Collaborating with artists
Graduating students at RISD have traditionally had an opportunity to contribute to the design of their graduation ceremony in various capacities. When I joined the team in 2015, our process was to select a Graphic Design student to create aesthetic and thematic guidelines, while providing operational and production support for the 10-15 pieces of collateral they would have to produce. Over the years I pushed the team to shift our approach to engage in more creative dialogue with the students and work with a wider range of departments at the school. In 2018 I collaborated with an Illustration student and tried to push the campaign into a warmer, more organic space. Our collaboration in 2019 with photography student didn’t work out due to a lack of clarity on our part around what we wanted his photographs to convey. 2020 required us to completely rethink our approach, as everything had to be virtual, and we asked students to contribute to a heartwarming video where they talked about their time are RISD. The students we’ve worked with have consistently brought fresh perspectives to a repetitive project, and have pushed our work to exciting new places, and in turn we have provided them with an educational space that gives them a lens into the profession. Our decision to build a solid infrastructure for the design files and website allows us to focus on bringing the students’ visions to life.