This past summer, RMCAD graphic design students in GD 4020 Experience Design were challenged with rebranding and redesigning the entrances of two art studios at RMCAD. Professor Alicia McKim divided the class into two teams to enhance the student experience in these campus spaces.
The course strives to teach students how to create environments that connect on an emotional or valuable level to the client or end user. “Experience Design is a great course for students looking for practical application of design skills. It teaches more than graphic design – it teaches human centered research, client relationships, logistical thinking, managing a budget and spatial visualization,” shares Laura Shockley, Team Two student.
In previous years, students have worked with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Broncos, as well as completed the Lego Wall and augmented reality VOID Mural on campus.
To start off the project, the teams observed and studied the studios and made note of the environments and external factors that would influence design decisions. Studio I, located in EPIC and a part of the music production program, was assigned to Team One, while Studio II, the Texas building photography studio, was given to Team Two.
After making initial observations, both teams researched and interviewed students and faculty to gain a better understanding of wants and needs for the spaces. Students described Studio I as unwelcoming and wanted a more interactive experience, while Studio II needed a bolder design with a clearer purpose. For faculty, brand identity was important along with more student and program recognition in both spaces.
With observations and research complete, it was time for the teams to pinpoint their main overarching goals for the project. Team One focused on creating a welcoming and informative environment for the music department, students and campus as a whole. Team Two landed on wanting to create a more dynamic design that highlighted the photography program and also encouraged student exploration.
From there, the teams moved forward with brainstorming studio names and creating logos. “I would have to say my favorite part of the project was being able to create a logo design for the music studio,” says Kyle Schwartz, Team One student. “We worked extremely hard on pinpointing a name and the logo we landed on consists of an equalizer graphic with a subtle silhouette of a mountain landscape.”
With brand identity solidified, it was time to start sketching the layout and new design concepts for the spaces. The newly named Rocky Mountain Sound Lab landed on a final design that incorporated a circuit board design with a listening section for students to hear recent work from the music program. “I hope students will notice that they also have a chance to create something for the school if they feel like something is missing or if there’s an area that could use an update,” says Oscar Ambriz, Team One student.
Team Two’s Light Box Photo Studio added screen-printed technical camera graphics, incorporated custom vinyl and an interchangeable student photography display. “It was rewarding to see our concepts materialize from ideas on the screen to an entire hallway,” shares Benito Lopez, Team Two student.
Overall, the art studio projects were a huge collaborative effort across the graphic design department, TechBar and RMCAD Facilities. A big thank you to all who helped bring these remarkable designs to life!
*This story was updated and edited for clarity and brevity.