Thursday, January 15, 2009

Design Students Showcase Volunteer Work for Non-Profits

Rachel Makowski, who recently obtained her bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire, shows some of the work she did as a student. Next to her, fellow bachelor’s degree recipient Raysa Cerna also had a display. In their final two quarters both of these students and 18 others worked as Citizen Designers, creating design projects for non-profit organizations. The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire now has a new group of Citizen Designers who can design projects for other non-profit organizations. For more information, call Carl Dameron at (909) 888-0017. Photo by Carl Dameron

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Twenty emerging graphic designers, some of whom are new graduates of The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire and others who will be soon, recently showcased projects they’ve been working on for non-profit agencies the past few months.

Citizen Designer is a program the Art Institute of California – Inland Empire created last July, matching the students with non-profits that had specific needs for developing promotional materials that would make a high impact on prospective clients and donors. These included posters, brochures, various forms of advertisements, business cards, Web sites and more.

“The idea is to help our graphic design students who are near the end of their education by giving them practical experience,” said Citizen Design instructor Frank Houlihan, who formerly directed an advertising agency. “We want them to establish client skills.”

The students mostly worked with the same non-profit organizations for two quarters, from July through December. A few more students and non—profit organizations came on board when the Art Institute started its fall quarter in October.

Dante Guiab, a senior Graphic Design major, worked with Operation SafeHouse, designing an informational folder for the teen shelter. It was a hit with the SafeHouse executive board.

“It was great working with Dante,” said Fonda McGensy, Operation SafeHouse Safe Place director. “He understood what we wanted and he went with it.”

Scott Kruger spent his six months as a Citizen Designer creating a membership kit and partially designed a Website for the Inland Empire Ad Club, which is the local division of the American Advertising Federation. The graphics on both of these include silhouettes of palm trees and an “Ad Club” billboard against a light blue background, Kruger’s effort to capture a scene Inland Empire residents would see every day on the region’s freeways.

Kruger said he had frequent feedback from Ad Club President Andrew Wilkin. Working with the rest of the Ad Club board was a learning opportunity.

“I had the preliminary design ready after a few meetings with Andrew, but the board didn’t make a decision on the design until the start of the fall quarter,” Kruger said. “Then they asked for a lighter shade of blue in the background. They didn’t give final approval until near the end of the quarter.”

“Ad Club is the toughest group of people you will ever have to work for, because they are professional ad designers” said John Barry, who is director of public relations for both The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire and the Ad Club. “The fact that Scott’s first real-world graphic design concept passed the board with flying colors is truly an accolade.”

The nonprofit groups helped by the graphics design program of The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire include Foster Family Network, The Salvation Army, Operation SafeHouse, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, OPARC, The American Advertising Federation – Inland Empire, The San Bernardino Visitors Center, The American Lung Association of California, Building a Generation, The Inland Empire Weekly, The Inland Empire Job Corps Center, The United Way, Seasons Restaurant, SEBA, and the American Diabetes Association.

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire began a new quarter on Jan. 12, and another group of approximately 20 students are now working with these and other non-profit organizations. The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire is seeking additional non – profit organizations for which it can provide services. To recommend a non-profit agency in need of graphic design or Web design assistance to The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire, call Carl Dameron at (909) 888-0017.

Since the Web Design students weren’t involved the first two quarters, Jason Diehl, academic director for Web Design & Interactive Media, encourages agencies that need help with Websites to get involved in 2009.

“These Graphic Design students did great things for the non-profit agencies, including designs for their Websites,” he said. “Next quarter’s students should also deliver impressive work. But the Web Design & Interactive Media students will be able to take the Websites to an entirely new level.”

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire will likely have 20 or more students enrolled in the Citizen Designer program from now on, as a growing number of students are reaching the advanced levels of their education.

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Game Art & Design, Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media, Interior Design, Fashion & Retail Management, and Media Arts & Animation. It offers an Associate degree in Graphic Design, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design. The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire offers an Associate degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Management. Each program is offered on a year-round basis, allowing students to work uninterrupted toward their degrees.

It’s not too late to start the new year at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. Courses begin Feb. 19 and classes are offered in the day, evening and on weekends for new and reentry students.

For more information or a free tour of The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire call (909) 915-2100 or go on line to