Design Moving Forward: Shift Portfolio Show

The Design Department at Sinclair will be putting on it’s 25th annual Portfolio Show on April 30. The show is called Shift: Design Moving Forward. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. in building 12 and is open to all.

This show allows first and second-year students in the visual communications (VIS) and interior design (IND) programs an opportunity to present the work they’ve assembled throughout their classes.

With only a week until the show, students in these two programs have been hustling to put the finishing touches on their portfolios. This show allows for valuable learning experiences for everyone involved.

The first year students are given what is most likely their first interview by a professional in their field and are able to come away with valuable feedback on what to improve upon as they transition into their second year.

The second year students present the work and projects they’ve spent the last two or more years working on and perfecting. These interviews are some of the first chances the students will get to potentially land a job offer or even make a new connection.

With over 130 students slated to showcase their talent, I went and interviewed some of the students and got their thoughts on the show and their experiences in the program.

Many of the students I spoke to were very excited for the show, this was especially true for Zoe Pirslin who is a first-year VIS student.

She is “very excited to see the 2nd years portfolios and all the creativity that is going into them. And also the whole theme of the show. I’m interested to see how it all blends in together and makes a coherent design.”

Xavier Razo who is a second-year VIS student also mentioned how he was excited for “seeing everyone’s work and appreciating their hard work.”

The constant theme of excitement and support for other students and their work has been the backbone of this long-running show.

The Design Department prides itself on the annual show because it is focused on the students. The show itself is designed by a select group of visual communications students.

The experience of the show will play into how the students will proceed. Whether it be going into their 2nd year, pursuing a career or going onto a four-year college.

The support is also shown within the relationships between first and second year students. There are several opportunities for students at the two levels to meet within certain classes. This connection allows for plenty of advice, which is important in the constantly moving field of design.

This was evident when Lizzie Rahn who is a second-year VIS student shared with me that first years going into their second year should “Think of the companies you would like to use in the Fall semester. Work in Illustrator over the summer so that way you’re well versed when you come into the classes.”

Brandon Johnson (second-year VIS) provided the following advice for students making the same transition.

“Pay attention to what other students are doing and work together whenever you can,” Johnson said. “Everyone approaches design differently and you can learn a lot from your peers.”

As for incoming first years, Emma Spottsfield (first-year IND) broke it down into three things…

1.) Don’t give up when it gets hard.

2.) Never compare yourself to your classmates. You are all different, and have different talents. instead, build each other up, and work together.

3.) RESPECT your Professors. They have put more time and energy into teaching and preparing than we will ever know. Don’t be discouraged if they tell you to fix something. They are there to help you learn, to grow, and ultimately become the best designer than you can be. respect them, and they will respect you.

Sophie Hayden (first-year VIS) expanded on this advice by stating “coming into your first year, first semester, it can seem daunting a little bit, but you have to remember, if this is what you love, the challenges you face won’t be as scary, the critiques won’t seem as hard, because in the end, they’re only shaping you to be better,” Hayden said. “Never fear moving forward, the best is yet to come.”

When pursuing a career in the field of design, one of the biggest aspects is to have a passion for what you are doing. It won’t always be easy and you’ll always need to remind yourself that the clients are always right. Even though we all know that isn’t always the case.

With that passion, it is always interesting to hear where it all started. So I asked several students why they decided to go into visual communications or interior design.

Micheal Holden (second-year VIS) told me “I chose visual communications because it will allow me to expand my horizon past everything I learned from fine arts.”

Daniel Farris (first-year VIS) expressed that “Sinclair’s VISCOM program is a good way for me to combine my artistic skills with my technical background.”

Luis Torres Jacinto conveyed “I decided to go into visual communication because I always enjoyed being creative, and what better way to show of your creativity than graphic design.”

With every profession, program and field, there are good days and challenging days. I felt this first hand when there were days when everything went well. I also experienced the challenging days.

Whether it be cutting a 100-page branding book in half that took a semester to design with a week left until the due date or turning in my Typography pattern project with three minutes to spare. We all experience those challenging days.

With all of the students I spoke to, there were several common answers to the challenges they have faced so far.

These included comparisons to the work and success of others, time management, lack of motivation and creative block; as well as understanding and responding to critiques that are given by a variety of different people with different perspectives. And of course the notorious juggling of work, school and personal lives.

These are all very daunting when trying to put your all into your education and everything you design. But everyone who is in these programs needs to make sure to remind themselves to step back, take a minute and breathe. Everyone is at a different state, but we are all in motion.

Designers came before us, and they will come after us. So taking those moments to relax and remind yourself why you’re doing all this will hopefully provide some clarity.

We’ve all experienced these feelings in a variety of ways. As the semester is winding down, everyone’s motivation is slowly depleting. Once April 30 hits, everyone will be reminded what all of those long weeks, tireless nights and never-ending projects were for.

With this in mind, I wanted to know what else the students were using for motivation to finish the semester out strong.

Rahn stated: “The fact that this portfolio could get me a job so I wanted to push myself to make it look good.”

“The light at the end of the tunnel,” said Razo.

“As the semester is coming to a close, I remind myself to keep going because I know that there is always another adventure waiting for me,” Spottsfield stated. “But if I stop now, I may miss that opportunity.”

Jacinto said: “My inspiration towards the end of the semester is my family and friends, they all want me to succeed so I can’t let them nor me down.”

After being in the visual communications program the last two years, It will be sad to see it all end, from making new friends to getting to know all of my professors to working at the Clarion. With this in mind, I asked my peers what their favorite experiences have been in the program so far.

Rahn holds her memories of making friends fondly.

Razo recalls “the learning environment and fellow students.”

“Doing the Billboard project in my Design Processes I class,” Farris remembers.

“One of my friends literally left his mark on Sinclair, we were flash drying our screen prints and he went to talk to the professor about something and didn’t realize the flash heater was still on… after a lot of smoke and a charred shirt he realized there is in fact an off button,” Hayden said.

With my and many of my peer’s time here coming to a close, I was curious on what that next step would be following graduation in two weeks.

Razo plans to “work in advertising.”

“I plan to continue working at my art studio and doing work with other designers and artists,” said Johnson.

“I see myself working at art gallery first, then working at a restaurant until I find a job that will allow me to utilize my degree,” Holden stated.

“Maybe designing somewhere out of state,” Rahn ponders. “Working in the design field”

The show will be in the Sinclair Conference Center, building 12. The show starts at 3:30 p.m. with the keynote and panel discussion and the open house will start at 7:30 p.m. where all the students are encouraged to invite family and friends to see all the work that the students have produced. All are welcome.

Justin Pokorski
Graphic Designer

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