Each fall, the UH School of Art’s senior graphic design students embark on an adventure.
One year they hiked through the Rocky Mountain National Park. Another, they canoed through the bayous of Louisiana on a round-a-bout route to New Orleans. Often, they will attend AIGA’s major – and formerly biennial, though now annual – design conference. But wherever their annual senior trip takes them, whether to a new city or an unusual outdoor challenge, the experience is invaluable to their growth as future design professionals, says School of Art Director Beckham Dossett.
“It’s a chance to get students out of the studio, out of Houston and introduce them to a different environment,” says Dossett, who has lead the senior design trip with Associate Professor of Design Cheryl Beckett for the last 17 years. “We encourage them to do something they’ve never done before.”
This year’s destination? New York City. “Cheryl and I gave the students a choice between going to AIGA’s annual conference, San Francisco or New York, and they voted for New York.” It was a whirlwind from the moment they touched down at LaGuardia — with two full days of design studio visits, a stop at the Type Directors Club where they met with Cooper Union professor Hannes Famira, a tour of the High Line and personal days filled with countless museum visits.
The seniors met with strategists and designers from three prestigious firms: C&G Partners, a multi-specialty creative studio known primarily for their interactive work; Interbrand, a global firm specializing in brand consultancy; and Carbone Smolan Agency, where UH alumna Yoko Kristiansen (B.F.A. Graphic Design ’16) helped present the firm’s strategic and creative process.
Having a Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts alumna there was an important aspect, says Dossett. “The seniors were able to see someone like them, someone who came from the same program and graduated just a couple of years ago, working in a major New York design firm. That was fantastic, because I think it shows them just what’s possible.”