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Student design project picked up for statewide use

August 11, 2017

KOKOMO, Ind. — Got a statewide ad campaign?

Four Indiana University Kokomo students can say “yes” to that question, even before they earned their new media communications degrees.

Jennifer Blocker, Briana McKinley, Allyson Safranek, and Sandra Villafana developed a successful campaign for the Spirit of Haynes and Apperson in Kokomo (SHAK) Makerspace, a do-it-yourself space where people can gather to create, invent, and learn, and share equipment.

Titled “Got Makers?”, it introduces six members of the SHAK Makerspace, including a photographer, a multimedia artist, a jewelry maker, a fabrication builder, and a 3D printer, to pique interest in the space. SHAK recently moved into a new location in downtown Kokomo.

While intended to be local, the campaign has been picked up state-wide, and may be used by the Nation of Makers, the national maker organization.

“It’s really cool to see it go from just in Kokomo to something that could be larger,” McKinley said. “It makes it even better to have in our portfolios. It has more impact.”

The students created the poster series, logo and other materials as part of the Graphic Design Production and Practice class, also known as the Design Center. The class functions as a professional design center, offering its services free to local not-for-profit organizations.

Michael Koerner, assistant professor of new media and Design Center director, said seeing the student work being used in the community is exciting.

“I’m incredibly proud to have been involved in this project,” Koerner said. “From the initial idea to the final products, students were able to create a brand and apply it in their work. It allowed them to connect the dots, to see something they created in use.”

Blocker, the project designer, and McKinley, photographer, both said the finished posters are key parts of their portfolios as they begin their careers.

“It’s the biggest project in my entire portfolio,” said Blocker, from Rochester. “It shows I have experience working in a group, plus I have the logo I created, and a brochure and gift certificate that go with it.”

The project started as a contest, with Design Center students competing to develop a logo for the slogan “I’m a Maker, You’re a Maker,” which Koerner coined with Makerspace president Nan Braun and secretary Susan Alexander. Blocker’s design was selected and later used on original designs of gift certificates, decals and brochures, as well as the poster series.

After completing the logo, Blocker, McKinley, Safranek (Kokomo), and Villafana (Logansport) brainstormed ideas for individual posters, and discussed memorable ideas they’d seen. The “Got Milk” campaign came up, and they originally tossed around the thought of posters that said “Got Paint?” and similar captions. Jennifer created the idea of poster series, unified with the “Got Makers?” theme.

The project gave students a real-world professional experience, like working in a design agency.

“That’s the value of the class,” Blocker said. “You meet with clients, you ask them questions, and you work together to meet their needs. This is a big glimpse into what it’s like to work as a graphic designer.”

The real reward is seeing their work being used in the community.

“It’s interesting to see what you came up evolve from a little piece of paper with sketches on it all the way to a real print product,” said McKinley, Kokomo.. “It’s something people are actually seeing, and it’s influencing them, and getting them to think about something.”

Alexander said the students’ work showcases what the Makerspace is all about, in a professional manner.

“We trusted in the Design Center process and arrived at some amazing work,” she said. “They turned out a superior product to what we would have been able to do ourselves, and made our Makers feel special. The professionalism with which they were handled was great.”

The completed posters, along with work created by the makers, is featured in the IU Kokomo Union Street Art Gallery, 219 N. Union Street, through Friday, August 18. The gallery is open from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

The SHAK Makerspace, 210 W. Monroe Street, is open to the public on Wednesday evenings, and the first and third Mondays each month, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Members have 24-hour access. A grand opening celebration is planned from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 27.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 08/11/2017