The Eastern Design Group had the opportunity to work on the projects for Commercially Licensed Co-operative Kitchen, Inc. (CLiCK) and the Windham Region No Freeze Project (WRNFP). CLiCK provides essential service to Windham/Willimantic to grow the community's economy. In order to develop designs for a set of three brochures for CLiCK, my students conducted their field research in the shared use commercial kitchen, talked with the culinary entrepreneurs, and photoshot firsthand pictures. The three brochures included CLiCK's General Info brochure, CLiCK Commercial Kitchen and Teaching Kitchen brochures. Through researching the targeted audience, analyzing the strength and weakness of the existing organization's promotional materials, the class concentrated on creating a new bold professional image which presented CLiCK's devotion to the vitality of the local economy and the health improvement of the local community. The whole set of brochures helped CLiCK highlight their commitments to offering shared use commercial kitchens to farmers and entrepreneurs seeking to create food-based businesses, and to improving the health of our local community by teaching gardening, culinary arts, nutrition and other food-related classes.
In the project for the Windham Region No Freeze Project (WRNFP), the Eastern Design Group class created a brochure and poster for this Willimantic based non-profit agency dedicated to the survival of homeless adults in the Windham Region. The poster of Willimantic Warm Space served as a map, listing location info and schedules of the places that provide safe temporary shelter, food, clothing, hygiene and socializing area. During the working process, the students put tremendous considerations on functionality and accessibility of their info graphic design, because they could envision the efforts they made would really help the people in need. And their design work could save people lives, especially in harsh winters.
As part of these projects, students visited those organizations, met with the directors and staffs to get essential info about the subject, and talked with the organizers to further understand their needs and vision. Those community partners, Jean de Smet and Karen Gilbransen from WRI, Rachael Laporte, Rhoebe Godfrey and Valerie Nightingale from CLiCK, and Leigh Duffy from WRNFP also provided their insights and feedback to the students through class visits and emails. This entire experience gave our students an opportunity to observe and analyze real-world situations while improving their professional skills and learning from the reality. It also helped the students understand that there is a relevant relationship between their professional skills and role as citizens within their community.
Eastern Design Group serves as LAC Tier III Course for both DA&D of Art majors and Digital Media Design Concentration of NMS students. In this course, students produce professional design products for real world clients (most of them are local non-profit organizations) under the supervision of a faculty member. The class format and the way of each project set up intent to mimic a design agency's workflow which helps students gain further understanding of real world design procedures. Students will demonstrate the ability to engage in independent inquiry, apply critical thinking skills, communicate ideas effectively in oral and written form, understand the ethics of the design profession and be able to seek and apply new knowledge relevant to professional projects, and reflect upon their work as an outcome of their course work and their liberal arts education.
Two Banners which presented the Eastern Design Group students' work were exhibited in the Art Senior Show 2018 at Fine Arts Instructional Center gallery, ECSU.