CEDAR RAPIDS — Start-up and nonprofit companies lacking the budget to create professional materials touting their services have turned to another option: students in David Brandstetter’s class.
The Kirkwood Community College professor has students in their final semester in the Graphic Communication Technology program work on projects for businesses to which he put out the call. This year, about 30 businesses said they wanted to work with the students. Their projects are capstones for the Production Techniques class.
“Internships are good, but one of the things I like students to have is some real hands-on experience in a controlled environment that’s still their own,” Brandstetter said. “In internships, you’re being art-directed to do things. To not step on any industry toes, we work with start-up companies or nonprofits that want their visuals to look better.”
Each year, Brandstetter puts out a call for interested businesses and forms the students into groups to tackle the work — this year there are four student groups.
Groups of two to three students work on the projects during class each Tuesday and Thursday. The projects need to be wrapped up by graduation in May, but the client can set deadlines for certain pieces throughout the spring months.
Students also make regular progress reports and track their hours to prepare for logging in hours for pay someday.
Bailey Stauffer, from Cedar Rapids, and Reid Smock, from Lisbon, are designing flyers and informational pieces for a Kirkwood professor who began a health and wellness startup.
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The colors on Smock’s flyer for a nutrition class played off the logo’s colors, and he lined fruits and vegetables across the top and bottom of the page. Stauffer’s piece for the client’s weight management class depicted a burger and soda cup with text about how the class would help written down the middle of the cup.
“My take on this was you’re done eating out,” Stauffer said. “You’re done eating so bad that you’re wanting to change, so I put all the ways they’re going to help you in the text.”
Luke Frisbie, from Atlantic, designed a flyer for Unlimited Abilities in Iowa City, which helps adults with disabilities find employment and be independent. Frisbie was designing a flyer for the business’ upcoming talent show. Team member Marcial Carte, from Blairstown, cut out a showman figure. Using little color so the client could keep printing expenses down, Frisbie overlaid a purple ribbon that unfurled toward the bottom of the page, drawing the audience’s eye to the date of the event.
Aladin Kajtazovic, from Cedar Rapids, and Kiera Gaffey, from Tiffin, are designing a new map and brochure for a transit system in Johnson County. The original print designs were white and didn’t use space efficiently. Kajtazovic began with a new orange-and-blue color scheme.
The creative freedom is nice, he said, but managing multiple tasks at once still is a challenge, as is getting regular feedback from the client.
“When she was really not busy, she’d give us a reply back,” Kajtazovic said. “She’s a busy lady, so we like to respect her and her time.”
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