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Hope College June 2013 : Page 14

Campus Profile learning by By Chris Lewis ’09 Design courses as a 14-year-old, and began developing a portfolio of work under the guidance of her high school art teacher and mentor. From that point forward, she gained real-world experience in a variety of roles, from apprentice to creative director, before founding her own graphic design company. Through these experiences, Professor Milanowski has learned the ins and outs of graphic design, while managing projects from conception to final product. Today, she is determined to offer her students the same type of practical experience she received as a student. Since 2009, Professor Milanowski has assigned authentic, client-oriented projects to students, allowing them to showcase their artistic talents in real-world settings. Although some project offerings have focused solely on fulfilling the needs of the Hope community, such as the abstract booklet for the annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance, most are developed for local businesses. “I am most interested in having students help small, local businesses,” Professor Milanowski said. “It is a win-win proposition. students in stephanie milanowski’s design classes learn additional lessons by working on projects with area businesses and organizations, helping them to W ith more than 20 years of experience as a professional graphic designer, Stephanie Milanowski, the Howard R. and Margaret E. Sluyter Assistant Professor of Art, fully understands and appreciates the value of hands-on learning. After all, she enrolled in college We help them with design services and they help us by sharing their goals, passion, and business objectives while also providing an invaluable learning experience for our students.” The process often involves an element of competition, with the students vying with one another to have their concepts chosen by the client organization—just as they might be competing with other designers as practicing professionals. More importantly, though, the students are learning how to communicate with those they are serving so that they can understand what the organization is seeking and then apply their knowledge and abilities to help clients achieve their goals. For example, oftentimes in the past, Professor Milanowski’s Basic Design ART 105 students have created new drinks for Holland’s Lemonjello’s Coffee. Every semester, the students visited the shop and met with owner Matthew Scott ’00 prior to individually designing logos, promotional posters, and recipe As a participant in the college’s Design II class, junior liz O’Connell of geneva, Ill., designed the “green Cleaning for a Healthy Home” booklet co-authored by the west michigan environmental Action Council and the Kent County Health Department. “Through applied learning, students are thinking, looking, researching, and sketching. But most importantly, they are doing. They’re applying what they’re learning. All students learn differently — with applied learning, there is no hiding what they don’t know.” – Stephanie Milanowski, the Howard R. and Margaret E. Sluyter Assistant Professor of Art 14 News News From From Hope Hope College College

