A Recipe for Success
by Breanne Chandler
Graphic design graduate
From day one as a freshman in PCT’s graphic design program, I knew that in order to graduate, I would be required to present an original and high-quality senior project.
This project was to be the culmination of the theory, course work, and skills learned throughout the seven previous semesters, and must serve as proof that I was worthy of receiving my degree. The project would also be added to my portfolio and used when interviewing for jobs.
Through my years at Penn College, I became a dedicated customer of Le Jeune’s campus bake sales. With the delicious aroma of breads and baked goods in the air, it was nearly impossible for me to head to class without beelining to the sale before class. One day, I joked with (Chef Charles Niedermyer, instructor of baking and pastry arts, whose classes operate the Le Jeune Patissier sales) that he should have a customer punch card so students like me could earn free pastries. I told him that I would even design a card for him. At that time, my motivation for designing for the Le Jeune Patissier at the Market was purely centered on my small college-student wallet and my big appetite for sweets. Being a busy graphic design student, my free time was often filled with prepping for classes and projects, but I was hoping to deliver on my promise to Chef Charles.
During the fall semester of my senior year, Professor (Nicholas L.) Stephenson (instructor of graphic design) checked with me to see if I was honing in on an idea for my senior project. We started discussing my interests on- and off-campus, and he brought up the pastries I was always bringing to class. It was then that it all fell into place. Not only could I design a customer punch card, but I could create a complete rebrand for Le Jeune Patissier at the Market.
I met with Chef Charles to share my ideas and ask for his consideration of my project. While my grade would not be based on whether a client actually used my designs, I liked the idea that Le Jeune might be able to make use of what I was creating. My senior project consisted of new logo, menu, punch card, posters, and a website.
Throughout the entire semester, I was lucky enough to have professors that would provide me with feedback in and out of the classroom. Professor Keith Vanderlin (assistant professor of graphic design) took time out of his day multiple times to talk to me about the photography that I was doing for the project. I knew he wanted to help me achieve the best work that I could. I could never thank him enough for the time and knowledge that he provided to me.
Nick Stephenson had been my professor for many classes over my four years at PCT. He was able to get us to push ourselves past what we thought were capable of. I learned so much about graphic design from him. He appreciated all forms of graphic design, which made it easier for us to explore different types of design. I feel lucky to have had him as a professor.
This project also taught me how to interact with clients. I was able to have conversations with Chef Charles about what he was thinking for this project and then to go through the end stages meeting with Anna Miller (marketing and communications specialist for the School of Business & Hospitality) and Brian Walton (assistant dean of business and hospitality) to see if they were going to accept my project.
Our professors have been looked at as being tough and very critical at times, but it is now that I look back at my time at PCT and realize what they were really doing. They pushed me to have high expectations for myself. They taught me how to bounce back after receiving negative critique of my work.
A month after graduation, I was extremely lucky to be able to land a job in my field. I work for Avēsis Incorporated, an insurance company in Owings Mills, Maryland. I work directly with the creative director making designs for print and the web. I never planned on having an in-house graphic design job, but I truly love what I do. The PCT graphic design program prepared me for the multitude of projects that I have worked on and been a part of at Avēsis. This program made it an easier transition for me into the work world because I could feel confident that I had the tools to succeed in my job. I am definitely a proud Penn College graduate!