Archive for April, 2012

Student presents his ideas to team during this year's Let's Charrette, creative shoot-out, held during Kean College's Thinking Creatively conference.

Former ADCNJ President, Deborah Rivera, third from left, mentors her team as they compete in this year's Let's Charrette event during Kean College's Thinking Creatively conference. 

This year’s annual Thinking Creatively conference, hosted by Kean College featured the creative shoot out where students, studying graphic design, architecture and interior design, join forces to compete for bragging rights at the Let’s Charrette event.

Al Montagna's team presents their concepts.

Al Montagna, President of Small Earth Visual Communications, discusses concepts with his team. Sponsored by ADCNJ members, The Gruskin Group, for the third year in a row, the Charrette pitted ten teams composed of ten students, who design a retail environment, a product identity program, a multi-channel marketing campaign and product packaging with the guidance of a mentor from one of the cited industries.

Students present early ideas for approval from their team mentor, Jay Beispiel

This year, the product was a customizable sneaker, made on-demand, and the students had to create this experience for the consumer based on their own experiences.

ADCNJ Communications Chair and Gruskin Group Creative Director, Jeff Barcan advises students in their teams presentation.

Teams were given three-hours to develop and lay-out their ideas onto large presentation boards and then make a personal presentation to the crowd. Competitors learned the value of working as a team and the real-life deadline pressure to create a unified pitch, an invaluable skill that is not usually taught as part of the college curriculum of graphic design.

Ken Gruskin and John Weiman, center, discuss strategies for getting student presentations to be dynamic.

Join me as I interview the sponsors, mentors and students to delve into what we call creativity and how it can be wielded in many forms. And, of course, which team was judged the best.


Art Directors Paul Pullara and John Onushak discuss student work with Suzanne Giovanetti as they provide ratings.

Springtime is when all of the county colleges round up all of their creative artists and photographers and present their work.

This year, I joined a group of art directors at the County College of Morris to view the graphic design department’s student portfolio show.

The coordinator of the graphic design department is internationally recognized packaging designer, Steve Longo.

Eighteen of his students submitted their work for display in the CCM library’s gallery, where we would be able to experience the graphic design capabilities of these two-year students and the intense program they were graduating from.

A rubric, created by the college to help assess the quality of the student work being rated by ADCNJ members as well as other professional creative designers in attendance, just scratched the surface, as we, as a group, were impressed that the level of critical thinking and execution was way beyond what a normal two-year student’s work usually is.

ADCNJ member and package design professional, James Smith contemplates his score.

Attendees numbered around two hundred fifty and the food quickly ran out as students from other departments, parents, professors and industry professionals all professed a positive reaction to most of the work displayed and congratulated the graduating students on their accomplishments.

I managed to interview Professor Longo and a few of the other professional as well as other attendees to find out how the show affected them and to wring some advice from them for the graduating students trying to enter our industry.

Next year should be even more exciting as CCM launches NJ’s first two-year package design program and those students submit their work for this review.

Nicole Bucherer stands by her creative designs.