University of Wisconsin-Stout student Justin Schotz, of Wausau, expressed excitement that a resource card he helped develop in a graphic design class will help those in need of shelter, clothing and food.

Schotz with fellow student Alex Woo, of Greenfield, a freshman graphic design and interactive media major, created resource cards for Winter Haven, Menomonie’s emergency overnight shelter.

The students realized they could add to the cards by including information to locate the Stepping Stones of Dunn County food pantry, two congregate meals held at local churches each week and sites that provide clothing for those in need.

“It feels good to know you are helping and what you did mattered to someone else,” said Schotz, a junior game design and development major.

Cyndi Greening, an instructor in the School of Art and Design, and Hope Carroll, an assistant professor in graphic communications, had more than 40 students from their classes working together on the project.

Greening’s students designed and laid out the Winter Haven cards as well as resource cards for Stepping Stones of Dunn County and Women’s Way, a recovery resource for Eau Claire, Chippewa and Barron County residents. Students also designed posters, postcards and table tents for the Empty Bowls fundraiser for Stepping Stones. The cards will be handed out to clients providing information on Winter Haven, Stepping Stones and Women’s Way. The Empty Bowls materials will be used to publicize the fundraiser.

Carroll’s students printed and performed all bindery finishing touches to the designs.

Collaborative interaction

Having the two classes collaborate mimicked the real world and helps the students prepare for the workforce, Carroll said.

“That’s how it is in the industry,” Carroll said. “Production and design interact on a daily basis.”

Lars Everson, of Blair, a sophomore graphic communications major, said he found it interesting to see the designs the graphic design students created. A challenge, however, was to help graphic design students understand what it means to design for a finished print product and the importance of designing for cost efficiency.

Similarly, the graphic communications students learned from the graphic design students. Holding up copies of resource cards at a recent class, Greening asked the students to notice that the Empty Bowls tickets were different sizes.

“One of your jobs as designers is to make sure they are made right,” she said.

Designers must understand how their work is produced to create a better final product, Greening said. “We want to make sure they make things that are beautiful and work,” she said. “In order to get them to work they have to understand how they are produced.”

Real world projects

Katherine Dutton, executive director of Stepping Stones of Dunn County, said having students design and produce materials helps them learn and helps Stepping Stones get information to needy residents of Dunn County.

“We have a minimal public relations budget, and any way we can save costs is important because we can put that back into programming,” Dutton said.

Heidi Hooten, shelter coordinator for Stepping Stones of Dunn County, said Woo and Schotz came up with the idea to add more resources to the Winter Haven cards. “It was a great idea, and they did a really good job,” Hooten said.

Greening pointed out Women’s Way plans to use the resource cards and poster developed by students right away.

Jacob Zahn, of Kaukauna, and Gavin Muehlhauser, of Prior Lake, Minn., both first-year graphic design majors, worked on the Women’s Way resource card. They both said they were pleased the resource center liked their design.

Freshman graphics design major Kate Elwood, of Cloquet, Minn., who worked on creating tickets for the Empty Bowls event, said she enjoyed working with students in another major. “It was hands-on,” she said. “We got to collaborate and work within the community.”

Emma Favill, of Brookfield, a freshman graphic design major, who also helped design Empty Bowl tickets, said she liked working on a real project that would be used in Menomonie. “I think it is great we have the actual experience of doing a real-world project,” Favill said. “It gives us experience before we graduate and get a job.”

To learn more about the graphic communications major at UW-Stout go to www.uwstout.edu/programs/bscmgm or the graphic design and interactive media major go to www.uwstout.edu/programs/bfagdim.

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Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.