WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Aug. 23, 2017 — West Liberty University recently changed the name of one of its art majors from Graphic Design to Visual Communication Design. The new name reflects changes in the business of branding and shows the impact of technology and its influence on design thinking.
“Our art students are being called upon to do much more than simply create visually attractive pieces. They are expected to be critical thinkers, great communicators, and problem solvers. We have actually been teaching these skills for several years, but the new name better reflects the depth of the skills needed for today’s workplace,” explained Associate Professor James Haizlett.
A good example of the complex nature of today’s graphic design world is evident in the annual WLU outreach to non-profit groups and startup companies in the Ohio Valley needing pro-bono design services. Students take on significant projects that involve design work from conceptualization to final product.
“For the past 19 years our design students have assisted hundreds of non-profits and startups with logos, posters, brochures, billboards, book covers, presentations, signage and websites. It’s a perfect service to our community and a chance to gain vital real world experience for our senior students,” said Haizlett, who coordinates the program.
Haizlett is most interested in helping non-profit groups who do not have the funds to hire professional design services.
“It is totally free to apply and the design work is free. The only cost to participants is for the actual production of the work, such as print materials, and website hosting. This project allows us to better teach students that they can use their talents to bring quality artwork and design into public places, making the Ohio Valley a more beautiful and interesting place to live and work,” he said.
Past projects have ranged from websites to signage, brochures, logos, booklets, and branding needs.
“Having real world experience is so beneficial for us senior students,” said Megan Bumgardner of Parkersburg. She also interned this past summer for the Department of Environmental Protection in Wheeling.
The non-profit outreach program depends on the response of local groups and Professor Haizlett asks that interested organizations contact him to receive an application via email at [email protected] as soon as possible since applications are now being received and work will begin soon.
The Visual Communications program is just one of the majors offered in the College of Arts and Communication and for more information, please visit WLU’s Visual Art webpage at westliberty.edu/art.