Graphic design students offer real-world solutions to local businesses
Cambrian College will celebrate the fruits of student creativity and labour at a special one-night exhibit on January 30 at the Open Studio.
The Voucher for e-Business (VEB) project paired third-year graphic design students with locally-owned businesses to optimize their online presences by developing websites that met their unique objectives and needs. Projects were completed in December and students received course credit, as well as a stipend. The Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) supported the project with a $25,000 grant.
"Knowing that I was able to deliver a website project that will help a local business was very empowering,” says Tim Yeung, who developed the website for Classic Finds, an antique and collectibles shop on Regent Street. “Overall, VEB and Cambrian College provided a rewarding and fruitful learning experience, and I'm grateful to have been part of it.”
Sean Grant, a graphic design professor who helped spearhead the project, says the experience proved invaluable for students.
“One of the most valuable experiences is the opportunity to work directly with a client,“ Grant says. “The classroom can simulate this experience, but let's face it, we're navel-gazing – graphic designers celebrating and critiquing graphic design. Without the client, we become the chef who only makes food for his friends, never thinking about what our customer may actually want or need. Being a graphic designer is about more than making things pretty. It's about helping clients work through unique problems. This is difficult to teach without a real-life client.”
Sheila and Robin Osborne, proprietors of Classic Finds, found out about the program through mutual contacts. They thought it would be a good way to increase exposure for their shop and by the end of the project, the Osbornes had given their freshly-baked site two thumbs up.
“It was a pleasure to work with Tim; he was very professional and took the time to explain things we didn't understand,” Sheila says. “He made sure we had fabulous photos that represent what we carry, and he conveyed our passion for all things old through our new site.”
Eleven students took part in the project, working with businesses as diverse as Sweet Yarns, Soucie Salo Safety, Volunteer Sudbury and Stack Brewing.
The exhibition of websites takes place Thursday, January 30 at the Open Studio, 93 Cedar Street, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Opening remarks take place at 7 p.m.
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Mary K Keown, Communications officer
(705) 566-8101, ext. 7587
Sean Grant, Professor
Graphic design program
(705) 566-8101, ext. 7862