Conestoga news

March 8, 2024 3:44 PM

Graphic design students’ work showcased in immersive museum experience

Conestoga Graphic Design students saw their creativity projected over THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener at the opening of their immersive exhibition focused on water.

Conestoga Graphic Design students created the branding and immersive experiences for the new CURRENT exhibit now open at THEMUSEUM.

The new exhibition titled CURRENT is now on display at EYEPOOL, THEMUSUEM’s new immersive gallery. EYEPOOL uses state-of-the-art projectors by Kitchener-based Christie Digital to project videos and images seamlessly across the walls and floor of the 800-square-foot gallery.

The exhibit’s branding, CURRENT, was designed by Katia Jellicoe, Teagan Ruttimann, Hailey VanLeeuwen, and Alexandra Maurice and was chosen from 13 brand designs created by teams of second and third-year graphic design students. The teams also created unique immersive experiences based on the theme of water that were incorporated into the exhibition.

Vanleeuwen was awestruck even before reaching the space on opening night, held February 16. Standing outside the museum, Vanleeuwen saw CURRENT splashed over the outside of the King Street space. She peered through the windows and saw their branding on screens, and then inside more promotions including glossy pamphlets.

“It was a really fun, really unique feeling,” Vanleeuwen said. “It’s a first time that something I’ve done in this program has actually been out in the real world … It was a long process to get there, but that final product is super awesome and it’s just a really cool experience.”

The students’ designs began last fall when THEMUSEUM and graphic design faculty started working on the new exhibit.

Museum curators, marketing managers and technologists worked closely with faculty and students throughout the process, giving each team feedback on their designs - an invaluable real-life experience ahead of heading out into the workforce.

The museum plans to work with designers, artists, and post-secondary programs from the region and across Ontario to create new immersive experiences for EYEPOOL.

Jellicoe appreciated the challenge - starting with narrowing down an idea that fit the theme and then figuring out the cutting-edge technology.

“Because it was so open it’s hard to know where to start and there’s also new technology involved, which is a really great real-world scenario because we’re always going to have to be updating the software and our skillset,” Jellicoe said. “It was a really good learning experience and collaboration.”

The students created their water-inspired immersive experiences on computers, but that two-dimensional view was nothing like seeing it full scale as the moving images flow over all the surfaces in the gallery space. 

“It was really cool to see something that really exists in a more digital space, but actually see it projected in the real world,” Jellicoe said.

She planned another visit after opening night to really take in CURRENT when the exhibition would be less crowded, making it easier to become immersed in the space and see how the animation interacts with the museum visitors. The gallery has built-in sensors that create different interactions based on people’s movements in the room.

THEMUSEUM chief executive officer David Marskell welcomed the students and their guests at the opening event, celebrating the creativity and partnership with Conestoga and the college’s graphic design program.

“This all allows creative professional development for the students as emerging digital artists while being showcased to tens of thousands of guests who come to the museum annually,” Marskell said.

Conestoga's three-year Graphic Design advanced diploma program is recognized as one of the top design programs in the province. It employs a project-based learning approach that addresses design, digital content creation, communication, inter-personal, technical and enhanced employability skills.

The program is part of the college’s School of Creative Industries, which offers dynamic programs spanning all aspects of media, communication and design.