Visual Communications students in OSU Institute of Technology’s graphic design classes graduate with real projects in their portfolio that they created for actual clients during their practicum class, which gives them an edge in competing for design jobs across the nation. Tapes Fine Arts, Inc. in Bixby is one of the clients that received OSUIT’s students’ design work, and the organization’s president, Sherry Turpen, is thrilled with the image of the organization that the students’ artwork is conveying.
“OSUIT made it possible for Tapes Fine Arts to enhance its image as it expanded the services and facilities,” said Turpen. “We have been in existence for more than 25 years, but we recently launched a new campaign to become known as a non-profit conservatory and we wanted our identity package and artwork to be of supreme quality, which we received from the students at OSUIT.”
For a quarter century, Tapes Fine Arts has been offering art, music and theater education, but recently expanded its facilities and lesson offerings. In addition to building a theater, the studio now offers lessons in voice, piano, violin and guitar. Students who train at the studio are well-prepared for college auditions and many receive scholarships as a result of their intensive training. The studio was founded by Jean Sears, a former public school music teacher. Turpen teaches at the studio in addition to being the non-profit’s trustee president.
Turpen found out about the OSUIT Visual Communications’ graphic design program from a Tapes board member, Colleen Hughes. Both Hughes and her son graduated from the OSUIT Visual Communications program and knew that students receive an excellent education. Turpen called Brian Caldwell, instructor of the practicum class, who decided it would be an interesting challenge for his students.
As the students began their designs, they competed to see which one of their design packages would be chosen by the Tapes Studio clients. For the identity package they created a logo, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, a brochure, signage, shirts, backpacks and bumper stickers. Then they made a formal presentation to the clients and waited to see which design was chosen. Caldwell said the class exercise is set up to be identical to the experiences they would have if they were employed at competing design agencies.
Turpen was completely surprised and overwhelmed by the excellence of the designs created by OSUIT students. “Ten students each created an identity package and each one of them conveyed a completely different image of who they thought we were. Our board members looked at them and thought they were all amazing.”
Hughes said when she saw the identity packages, choosing only one was difficult. “They were all outstanding; I appreciate all the work the students put into this project and I recognize the value that this project provides to the organization.”
OSUIT graphic design student Brooke Lawson, who is from Owasso, created the identity package that was chosen by the Tapes Studio board. “I put a lot of work into creating the identity package, and after my design was chosen, I found out that the work was just beginning. I spent many hours working individually with the clients at Tapes to get all of the projects completed. Now that the pieces are printed and in use by the Tapes staff, it’s a great feeling to see my work benefiting the organization.”
Student Sharry Mouss from Henryetta created posters and direct mail pieces for two plays that the studio produced recently – “Cinderella” and “Snow White.” Mouss said the project launched her into the fast-paced design process required at design studios. “This was my first project for the class, and there was no easing into the class because there was a quick deadline. It prepared me to be able to work at the fast pace required for the rest of the class, and for my future career at a design agency.”
After the identity design work was completed, Turpen presented a check to the OSUIT Future Art Directors Club to thank the students for their hard work. The money will be used by FAD Club members to go on field trips to design agencies around the region.
Lawson adds that her education has prepared her well for her career. “The practicum class—as well as all of our other design classes—have taught us a great deal about all aspects of design and about real world application. I think this is what sets OSUIT apart from other design schools. The practical experience of working under pressure with real clients, paired with the faculty who are there every step of the way to push us and better us, gives us an extra advantage when we graduate.”