Department of Art and Art History Design

Undergraduates in Design explore Chicago through Professional Development Travel Initiative Grant

Thu. April 21, 2016

image of a reflection of five women standing in plaza
Photo by Maddie George.

“Design careers are unique to the needs of the cities they are stationed in,” says Design junior Brianna Graves. “I needed to see how things were done in different cities.”

Maddie George, Brianna Graves, Hillary Henrici, Emily Jarvis and Jenny Seh traveled to Chicago, funded by a Professional Development Travel Initiative (PDTI) grant, and toured design studios. The College of Fine Arts PDTI program funds professional development trips in the United States for undergraduate students.

image of office space with brick walls, cubicles and rugs
Inside Beyond Design Studio.

After being in Austin for much of their college careers, the group wanted to explore other options and decided on Chicago. One of the design studios they visited, Knoed Creative, is run by a husband and wife team.

“Their work and workspace seems like a dream,” says Emily Jarvis. “Getting to hear their personal stories of how they got where they are was inspiring and realistic at the same time.”

The students witnessed what it is like to work in smaller studios as well as the benefits and downfalls of larger studios. The designers they met discussed salaries and shared personal stories about their careers.

“Many of the successful people that we met actually had a rocky start, which was surprising yet comforting,” describes Hillary Henrici. “The designers we met said that any sort of direction that they were heading in after graduating college usually didn’t go as planned—for better or for worse.”

landscape of chicago overlooking park
View from envisionit agency.
They all agreed that the best memory of the trip was getting the chance to experience real snow in April. And the most important lesson learned?

“Be excited about what you’re doing! They can tell when looking at your work!” remarks Maddie George.

Read more about their trip on their blog.

Dana Suleymanova is pursuing her B.F.A in Studio Art.

wkrm: Open Studio

Apr 21

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