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MICA Students Gain Hands-On Experience as PNC Design Fellows

Local Nonprofits Give Fellows the Opportunity to Demonstrate the Value of Design

Posted 01.01.15 by MICA COMMUNICATIONS

Students Sheena Crawley '14 , '16 (Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Graphic Design, Graphic Design), Nick Fogarty '16 (graphic design), Jen Doyle '15 (graphic design) and Prescott Foland '15 (graphic design) expressed excitement after being selected for the PNC Design Fellowship for summer 2014. Crawley awaited the application opening for an entire year. "Once [Joseph Meyerhoff Center for] Career Development posted the application and the details about the fellowship, I applied right away," Crawley said. The program offers MICA students a paid eight-week opportunity to demonstrate the value of design through collaboration with local community development organizations.

The fellows partnered with FreeState Legal, a pro bono legal firm that offers services primarily to low-income members of Maryland's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, a coalition of corporate and civic leaders, partnering with businesses and philanthropic and institutional sectors to improve and expand transportation options in Central Maryland.

Crawley and Fogarty worked closely with the FreeState Legal's staff on projects such as a brand update, promotional video and Pride Kit. The kit, which was handed out at Artscape, Baltimore's annual free arts festival, included stickers, Mardi Gras beads, a condensed brochure, temporary tattoos as well as a water bottle all designed by the two fellows.

For Fogarty, the promotional video was the experience that stood out the most to him. The animation skills he learned, as well as the impact of the work, were very meaningful. "I immediately saw the benefits of doing the video. I saw donors and volunteers watching the video and getting inspired to volunteer their time or resources to the organization, which is something you don't experience in the classroom," he said.

Promotion at Artscape was also a part of the project for Foland and Doyle, fellows for the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance. During the festival, at the designated booth for the coalition, visitors often confused the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance with the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and provided them with feedback about the MTA. This occurrence led the duo to propose a new nomenclature to the organization: the Transportation Alliance. "Their formality is still the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, but we have encouraged them to adopt the name change. There's a lot of issues associated with the acronym CMTA that causes a lot of brand confusion with the MTA," Foland said.

MTA is a government run agency that operates the transit systems for all of Maryland, and the Transportation Alliance solely focuses on improving the transportation in Central Maryland. This distinct difference influenced the rebranding the fellows were assigned to do. "Their original logo was really government based. It had the Maryland flag and transportation icons so we wanted to branch off of that and find different ideas," Doyle said. The logo now includes a circular pendant showcasing all forms of transportation supported by the Transportation Alliance.

The skills fellows learned during their work were conceptual development, collaboration, client interaction, web development, critiques and time, project and budget management.

Both the Transportation Alliance and FreeState Legal provided the fellows with small studio space, which they found very beneficial. "Because it's such a small studio, you're kind of forced to do everything. So you learn every skill set you need to be a freelance designer," Doyle said.

Fogarty shared a similar appreciation, saying, "I had the chance to be a graphic designer, an art director and an production assistant; all these jobs I wouldn't be able to do at any other studio because I was on a small team. Working on this project, I could explore all the job titles."

The experience the fellows shared was often described as eye opening. "It's a very unique experience to get to do something that gives back and has a direct result to be seen almost immediately," Foland said.

Crawley described her transformation as "blossoming," adding, "My work and design approach prior to the internship was more timid, but now I feel more expressive and confident in my abilities and ideas."

The PNC Design Fellowship also offers a stipend, housing and academic credit. The program, now in its second year, is a partnership with MICA's Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development and Graphic Design Department, and PNC Bank.

Image captions: (top to bottom) (left to right) Kristian Bjørnard, faculty advisor, with PNC Design fellows Prescott Foland '15 (graphic design), Sheena Crawley '14, '16 (Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Graphic Design, Graphic Design), Jen Doyle '15 (graphic design) and Nick Fogarty '16 (graphic design); contents of FreeState Legal's Pride Kit created by Sheena Crawley '14, '16 (Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Graphic Design, Graphic Design) and Nick Fogarty '16 (graphic design); a condensed brochure that Crawley and Fogarty designed for their partner organization FreeState Legal; temporary tattoos, part of FreeState Legal's Pride Kit, designed by Crawley and Fogarty; materials created by Jen Doyle '15 (graphic design) and Prescott Foland '15 (graphic design) for the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance; a close-up of the keychain designed by Doyle and Foland; and Foland and Crawley work in studio during their PNC Design Fellowship (photos by Micah Wood '13 (photography).