The Kids Are All Right

Everyone is getting excited for Design Week Portland and AIGA is no exception! Two workshops, two talks, two days, headlined by some of the biggest artists working in graphic design —Tim Goodman, and Dana Tanamachi. AIGA Portland offers an explosion of typography: a collection of classes and practices that will help you create, build, network, energize your career, break the rules — and joyfully get away with shit – and we are thrilled to bring these opportunities to Design Week Portland 2016. Additionally, we wanted to celebrate not just the existing design community in Portland, but also those who are emerging on the scene.

We called upon the Design Arts students at Pacific Northwest College of Art to lend their fresh creative ideas to help promote these shows. The Design Arts department at PNCA is comprised of students majoring in illustration and communication design – two disciplines that intermingle and blur as the students progress through their education and careers after school. Design thinking and illustrative storytelling are at the heart of the student experience, and by the time students are in the Advanced Studio course in the final year of their studies, they are developing their portfolios to compete in a job market and professional path that’s likely to continue to blur these lines. As students in both these practices near graduation, the need to master both visual and verbal storytelling grows. Dana and Tim’s individual creative practices offer a unique and relevant educational opportunity supporting this need.


“Timothy Goodman and Dana Tanamachi have opposing approaches when it comes to hand lettering — sharpie and chalk, permanent and ephemeral — but they also share an interest in nostalgia and playfulness.”

Amy Meyer, Communication Design major

Kristin Rogers Brown, Assistant Professor of Illustration at PNCA and Art Director of Bitch Media, and Thomas Cobb, Assistant Professor of Communication Design at PNCA and Senior Art Director at R/West, worked closely with with Seniors at the school. Students were asked to develop a range of creative directions for the AIGA board to review, and board members ultimately chose one direction for the students to develop into a final poster and other promotional graphics.

Students were asked to consider:

  • How can you interpret the work of another artist in your own style?
  • Do you borrow from the artists’ concepts, executions, or materials?
  • What makes a good poster design? How can that design be translated into other media?
  • Can you conceive of a graphic direction from the start that might be flexible enough to accommodate both artists? (The lineup for the event was not yet confirmed at the date of the assignment.) Or, would you start with one creative professional as initial inspiration, then bend the concept to include the other?

Students all submitted comps for the poster, and design students also included mood boards and concept statements. Submissions ranged from the serious to the whimsical, some drawing more on typography and others more on imagery. Some were inspired by the topic, some by each designer’s process. With the exception of photographs or drawings of sharpies, no one theme prevailed.


“I was familiar with both artist’s works prior to the project, but this gave me an opportunity to dive into why I like their work and apply those elements to my own design.”
– Marlowe Dobbe, Illustration major

The winning poster design was created by Marlowe Dobbe, an illustration student finishing up her thesis year at PNCA this year. When asked to speak on her process for the project, Dobbe answered, “The struggles were definitely based in the challenge of emulating the designer’s work while still keeping true to my own style. The way I approached it was in the materials that both designers were known for. I practiced a lot of mark making – something I do often in my own illustration practice — but I used chalk and sharpies, so that I would be referencing the specific designers.” Dobbe cited Timothy’s flat yellow color and Dana’s bright gradients as sources of inspiration. The project offered a special opportunity for the students to work with professional designers who they’d never met before. Dobbe enjoyed having an open conversation with AIGA’s Communications Chair, Joanna Papaleo, about the brief, design feedback, and geeking out on non-design subjects like video games. “The collaboration was great! I got to show Joanna in progress work, and we developed the poster and the assets together, and I got feedback from the AIGA board throughout too!” said Dobbe.


“Posters have always been a huge inspiration for me in terms of text and imagery, yet they’ve been mostly absent in my portfolio until recently. This was a great opportunity to fill in that gap and sneak in a little experience.“
– Colin Laurel, Illustration major


“I knew I wanted a lot of detail, so I allowed myself to spend a lot of time just doodling.“
– Mareika Glenn, Illustration major

Jax Ko, Illustration major
Forrest Grenfell, Communication Design major


Participating Communication Design students:

Final poster design by Marlowe Dobbe, Illustration major
Read more about Typefest at Design Week here.
By Kristin Rogers Brown & Alicia Nagel
Published April 10, 2016
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