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One aspect of art is constant: evolution. Artists are always changing and evolving for the better. For two best friends, their companionship not only pushes them to better their work in graphic design, but it was initially formed through art.
Senior Eve Gustwiller didn’t always want to pursue graphic design. At first, she was set on interior design, but when she decided that wasn’t the right field for her, she began exploring other mediums of art until she found her love of graphic design.
Senior Jaime North knew she wanted to be in the creative field and do something profitable, and she felt graphic design accomplished those two things. She loved the flexibility of the medium and the fact that every type of business needs a graphic designer.
Gustwiller and North met at OU through graphic design their freshman year, but didn’t become best friends until junior year. They had a lot of classes together through the years as they studied imagery, poster design, icon development and branding, and the two are now working on their individual thesis projects.
Gustwiller’s thesis focuses on the personal growth of OU seniors on the Athens campus and the relationship of college culture to an individual’s respective college. She plans on creating a large-scale screen print of the words that the seniors give to her and will focus on projection and color to relate to the emotion of one’s experience. The most important aspects to her are the composition, the typography and the color.
“The biggest part of any graphic design project is how I show my work when it’s done,” Gustwiller said. “Showcasing your work properly not only does the project justice, but it puts the work into a realistic space and environment for people to understand the purpose.”
North’s thesis deals with Alzheimer's disease awareness and designing a related campaign. She plans to showcase it through a digital collage of posters and brochures with statistics. She also has personal family experience with Alzheimer’s disease that she wants to bring into the project. The most important parts of the project to her are typography and the collage aspect.
“I want to make it more of an awareness thing instead of a negative view of the disease,” North said. “Everyone knows someone who is affected by Alzheimer’s, so I think it’s an important project to put together.”
Gustwiller has watched her work get progressively better over the years, but she saw the biggest evolution through her rebranding project her junior year and her branding project her senior year.
The rebranding project focused on rebranding a product to make it her own, so she decided to rebrand face wash. She downloaded an online background, photographed the product and branded the face wash with her own label. She tried to place the image of the face wash into the background to make it realistic, but she found it looked fake and she wasn’t as pleased with the project as she could’ve been.
Her frustration with the rebranding project gave her the drive to perfect her senior year branding project, where she created a fictional company. She found the perfect way to showcase it by using Adobe Photoshop and created an identity system of branding. She focused on the typefaces, the colors and found redemption in the branding project that she searched for her junior year.
“Though it’s graphic design with business cards and stationary, it’s also getting us to think about it in a large-scale way on an easier platform for people to understand,” Gustwiller said.
North has also loved watching her work progress over the years and, similarly to Gustwiller, saw her work improve in a big way from her rebranding assignment her junior year to her branding project her senior year.
For her rebranding product, she rebranded Kroger oatmeal. One of North’s favorite elements of creative design is collages, so she found a way to combine collages with typography. She used sandpaper on letters to create texture, scanned them into the computer and then pieced them together. Though she worked diligently, she didn’t like where the project was going and felt like the project was absorbing her.
North used her knowledge from the rebranding project to fuel the creativity in her branding project. Her fictional company, which went much more in-depth than the last project. She was able to really focus on creating the cohesiveness of her fake company “Away Adventure Company.”
“Through these two projects I learned that a brand needs to be cohesive,” North said. “It’s all about finding the balance between cohesiveness and the idea of branching out and being adventurous.”
Outside of the classroom, Gustwiller and North both had ample design experience. Gustwiller designed the Athena Yearbook her junior year and created some website imagery and in-office graphics at her internship with footwear retailer DSW, Inc. North spent her junior year as a graphic design intern at the Career and Leadership Development Center, and this year she is focusing on her graphic design internship at the College of Business.
It’s clear that the women both stay busy in and out of the classroom. However, through their hectic graphic design careers, they find that their friendship has gotten them through the workload and has helped them to evolve into the artists they are today.
“I’m so happy Jaime and I became so close,” Gustwiller said. “We always work really well together and we have similar work ethics. She’s such a great friend.”
“We really help each other by keeping each other grounded and we vent to each other a lot,” North said. “It’s really nice to have Eve in my major because we can talk to each other and go through the same things together.”