GVSU seniors to display graphic design projects this week
It’s that time of the semester when seniors from a variety of majors will be sharing the senior projects they have worked on diligently throughout the past months. Tyler Staley and Skyelar Fountain are two of several Grand Valley State University graphic design students who will be displaying their senior projects this week in the show “x-height.”
From Monday, April 9, to Friday, April 13, “x-height” will be showcased in the gallery of the Haas Center for Performing Arts, with a reception on Thursday, April 12, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Staley began his academic career at GVSU studying film and video, but he found that the work was more group-oriented, which didn’t motivate him or fulfill his creative outlet enough. He later found his true passion in graphic design, where the work is more individually driven. His project is a culmination of what he’s learned in his film classes, as well as his graphic design classes, he said.
“A lot of (film) was group-oriented work, but with graphic design it’s all on my shoulders. It’s all my work, my vision. It's all on me,” Staley said. “I find the work to be more fulfilling. I find it to still be an ample creative outlet for myself, and I find it to help others express others as well, which is another fulfilling aspect of it that I enjoy.”
For his project, he designed merchandise that accompanies a trailer for a film, which he described as a “detective murder mystery film” that is also a “spoof” film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. In the show, the trailer will be playing on repeat next to the items he designed.
"The film itself is based off of a practical joke film trailer that some friends of mine had made, and I just took that and ran with it and made it a semi-professional movie trailer and designed elements like the DVD, DVD case, movie poster, T-shirts surrounding that," Staley said.
"Essentially, I came up with a whole merchandise campaign for this would-be movie.”
Fountain also designed merchandise for "x-height," but her designs are for a fake coffee company she created for the project. After taking a trip to Jamaica and seeing coffee plantations, she realized that many countries that produce high-quality coffee are also "burdened with poverty," so she created a pseudo-company that donates some of its proceeds to orphans.
“The coffee company is called ‘Positive Bean,’ and it’s a fictional online coffee company that donates 10 percent of every purchase to helping countries in poverty,” Fountain said.
For the show, Fountain designed what someone would normally encounter for a business, such as the logo, the company's mission statement and its website. Her project on display contains coffee bags she designed for several different countries, as well as some merchandise that a customer could buy from the company’s website, such as mugs, stickers and postcards.
“I basically made a company where each of the coffee is exclusive to the certain countries, so there’s examples of a roast from Mexico, a roast from Ethiopia and Guatemala, and all the packaging is inspired by the country itself—the color, the pattern,” she said. “The person that goes online, they can either order just coffee, or coffee and a mug, and the mug is designed also in correspondence with the coffee bag.”
Fountain said she enjoys graphic design because it allows her to use her creativity and continues to challenge her as she moves from project to project.
“I decided to go into graphic design because I’m a creative person and I get bored easily, so it’s really nice to be able to be in a field where it’s really inspiring and challenging and it’s really different every day," she said. "It keeps you always learning and solving whatever a client needs."