Keep it Real - Capstone 2020
Like every other university design department reacting to reality in this new remote paradigm, the Oregon State University graphic design program has pivoted in short time to a fully remote delivery of its senior capstone projects. Capstone is a relatively new tradition at OSU and has only been part of the curriculum for five years. It has quickly become an integral part of the experience for B.F.A. students, and has resulted in some very impressive personally-driven projects by these emerging designers.
Students are given nine months to concept, research and execute a design project of their choosing, with very few boundaries. Struggles to manage a project as open-ended as this are expected, and frequently result in robust, thoughtful outcomes that serve as pinnacle projects in each student's portfolio. Appropriately, the showcase event, typically held during Dead Week of spring term, has become a celebration of their success as well as a time for alumni and supporters to rally around each year's graduates and wish them well as they exit the college world to start their careers.
COVID-19 interrupted this process after six months of steady work on the part of the students, leaving them with 10 weeks to rethink and rework their deliverables for an all-digital paradigm. It didn't, however, dampen their ambition to make something special happen in the face of some real adversity. Couple the media change with many seniors being forced to move suddenly, change jobs, lose structural support systems, and have to figure out how to use Zoom, and the projects being delivered shine even brighter.
The OSU GD program has used this opportunity to develop a new program website (launching June 5), and to produce a live stream Capstone event under the theme "Keep it Real." The 34 seniors are creating short videos explaining their projects, which will be run during the live event alongside special messages from alumni, features on the faculty members, and even a graphic design trivia game wherein audience members can win fun prizes. This online event will happen during the same timeframe that had been reserved for their showcase event in Portland, from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. on June 5, 2020.