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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Graphic design club helps student artists express themselves

Published: November 16, 2012
Section: Features

As a recent acquisition to the Brandeis community, the Graphic Design Club merges artistic capabilities with crucial technical skills to design marketing tools such as flyers, logos and apparel for a diverse assemblage of organizations across campus. Explaining her passion for graphic design, current president Diane Somlo ’15 likens the process to a puzzle, in which the objective is to “best convey the intended information, message or idea in an artistic and clever form.”

Originally co-founded in 2011 by Lenny Schnier ’13 and Sophie Golomb ’13, the club has already designed promotional material for more than 30 groups on campus, including the Brandeis International Journal, the Skydiving and Future Endeavors Club, the Astronomy Club, WBRS and the International Behavioral Economists and Finance Association, among others. According to Somlo, the recent completion of the design for the logo for Crowd Control, an improvisational theater group on campus, is currently being advertised on Facebook to promote the group’s semester performance.

Co-founder Schnier, a senior art studio major, traces his initial inspiration for the creation of the club to his observation of the “lack of academic graphic design programs on campus and any kind of allied community supporting the students who were interested in design.”

Seeking to unite individuals interested in the field while himself considering the possibility of pursuing a career in graphic design, Schnier first proposed the concept along with peer and co-founder Golomb in the spring of 2011 during his sophomore year. Upon receiving approval, Schnier and Golomb initiated the club in the fall of 2011 during their junior year.

As a means to garnish valuable experience and the knowledge of technical programs associated with graphic design, participation in the club’s activities can serve career interests. For example, Schnier has completed two internships within the field of graphic design, serving as an intern at ArtBridge in New York City and as a marketing and communications intern with the Hiatt Career Center. He expands upon his passion for the field, stating, “I love the challenge of conveying a message visually.”

Remarking upon the multitude of possibilities for students interested in the subject, Schnier asserts the prevalence of the need for such a skillset within almost any field. Drawing upon the vast realm of clientele, Schnier stated, “Everyone needs to brand themselves visually and creatively and having these skills can really help get an artist on their feet financially.” According to Schnier, within the actual study of graphic design itself, students can apply themselves more to the typographical or illustrative aspects depending upon their individual interest.

Despite Schnier’s evident investment within the field of graphic design, the organization possesses a wide range of participants with varying abilities. In fact, Somlo reveals “most members are novices interested in learning about graphic design,” acquiring knowledge of the technical skills associated with the development of promotional tools directly through involvement in the club.

Beyond the prevalence of fine arts majors interested in graphic design, students involved in the organization pursue diverse fields of academic interests, ranging from business to biology.

As a biology major herself, Somlo confessed her prior lack of experience with graphic design, initially joining to supplement the lack of arts courses within her academic schedule. Yet, she rose to the position of president, demonstrating the opportunities available to students of all majors who wish to engage in the club.

A lack of prior experience with programs used for graphic design should not serve as a deterrent for new members, according to Somlo.

“It is our hope that by running tutorials on programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, we can help club members learn the technical, design skills they need to bring their ideas to life,” Somlo said.

Currently, the club has also implemented meetings at the Shapiro Campus Center to foster ideas for projects and continue to promote collaboration among members. In terms of future goals, the club is also seeking individuals interested in running tutorials for members of the club. This pursuit, Somlo deems an “exciting endeavor” that “would bring a whole new side to elaborating on interests in graphic design for the members.”

Beyond the benefits derived from the experience in terms of technical skills, Somlo further attests to the ability to interact with a wide range of student groups on campus.

“There are so many different activities, ideas and groups within our own Brandeis community that conversing with them for graphic design work is like a great survey and attests to the great variety of clubs supported by our student body,” Somlo said.

Regardless of experience level or academic fields of study, Somlo encourages students to become involved in the organization. She says, graphic design is “sort of like art with a directive, and design is something you can keep playing with until you get it just right.”