A USD brand identity class is giving students real-world experience and insight into what working in the graphic design industry can be like.
The class begins with students researching Greek gods and mythical creatures, which students then use to create a personal brand.
“Mine’s Pan, the Greek god that’s half goat, half man. It developed into a male grooming idea,” foreign exchange student Grant MacDonald said.
Students, using the colors and values associated with their Greek gods, develop their designs to promote everything from movies, fun runs, climbing gear and athletic wear.
After they construct a brand, students create a stationary set, product line and storefront.
“It’s pretty much creating a company, only on the branding and marketing side,” MacDonald said.
Young Ae Kim, the Brand Identity class professor, stresses that the course is important because it shows students how graphic designers go about different projects.
“This class introduces them to what graphic designers are actually working on,” Kim said. “The Brand Identity (class) is a big request from the industry.”
Kim started Brand Identity at USD six years ago. She said the curriculum has continued to develop.
“This class is giving them a real taste of what the graphic design looks like,” she said.
The amount of work and experience from Brand Identity has given junior David Salanda Rico more confidence in his artwork, he said.
“I didn’t think (the class) was going to be like this but it’s so cool. It gave me more tools to use and the professor gave me constructive feedback,” he said. “My favorite part is the professor, the way she thinks is so helpful.”
MacDonald agreed that even though the class is challenging, it’s been a good way for him to develop his skills.
“It’s definitely an interesting class, but it’s also a terrifying class because of the amount of work that goes into it,” he said.
Brand Identity gives USD students an advantage when competing for internships or jobs against students from other institutions, Kim said.
“A lot of other institutions only require designing the logo and logo manual, whereas we have the logo and a whole portfolio,” she said. “We have students with full ranges in their portfolio. This is what employers much prefer to see. They want people who are ready to start working right away.”
This class has already given Salanda Rico more opportunities, he said.
“Already after sending my work to a business owner, I am already having businesses asking to buy my logo,” he said.
Students’ designs are hanging in the graphic design studio in the Warren M. Lee Center for Fine Arts and will be displayed at the Sioux Falls Design Center all through the month of November.
“We are trying to keep exposing our program up (in the) Sioux Falls general public and design community so that people understand the value of USD graphic design program and student work quality,” Kim said.