Graphic Design students create posters for theater productions


Bill Simos facilitates collaboration in his Graphic Design class; graphic design students compete for clients; Arabian nights poster by Lettie Valavanis

Creation in collaboration.

Designing show posters for ETHS Theater productions give Graphic Design 3 students a chance to showcase their talent and gain para-professional experience.

Graphics Design teacher Bill Simos explains that the goal of this collaboration is to mimic a professional setting as much as possible. He wants to teach students that, like in the professional world “you don’t have total freedom, rather you have to design based on what your customer or your client wants.”

“The whole idea of iterations is incredibly important,” Simos says. “The process more so than the final product. We treat each situation like it’s a professional project.”

Designers rarely work as a solo unit these days, as there is often a whole team they have to learn to collaborate with. Critiquing as a class allows students to get advice from both the teacher and their peers, allowing them to “get other student voices involved in their ideas.” Simos emphasizes that his involvement is minimal, crediting his students with the majority of the creative and technical work.

Design students begin by meeting with the show’s producer, or the ‘client,’ who explains what they would like. After the meeting, students move on to ideation and brainstorming. Once they create thumbnail sketches and narrow down their ideas, students have a chance to critique with the class and with Simos, after which “the final sketch becomes like a blueprint for the final design.”

“The most successful students are the ones who recognize that the first planning stage is the most important part of the design process,” Simos says. As an art department, Graphic Design is trying to be a bigger part of the mainstream culture in the school. “These posters advocate both for the department and the classes.”

So far this year, sophomores Asher White and Lettie Valavanis have had their designs chosen. Simos explains that there is a competitive vibe in the room, but mostly everyone is helping each other do their best work. And some students, like senior Crea Taylor, have had their work chosen twice.

“When I walk around the school’s halls or downtown Evanston and see my student’s posters, I feel proud of my students for getting their work out there,” Simos states. In addition to local exposure, students can use their designs for portfolios and self publication.

Simos explains that they actually have to turn a lot of requests down, but says that anyone who wants pieces designed should contact graphics club. For more information, contact Graphics and Drawing Club in A330.