Campus Profile

Chris Lewis

<br /> Learning by Design<br /> <br /> “Through applied learning, students are thinking, looking, researching, and sketching. But most importantly, they are doing. They’re applying what they’re learning. All students learn differently — with applied learning, there is no hiding what they don’t know.”<br /> <br /> With more than 20 years of experience as a professional graphic designer, Stephanie Milanowski, the Howard R. and Margaret E. Sluyter Assistant Professor of Art, fully understands and appreciates the value of handson learning. After all, she enrolled in college courses as a 14-year-old, and began developing a portfolio of work under the guidance of her high school art teacher and mentor.<br /> <br /> From that point forward, she gained real-world experience in a variety of roles, from apprentice to creative director, before founding her own graphic design company. Through these experiences, Professor Milanowski has learned the ins and out s of graphic design, while managing projects from conception to final product.<br /> <br /> Today, she is determined to offer her students the same type of practical experience she received as a student. Since 2009, Professor Milanowski has assigned authentic, client-oriented projects to students, allowing them to showcase their artistic talents in real-world settings.<br /> <br /> Although some project offerings have focused solely on fulfilling t he needs of the Hope community, such as the abstract booklet for the annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance, most are developed for local businesses.<br /> <br /> “I am most interested in having students help small, local businesses,” Professor Milanowski said. “It is a win-win proposition.<br /> <br /> We help them with design services and they help us by sharing their goals, passion, and business objectives while also providing an invaluable learning experience for our students.”<br /> <br /> The process often involves an element of competition, with the students vying with one another to have their concepts chosen by the client organization—just as they might be competing with other designers as practicing professionals. More importantly, though, the students are learning how to communicate with those they are serving so that they can understand what the organization is seeking and then apply their knowledge and abilities to help clients achieve their goals.<br /> <br /> For example, oftentimes in the past, Professor Milanowski’s Basic Design ART 105 students have created new drinks for Holland’s Lemonjello’s Coffee. Every semester, the students visited the shop and met with owner Matthew Scott ’00 prior to individually designing logos, promotional posters, and recipe cards. The experience culminated with Scott visiting the design studio in the De Pree Art Center and reviewing the concepts, ultimately selecting one as a new addition to the menu.<br /> <br /> “The concepts students create are way out of the box, so creative,” Professor Milanowski said. “It usually takes Matthew hours just to choose his top three favorites.”<br /> <br /> Through the years, students have also launched new product lines for Palazzolo’s Artisan Gelato and Sorbetto, of Fennville, Mich., creating original flavors, logos, and magazine advertisements. Professor Milanowski has also provided opportunities for students to develop a brewed, bottled iced tea for New Holland Brewery of Holland; re-design a label for Port Sheldon Popcorn, a Michigan-made product; and—this coming fall--produce promotional materials for Charley’s Famous Tortilla Chips by Food Design of Wyoming, Mich.<br /> <br /> “Through applied learning, students are thinking, looking, researching, and sketching. But most importantly, they are doing,” she said. “They’re applying what they’re learning. All students learn differently—with applied learning, there is no hiding what they don’t know.”<br /> <br /> Last fall, Professor Milanowski’s Design II ART 205 class worked with the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) to update a booklet it co-authored with the Kent County Health Department, titled “Green Cleaning for a Healthy Home.” WMEAC director Dan Schoonmaker and his staff reviewed 10 designs submitted by students, choosing the concept developed by sophomore studio art major Elizabeth O’Connell of Geneva, Ill., for publication.<br /> <br /> “I was looking for creativity and design appeal, as well as practicality, as we needed something that could be mass produced and compact enough to fit in any kitchen,” Schoonmaker said. “Elizabeth’s design fulfilled each of these criteria.”<br /> <br /> O’Connell’s finalized booklet featured hand-drawn illustrations of green cleaning products that people can purchase for their homes.<br /> <br /> “My overall vision was t o create something that interested everyone who wanted to learn more about green cleaning,” O’Connell said. “I wanted to emphasize WMEAC’s goal to promote healthy, green cleaning, while also creating a booklet that people could keep in their kitchen and use daily.”<br /> <br /> During this time, Kristen Dunn ’13, an art history major from Grand Rapids, Mich., was serving as WMEAC’s graphic design intern, working with the director of communications, while crafting promotional materials for membership drives. A student of Professor Milanowski’s for four years, Dunn believes the experience she gained as an intern will prepare her for the future.<br /> <br /> “I was able to work with InDesign every day for over six months, learning the ins and outs of the program, while also learning how to better communicate with people who don’t understand the ‘design’ language,” she said. “With my new found communication skills, I will be able to discuss my design skills in a confident manner with future employers.”<br /> <br /> She added, “Professor Milanowski taught me everything I know about design, how to communicate, and how to complete a project I’m proud of. Every project she assigns helps students work on skills that, in turn, will help them become marketable to the design world.”<br /> <br /> For the past two years, Design II students have also worked with Noorthoek Academy, a non-profit organization which partners with Grand Rapids Community College to provide a continuing education program in the arts and sciences for special needs students. The academy publishes a poetry booklet that features poems written by Noorthoek students, and the Hope students have developed concepts for the book’s cover, this year exploring the theme “Wings of Glass,” taken from the title of a student’s poem. In April, Noorthoek’s staff and students visited the class and reviewed the several options the students had developed, choosing the design by freshman Amanda Krause of Brighton, Mich., for the printed piece.<br /> <br /> “Amanda’s design, depicting butterflies taking off into flight, reflected the title, ‘Wings of Glass,’ but also gave a feeling of hope,” said Sandy Barraza, director of Noorthoek Academy. “Quite a few poems in this edition were about dealing with loss, since students had studied Mexico and spent significant time talking about Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday. The spirit of the design just seemed to fit.”<br /> <br /> “I would like to share that when we visited the classroom, the Hope students were so welcoming to the two Noorthoek students who were visiting,” Barraza said. “Autumn and Leetrice were excited to share their poems with the Hope students who listened and provided an abundance of kind words. They walked out of the classroom with smiles on their faces.”<br /> <br /> With each hands-on learning project, students are motivated beyond grades, driven to meet—and exceed—clients’ demands and expectations, two goals that all graphic design professionals must achieve.<br /> <br /> “For a graphic design course in a liberal arts institution, in which students do not have the ability to major in graphic design, providing practical, applied experiences to connect their interdisciplinary studies is a terrific motivational tool,” Professor Milanowski said. “Through applied learning, more questions are asked and steps are taken at different paces. Students help each other, too, and reinforce their own steps, while also reflecting on what they’ve learned.”

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