Graphic Design Students Rock JWU Equinox Concert Promotion

The team during a design consultation meeting with Assistant Professor Julie Viscardi-Smalley.

11/12/19 | Do graphic design students at JWU have fun? Just ask Shawn Updike ’20, Timothy Nugent ’21, Erin Young ’20 and Nathan Spinetti ’20, also known as the Forward Design team, who for the last few weeks have been designing the graphics to help promote the JWU Equinox: Blend the Sounds concert.

“My favorite part of the project is right now,” says Updike. “Seeing everything come together as the trimester winds down. Was it fun? Of course it was! Why else would I do this?”

Was it fun? Of course it was! Why else would I do this?

The group of graphic designers met with students from the SEEM 3060 Concert and Event Production class, the team in charge of putting on the fall concert, on a weekly basis to go over design concepts and ideas. In the end they produced more than 30 components to help promote the concert, including the event’s Equinox logo, posters, banners, stickers, access passes, backdrops for the concert hall, animated ads for social media, handstamps, wristbands and more. 

JWU graphic design students Shawn Updike, Nathan Spinetti, Timothy Nugent and Erin Young pose for a team photo.

According to Spinetti, his team initially met with Assistant Professor Julie Viscardi-Smalley to go over the requirements and deliverables needed. “We met every Tuesday to discuss the progress we had made on designs, and the progress of the work they [SEEM] were making on their end,” he says. He adds that once the logo was complete, the team had around five weeks to complete all of the other work.  

Working on this project has been amazing. It’s been a breath of fresh air.

Spinetti, who along with Young served as the team’s project manager, worked on creating images and animated ads for the Equinox social media presence. “Working on this project has been amazing, our clients were very responsive and very dedicated to the work we are all doing,” he says. “Creating animated ads, rather than just still images, let me use my knowledge in After Effects, which is different from all of my other print and web work — it’s been like a breath of fresh air. Using their bright color palette and unique concepts made it feel as if it was a real-world client.”

Posters designed for the JWU Equinox concert.

Animated ads created for the event’s social media.

For Young this is project marks the first time she’s worked as part of a team of designers in a Design Solutions class, which made it all fun. “The [focus] of this project, a concert, is very enticing since music is something that I thoroughly enjoy. Honestly, to design for a concert event was a dream for me. I also believe that we were very lucky with our client being so responsive and equally excited about our end goal,” she says. She adds that the SEEM class decided on one of her designs after a few rounds of discussions. “My role for the designs was giving general feedback on all design work, making sure everything was cohesive and on brand.” 

Honestly this was a dream to get to design for a concert event.

This class experience has also given the students on the team an opportunity to interact with clients at a different level. “My favorite part of working on this project was interacting with the client and showing off the major ideas and concepts,” says Nugent. “Through working with them, I learned more about what it is like working with professional event teams; incorporating their ideas with our own and learning more about music industry design and production.”

Students working on a banner for the concert.

Assistant Professor Viscardi-Smalley agrees. “In the past, the students in the [SEEM] class would be responsible for designing and creating all of the marketing materials. During the past two terms, we've partnered with the graphic design students and this has been a game-changer. Now, the students in SEEM 3060 have the opportunity to participate in design consultations with the design solutions team, and also may now spend more time strategizing and executing a marketing plan. This is so much more closely aligned with the real-world experience of concert promotion,” she says.

According to Viscardi-Smalley, her class is half dedicated to the theory and principles of concert promotion and production and half dedicated to the planning and execution of a real concert event. Her students are charged with the tasks of scouting and hiring the talent, assessing the venue, planning the production elements, creating the theme of the event, designing the event, hospitality needs, food and beverage, safety/security, ticketing, sponsorships, artist relations, university relations, marketing, event execution and post-event evaluation. 

To say that I'm impressed with our Design Solutions team would be an understatement.

“To say that I'm impressed with our Design Solutions team would be an understatement,” says Viscardi-Smalley. “They are able to listen carefully to the SEEM 3060 students' ideas and then create professional quality designs that have been well beyond our expectations. This has been incredible. I've already told them that they should look for graphic design internships and jobs in the music industry!”