On April 27, graduating students in Conestoga’s Graphic Design program hosted their annual year-end showcase at the Tannery Event Centre in Kitchener.
The event was named “22” -- a nod to the 22 students set to graduate -- and welcomed family, friends, members of the Conestoga community and industry partners to view student portfolios.
The portfolios were a collection of the best work completed by students during the course of the three-year program and included illustrations, photography, web design, editorial and packaging.
Among the pieces in Sam Merino’s portfolio were packaging and branding concepts, a world textile calendar that featured illustrated typography, and posters he completed as a freelance project for Conestoga’s School of Liberal Studies to promote various elective programs offered by the college.
Before coming to Conestoga, Merino worked in sales and often spent his spare time drawing. When colleagues noticed his work, they urged him to pursue his talent; he turned to Conestoga when he learned the Graphic Design program was well respected.
He said he took a risk and left his job so that he could provide a better lifestyle for his family. He is from El Salvador and is now the first person in his family to graduate with post-secondary credentials.
“Talent without passion and drive is worthless,” said Merino. “I’m living proof that you can do this.”
Erynn Hayden had a similar journey. She completed the program while raising three children and operating her own esthetics business. She came to Conestoga without a graphic design background and has appreciated the chance to explore her creativity in a setting that has been welcoming.
“The faculty is unbelievably supportive,” said Hayden. “This is a really tight-knit group and we work through our challenges together.”
Merino and Hayden both said the showcase was a celebration of their three years at Conestoga, but also a chance to network and share their portfolios with potential employers.
Conestoga’s Graphic Design advanced diploma program employs a project-based learning approach that addresses design, digital content creation, communication, inter-personal, mechanical, technical and enhanced employability skills. Throughout the program, students engage in a collegiate environment with dynamic studio projects for both in-class and live clients.
Visit the program page for more information.