Last August Muskegon Community College’s graphic design program introduced a new class for graphics majors called Studio M. “As a capstone internship, Studio M is designed to emulate a small design firm giving students the opportunity to work with actual clients,” stated Graphic Design Instructor Kevin Kyser. Kyser will also serve as the Creative Director of Studio M.
Students have the benefit of not only working directly with clients but also learning how to run creative briefs. Students learn to “write proposals and invoices estimating time, costs, and deadlines,” according to Kyser. Another benefit of the Studio M class is that students can work collectively, according to Kyser, as well as individually, ultimately providing several solutions to a design problem.
“[Students] also gain valuable experience in presenting their work by gaining feedback and making alterations as needed,” stated Kyser. Lastly, students can supply clients with digital files that are ready for web or printing. According to Kyser, “it truly is a win-win for both students and clients.”
To be in Studio M is to collaborate with others. “Collaboration is key,” stated Kyser. Students work collaboratively in most graphic design (GRD) classes; however, the focus is majorly centered around the students’ individual growth as designers. Studio M is a team-based class, being more focused on the growth of designers as a team.
Deadlines are extremely important in the graphic design industry, Kyser warns current Studio M students. One benefit that college students have in contrast to designers in the real world is that students can wait “until they ‘feel creative’ to work on a project,” according to Kyser. Kyser encourages Studio M students to “understand[ing] how to prioritize work to match creative times.”
Graphic design is important to the world because it conveys difficult concepts and ideas visually. Graphic design is important to MCC because “it provides students with the opportunity to get a taste of the graphic design field in a short amount of time,” said Kyser. Before the rise of COVID-19, Kyser often visited high schools and tech centers to promote the graphic design program. Since then, there has been an increase in students majoring in graphic design.
Most argue that design is purely technical rather than an art form; however, the design is both technical as much as it is artistic and is equally important no matter the form that it takes. According to Kyser, “the arts are the fabric of our lives. I like to say, “graphic design is where technology and creativity collide.”
According to Kyser, “When we consider the works of famous graphic designers such as Milton Glaser, Paula Scher, or Noma Bar, it’s only then that we appreciate it as an art form and realize its enormous impact on the way we communicate in our everyday lives.” Kyser encourages current GRD students to talk with members of Studio M. “I think they would quickly tell you they are a tight-knit group that likes to have fun!”