The 2019 graduating class of the Sault College Graphic Design program displayed their best work at their graduate exhibit show, entitled Designers Block, for the public at a free admission show Friday.
Held at the Sault Ste. Marie Museum, the show was held in partnership with FutureSSM, supported by several local sponsors.
The artists, six females and one male, organized the show as one of their Sault College Graphic Design program requirements.
“I believe, firmly, the way you think affects your mood tremendously, and you can transform the situation you’re in just by thinking about it in a different light,” said graphic design grad Miranda Leonard, speaking to SooToday and sharing her views on art.
Leonard has designed renderings of billboards with the direct messages of ‘You Are Unhappy,’ ‘You Are Miserable,’ ‘You Are Angry’ and ‘You Are Annoyed,’ with the objective of getting people with those feelings to confront them and change them.
“The reason I started designing is because I’ve always loved art, but when I figured out I could help people solve problems with art and change lives, that really sold me on it and I’m going to keep going on this path. I feel art is for me,” Leonard said.
“Toni-Marie (Grisdale, Leonard’s fellow graduate) came up with the name Designers Block for the show,” Leonard said.
“We wanted to take a different spin on the negative connotation of the word ‘block,’ or ‘blocked in,’ so we’re saying 'this the Sault Ste. Marie Museum, it’s in the downtown, so this is our designers block for the night.' It symbolizes where we are tonight.”
“We did a site visit to the museum, and they’re having a 70s exhibit, there are seven of us, and seven colours to our show. It fits into place,” Leonard added.
Six of the seven grads are Sault natives, with the exception of Khushali Contractor of India, who discovered Sault College Graphic Design online and moved to Canada to take the program.
“I want to stay in Sault Ste. Marie. I love it here, except for the winters,” she smiled.
“I like illustration. You are free to create and innovate. I don’t think in any other field you have that freedom,” Contractor said.
A highlight of the show was a Sault Ste. Marie traffic signal box painted by graduate Alexa McGregor, one of nine traffic signal boxes painted by the students, a joint project between the Sault College graphic designers and Future SSM as a beautification project and a way to deter graffiti.
The seven students officially graduate in June.
The Sault College Graphic Design graduate show has been an annual event for the past 20 years.
“They’ve worked hard. Graphic design isn’t easy. There’s a lot of problem solving. You have to understand your audience and your client’s needs before you even touch the computer and start designing,” said Frank Salituri, Sault College Graphic Design professor.
“These students have really harnessed that process and their decision making skills improved dramatically over the course of the program.”