BFA majors debut projects: Graphic designers showcase portfolios

Graphic designer Paul Rand once said, “Design is so simple, that’s why it is complicated.”

As seniors in the graphic design department at Keene State College (KSC) approach their final semester, they get a glimpse of what Rand truly means through a required class called Graphic Design Portfolio.

Art students display artwork at Thorne

Art students display artwork at Thorne

The course focuses on producing a professional portfolio of design work.

The goal, according to the KSC website, is to prepare students to transition from college to the professional world and/or advanced design studies.

The work created during the semester-long class is displayed for the public at a portfolio exhibition.

This year’s review titled “Twenty-Six” was held on April 21 in the Media Arts Center.

KSC senior graphic design major Brian Cronin said the work he created for the exhibition was inspired by who he is as a person.

“I am the fun, laugh at my own joke kind of guy, so a lot of my stuff has some humor to it,” Cronin said.

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

“It also has a lot of music inspiration and a lot of my daily life was revealed throughout my portfolio.”

One of Cronin’s designs, “Dead in Khakis,” was a fictional high-end clothing line for designers.

Cronin said when he was talking to graphic designers about clothing, all of them said they’d rather die than wear khakis, which sparked the clothing brand idea: Designer clothing for designers.

While Cronin’s clothing designs were accidental, KSC senior graphic design major Christina Lyons said she used her interest in fashion to influence the designs in her portfolio.

“I love fashion, so flipping through fashion magazines, Pinterest and movies was a huge part of my process,” Lyons said.

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Of her work, Lyons said her favorite was her identity and design project.

This project’s guidelines were to create and brand an entire company from scratch that has a concept.

“I created Poli, which is a clothing company based on transformative clothing for professional woman,” Lyons said.

“It’s really catering to the modern woman and making her look good and feel good.”

Thematically, two of the graphic designers interviewed by The Equinox, Patrick Clark and Ashley Wood, both found graphic design through their passions as well.

Clark said he was always interested in art in high school and graphic design seemed the best way to market himself.

“I found graphic design my freshman year of high school and it gave me an outlet to produce art while also have a way to sell it,” Clark said.

Similar to Clark, Wood became a dual major with studio art and graphic design in order to continue pursuing her passion for art.

“Graphic design is a modern version of studio art,” Wood said.

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

“This is basically a way for me to continue my love for studio art but also make a living.”

Wood said the project she was most proud of was her DVD remake covers of “The Underworld” series. “I was able to use my studio art in it the most,” Wood said.

“All the graphics for it, besides the typeface, were all hand done and then brought into the computer to be further edited. That’s my favorite thing to do, to take my studio art, my drawings and my paintings and be able to turn them into a graphic.”

Several graphic design majors interviewed by The Equinox said they thoroughly improved as a designer because they took this course.

“It’s a b—- slap into the real world,” Cronin said. “It makes you realize what you are getting yourself into and it’s nice to finally have the availability to show off what we do because for most of us, we are just hermits in this building and people don’t know what we’re doing. Portfolio shows us this is how the graphic design world is, but when you get to show off what you have, it’s worth it.”

Although the deadlines and endless projects were stressful, Lyons said the course has prepared her for what is yet to come.

“It [Graphic Design Portfolio] has made me a way more refined designer and I can handle stress really well now,” Lyons said.

“It was a big learning curve, but it helped you learn high turnaround and how to be more professional when presenting your work. It gets you ready for the big, bad world.”

Olivia Belanger can be contacted at

Other article in this featured series: “BFA majors debut projects: Art students display artwork at Thorne”

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