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Real-time design

by John Callegari
John Callegari has been coordinator of graphic design at the College of DuPage since 2005.

College of DuPage

Course Concept

The Graphic Design program at College of DuPage is an intensive two-year program that prepares students for real-world work experiences, or for transfer to a four-year program. It is central to our mission to provide students the opportunity to develop a portfolio of creative work demonstrating their visual problem-solving skills, as well as mastery of the design tools found in Adobe® Creative Suite® software.

In 2006, we initiated Graphic Design 4, our final course in the design sequence. The objectives driving curriculum development were to simulate a design studio environment, link teaching and learning strategies, and integrate meaningful community service with instruction. The goals were to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and support the community while allowing students to use what they have learned in design classes to solve real-world design problems for actual clients.

In this 16-week course, up to 20 students per section work on both individual and group projects, which emphasize the development of professional design and/or illustration, project management, and presentation skills. Based on faculty evaluations of individual student competencies, the class is divided into groups of four or five, with an eye toward creating balanced teams, where students can contribute both collectively and individually. Students hone their design and Adobe Creative Suite skills while becoming more actively contributing community members through the professional services they perform for a variety of non-profit organizations and small businesses. The reputation of the program has grown over the years as new organizations, hearing of the fine creative work of the students, have requested to be involved in the class.

Working with the Community

Each fall semester, we send calls for project proposals out to the community. We assess, prioritize and schedule submissions from potential Clients for the upcoming spring semester. Students are encouraged to research the clients assigned to their group before an initial meeting. We schedule appointments during class periods to introduce clients to their design team and launch the project. The design teams meet in our newly renovated Mac-platform studio in the College of DuPage Art Center.

The student design teams engage in all aspects of the design process, including project management, research, conceptualization, photography, illustration, design, presentation, and production of final art. The range of projects our students have tackled over the years include identity/branding development, publication design, illustration, photo-editing, motion graphics, animation, and web development. In all aspects of the process, our students create and use a range of Adobe applications to create and develop client design work.

Completed Projects

Our students have completed projects over the past several years that range from materials for various campus organizations to community nonprofit agencies as shown in the following examples.

Resilient Crafts. An organization dedicated to helping refugees support themselves through handmade craft sales. — Logo design, brochure design.

DuPage County Animal Control — Informational brochure design.
Alpha Beta Gamma, COD chapter of national honor society — Logo and poster — design for including.
English Department at College of DuPage — Book cover designs (2009/10) for Essai, Anthology of Academic Writing.
Speech Assistance Area at College of DuPage — Program Posters and brochure.
Client: Animals Deserving of Proper Treatment Project: Identity design
College of DuPage Theater — Design of Student Theater summer Play Posters.
Consortium of Illinois Learning Communities — Identity and brochure.
COD Liberal Arts Division — Artlook event logo and poster design.
College of DuPage Library — "How-to-use" informational animations for use in the COD Library.
Graphic Design Program at COD — Logo design and promotional materials for annual Portfolio Night event.

Spring 2011 Projects

The following are some the clients/projects scheduled for the Spring 2011 semester:

  • Rape Victim Advocates (RVA) —Awareness materials for fundraising and event promotions
  • Bolingbrook Academic Achievement Working Group — identity design, brochure and website design
  • ProActive Kids — Identity building and design of various informational materials
  • Prairie Light Review — Website and brochure design
  • Donate Life Illinois — Awareness poster/ad promoting organ/tissue donation


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