Student group project turns into promotional work for School of Design


A video created by a design class on campus has been chosen to promote and market South Dakota State University’s newly established School of Design.

Professor Cable Hardin’s Motion Graphics class received a final assignment last semester to respond to the prompt “School of Design.” Hardin, associate professor of Graphic Design, said this could have been interpreted in any way, as long as it used motion work.

“In addition to getting familiar with many basic tools, techniques and approaches involved in motion graphics and animation and motion pictures in general, the process involved a lot of research about what the prompt meant,” Hardin said.

This included online research, looking at SDSU and other schools and talking to teachers, students and professionals as well as studying existing motion graphics and animations.

The class divided into six groups with four to five people in each. Nathan Deis, a junior graphic design major, acted as the project leader for the chosen video. Katie Gebauer, Jordan Fox and Karen Eddy are also members of the group.

“We started by coming up with the concept for the video. What did we want this look like?” Deis said. “From there we worked on all of the text throughout the video for about a week.”

Then the group made a storyboard, notes of transitions, colors and time markers before moving into the Adobe programs to produce vector images. 

After weeks of editing and adjusting, they had a final video that matched their initial vision.

“It took about a month- and -a -half, or about 25 to 30 hours, to have the finalized School of Design video in .mov format,” Deis said.

Though this video was eventually chosen to represent the School of Design, Hardin said he did not assign this project with a marketing video in mind. In the final stage, some of the videos were more abstract reactions or contract pieces, he said.

Now that the class is over, Hardin said he feels as if the goals of the class were exceeded as many students had never animated or worked with motion or video before the class. 

“Student work is always best when it can exist outside of class and have a function other than simply earning a student the three credits,” Hardin said. “Not only did the class succeed and then some, but they have a fine portfolio piece and I hope they show it off some too.”

Knowing that something he helped make will be present on the future design community at SDSU gives Deis a great feeling, too. 

“It makes all of the struggles and challenges that we ran into worth it,” Deis said. “We put a ton of work into this video.”

The School of Design plans to use this video on their website as well as during junior and senior preview days at SDSU, according to Department Head Tim Steele.

Steele said using student work is a natural thing for design projects because students in the School of Design are constantly designing visual communication and graphic design.

“A motion graphics project seemed like a good assignment that could be researched, explored and designed on campus,” Steele said. “The School of Design is new so there are lots of opportunities for graphic design projects.”

In the future, the School of Design will continue to use student–produced work to support the larger marketing needs of the university. 

“And why not, students are very creative, seek new experiences and see marketing needs through new perspective,” Steele said. “In–house assignments give ready access to information and feedback.”

By using assignments to produce this work, Steele said students become prepared to work with external partners, secure internships and end up with high quality portfolios.