For more than 30 years, faculty and staff members from the School of Visual Communications have taken students to cities across the country to visit advertising agencies and creative firms to see and hear from professionals working in the fields they are studying.
This year’s trip in June took the group comprised of six faculty and staff and 21 students from the Visual Communications Collective student club to Indianapolis for the first time.
Ben Morningstar, graphic design student and VCC president, said last year they traveled to Chicago, but he was impressed with what he saw during this year’s trip.
“In Indianapolis, I enjoyed the pacing. Indianapolis holds its own. We went to some great places,” Morningstar said. “Both years I’ve come back I say, ‘Well, I know where I want to work.’”
This was the 33rd trip for School of Visual Communications Dean James McCullough.
“The goals of these trips are to show students the business-side of the graphic design, photography and 3D animation and to get them thinking about how they would fit into different work environments and different cities,” McCullough said. “For me, the highlight of these trips is when we get back in the vans after visiting a business and hearing the students react to what they saw and learned.”
The trips also serve as inspiration for the students and the faculty.
“I use it as a way to recharge creatively,” said Brian Caldwell, graphic design instructor and VCC advisor.
McCullough said visiting design firms and businesses can also serve as professional development for the instructors on the trip.
“Making connections, looking and seeing what the industry is doing outside the Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas markets,” he said. “You see what other people are doing, or maybe what they aren’t doing. It’s extremely important.”
Graphic Design student Abby Hogle said the trip broadened her mind.
“These trips get us, as students, exposed to what graphic design is outside of school. It’s really impactful to see what you’re learning and how it’s applied in the real world,” Hogle said. “It was interesting to hear how people keep their designs creative. I left the trip very excited. I was looking forward to the projects for this semester.”
For Alex Williams, a graphic design student, the trip may have been life changing.
“A few weeks before the trip, I wasn’t sure I would go on with school. That trip really changed my outlook. Graphic design isn’t just in this building on campus, it’s everywhere,” Williams said. “This trip was the best thing I’ve ever done at this school. It was really eye opening. I came back with a lot of inspiration. I came back and didn’t want to make anything mediocre.”