Our Integrated Media Arts (IMA) professor Ryan Gibboney once stated, “Client-based work is not regularly intertwined in the foundation of traditional undergraduate design education.”
Luckily at an institution like Juniata College, where community engagement is a key priority in the academic curriculum; myself and other IMA students have had the opportunity to work with multiple clients during our undergraduate experience as early as our sophomore year. Yes, client-based work offers many amazing opportunities to help enhance one’s design capabilities, but it also offers students the opportunity to learn how to take on new partners and select the proper client to work with.
The selection process for new community partners has improved over the years. My first experience with the process was in my Integrated Media Arts Lab class. In this class, students work together as a design team tackling tasks associated with visual identity, social media, print materials and more. The selection process in this class began with Ryan introducing a handful of potential partners she previously was in contact with. This was more of a direct outreach on her end, allowing her to gather these potential projects to present to the class. Once we were shown the options, a simple “majority rule” vote was held and the design process began. In upper-level classes like Integrated Media Arts Practicum, Ryan presented potential partners in a similar fashion, but instead of an entire class working as a design team, traditionally, individual upper-level students would take on a project they felt a connection with.
Improvement to the process has included the addition of our new ima.studio-info site, which now allows both businesses and students to submit application forms year round. This update not only makes the selection process more seamless for us students, but allows for the potential partner to review their needs, wants, and current assets extensively before submitting a proposal to us- an important part of the selection process that was previously lacking.
As I have moved throughout my years in the Integrated Media Arts program, myself and others have gained knowledge on how to appropriately take on new partners. Ryan Gibboney is right by stating that client-based work is not regularly intertwined in undergraduate design education. It doesn’t just help us enhance our technical skills, it also allows us to learn to ropes on ciphering through the complexities of client applications, a sometimes overlooked aspect of design education. Taking on new partners is a fun and deliberative process, but I am thankful to have engaged in these experiences because they have allowed me to become a more equipped young professional.
Vinnie Caroselli ’20
POE: Graphic Communication