The Design Center has been an operating curricular component of the Graphic Design Program for almost 40 years. The Intern course structure offered in the Design Center is a unique capstone experience. Currently each student enrolls in Intern I for three credit hours in Fall semester and Intern II for six credit hours in Spring semester. There are 20 senior student interns divided into two sections. The Design Center is directed by one full-time faculty member, and is staffed with a part-time production manager, and an office associate during the academic year. The Center has a dedicated space with state-of-the-art technology and operates as a design studio in the practice.
Through the Design Center we provide a curriculum with goals for students to make the transition between education and practice in graphic design. While focusing on professional practice we maintain the philosophy of experimentation and design process. The students work with the creative director of the Design Center and focus on creative collaborations with peer student designers. By working on actual design projects from concept to completion they gain experience for their future in the design profession. They learn communication with clients, writers, printers, computer programmers for website and interactive design development, paper companies and others connected to the design and production process.
Projects are taken based on educational merit and the clients are from non-profit organizations in the University, Kalamazoo, and regional communities. We develop exciting partnerships with our clients who support our philosophy of research, analysis, exploration, and discovery that allows us to recommend a variety of design solutions for the intended audience. Clients do not pay a design fee but pay for materials, digital production, printing and any services necessary for completion of the project. Our partnership is based on an exchange with the community for students to gain professional experience and to build their final portfolio. Clients sometimes make donations to assist with our New York Professional Development Experience or for our equipment needs.