In the spring of 2016, a group of Advertising students walked into ADV 326 on the first day of class ready to create new design pieces for their portfolios. Little did they know that their skills would actually be showcased in a published book.
Months before the class began, Assistant Professor Paula Storrer was contacted by doctoral student Tony Cepak about a student book cover challenge. She was then approached by The Jenkins Group about having the students design page layouts for the entire publication, Victory for MSU: A 120-Year History of Spartan Men’s Basketball.
“Working on a real-world project allows students to get a better understanding to the whole creative project process and how the professional world really works,” said Storrer. “They are exposed to deadlines, concept changes, edits, more changes and seeing how a huge project comes together.”
Designing as a Class
The class worked as a design studio, putting together page layouts for chapters, features and even cover designs. According to senior AJ Turek, the entire class worked as a team to overcome challenges and complete the task at hand.
“I think a lot of us bonded,” said Turek. “We’d go through and show each other our work and share critiques. Some of the things we’d never done before, so we would try to figure them out together.”
Every team needs an experienced leader, and the class was no different. When in need of advice or design tips, students often looked to Storrer for guidance.
“Paula’s awesome,” said Turek. “She’s always there to help and she lets you be more creative. Our class was three hours long, twice a week. She would be there to help and every day we’d talk to her about what we’re struggling with, what we’re dealing with and she’d offer suggestions.”
Working in the Real World
Creating content for a client can be difficult, especially when you have great ideas that might not be fitting for the project at hand. Senior Matthew Burdick, for example, fell in love with a design for a portrait layout, but had to go back to the drawing board when it didn’t fit the overall landscape look.
“I think working on a project like this taught me many things that I will use in my future career,” said Burdick. “Not getting too attached to my work was a main one, as well as communication. When something wasn’t clear, it was on me if it was wrong or poorly executed. You simply cannot be afraid to reach out to your superiors when you need help or have a question.”
The Final Publication
For some of the students, this project wasn’t just a chance to extend their professional skills, but also something a little more personal.
“It was funny because my dad bought me one of those [Spartan basketball history] books when I was in fifth grade,” said Turek. “He bought me one, and now I get to work on one.”
Turek plans on giving the finished project to his sports-fanatic father as a gift. He isn’t the only one with some family excitement behind the work.
“I remember the day that I found out that my design was chosen for the cover,” said Burdick. “I called my mom and told her before I went to class, and after class I had gotten a few phone calls from the rest of my family, as well as extended, who wanted a copy of the book. I was so proud, but knew that just because my cover was selected that I could not take my foot off the gas.”
By Kaitlin Dudlets