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Where the Magic Happens

Graphic design students who designed the Student Exhibition
April 20, 2018

When the assignment propels students out of the classroom and into the real world, the lesson is amplified.

It's as if Assistant Professor Jennifer Gordon opened the wardrobe door and gave her students glimpse of the Narnia that is being professional graphic designers. Deadlines, the parameters of brand, working for a client, collaborating– there it was.

Her students' assignment was to brand the Annual Student Exhibition 2018, then team of Art and Design professors cherry picked their favorite elements from their work.

The next step: the seven juniors and seniors whose pieces were picked joined creative forces, and their task was dubious. They had less than a week to create and produce all the materials– way finding signs, end caps, juror statements, a large vinyl sticker, and the catalog– that help Tweed Museum of Art visitors navigate what they're seeing in the exhibition.

The inspiration for everything they created was the winning poster used to advertise the exhibit, designed by Sarah Golla. Graphic design major Esobel Schultz says even the starting point, an already established design, was great practice. “That was kind of different, too, working on the brand from a design you were given.”

With only six days from green light to opening, the group quickly got to work. For junior Megan Hanson, this was lesson one, “I learned that a deadline is a real thing. We knew that the exhibit was going to open whether we were ready or not.”

Adding Prestige

This was junior Hanson's first time working with a museum, an experience that made her think about the curatorial controls needed for preserving the Tweed's collection, "Anneliese Verhoeven, the Tweed's preparator, told us some strict ‘nos,’ some things that can’t be in a museum, like no live plants– things like that. I’d never taken the time to think about all of the things that go into the logistics of what can and can not be in a museum.”

The Tweed is actually what brought graphic design major Danielle Peterson to UMD from the University of Iowa. She says she's at the museum everyday and was honored to work alongside Verhoeven, who provided excellent guidance to their work, "Anneliese added ideas and opinions, but really trusted our design expertise." Schultz adds, “It’s unique working with the Tweed. I don’t think very many colleges work with museums, especially since museums are usually pretty particular about their designs. It’s more prestigious.”

If you go:


See these graphic design students' beautiful branding at this annual exhibition of work executed by UMD students and juried by visiting artists.

April 2 – April 29, 2018

In the Special Exhibition Gallery of the Tweed Museum of Art

Annual Student Exhibition banner