mostly the flyers, the posters you see around campus, digital advertising and our invites which were really cool. I was part of the 3D group who thought about the big title wall. So when you first walk in you see the title and the design.”
The gallery featured six pieces from each of the girls of which they got to pick.
“I think we all just kind of picked our strongest pieces we liked. I like that we made typefaces so I chose that as one of mine,” Weaver said.
While they each had a favorite piece of work, they each said they enjoyed the experience more than the work itself.
“My favorite piece in the show is my infographic, which is a visualization of western women’s fashion from 1800-2000,” said Amelia Manley, senior graphic design major and a creator of “Proof.” “I don't think I have a individual piece that has special meaning, but rather I think they all have meaning because they are all a culmination of our experience in our program.”
The ten girls were responsible for putting together every aspect of the gallery, from placement, design and advertising. While it was a lot, they found it easier and more fun to do it together.
“My favorite part was probably working together as a team trying to come together to find a name,” Adams said. “We just got to brainstorm different names that could potentially work. It is just kind of fun to hear some of the ideas. Some were dumb, some were funny. We're all girls so we were trying to come up with something really feminine, but that was coming off really dumb. It was just a lot of fun to get everyone’s opinions in there.”
The showcase featured work the girls had completed over their years within the graphic design program.
“I think [the showcase] is an important part of our education because it was largest group project we participated in,” Manley said. “It came together in a real life space and it's really cool to look back at where we were in January until now.”
In making this showcase, the girls were able to reflect on their experiences over the years.
“I love our program,” Weaver said. “I feel that maybe people would take our program for granted but knowing how cool it is and how much like accessibility they give us after the program. They really want to help us to succeed.”
Part of the gallery’s meaning was for the designers to have ‘proof’ of their work and to prove how far they have come since entering the program.
“My family's like ‘oh, you make great work’ but they don’t fully understand the process and the time and patience that goes into doing it,” Weaver said. “I feel like people think graphic design is just like copying and pasting things, which it can be, but that’s not good graphic design. I just want people to see all the work we've done and really appreciate it. Then I can sleep.”
Adams said her favorite part of the showcase was the opportunity for people to experience her work in a way they normally can’t.
“It's fun because our parents get to come and see it and it's kind of fun for them to see our work in a professional setting,” she said. “Most of our parents see it here and there, like if we come home for the weekend. Our classmates see the art all the time, but it's so satisfying to invite other people in other programs, like someone who is in education can come and look at this or someone who's a dancer or someone who is a journalist can come and look at it and that is really cool. It's so professional and it's just really neat.”
With graduation coming soon, the girls feel prepared for the future knowing what they have learned here at WMU in the graphic design program.
“It's nice, we do so many different types of projects,” Adams said. “Like when you go to our gallery, for instance I did stamps with four other people, but they don’t look the same. The way they teach us is really well rounded. When we have our portfolio put together. We have such a wide range of abilities when we leave. It can be real nice to apply for all sorts of different graphic design jobs and we have backgrounds in basically all of it.”
As they prepare to leave WMU, the girls offer some advice to other graphic design students.
“It's okay if you don't know everything,” Weaver said. “You're not supposed to know everything yet. Even people who are full fledged designers are still learning stuff every day.”
If interested in seeing some of the designers works, visit the third floor of the Richmond Center where some of their work is often displayed.