A liberal arts education at Grove City College allows you to explore your interests with both breadth and depth. In this series, you will meet GCC students who are discovering their passions, pursuing their interests, and customizing their education as they pursue their desired careers.
One day during her freshman year of Grove City College, Grace Leuenberger (’16) was feeling creative and designed a poster for an upcoming theater production on campus. Her brother, who was an actor in the play, was impressed with her design and encouraged her to show it to the director. Soon afterward, Grace landed a job as the Public Relations Crew Chief for the show.
This first poster design began Grace’s passion for graphic design.
Over the next two years, Grace became more involved in theater and put her newly discovered skill to work in the theatre program through various forms of publicity and advertising. She designed posters for plays, worked on social media for theater productions, recruited volunteers, became a student director, and even wrote and performed her own One Act play.
In order to gain more knowledge and experience in graphic design, Grace supplemented her communication studies and English classes with design courses such as Intro to Design, Interactive Design & User Experience, Printmaking, and Visual Communication Design I.
“I took Intro to Design with Nate Mucha and that was a really great foundational overview for me,” Grace explains. “That was really great because there is structure to be learned and there are principles of design that are foundational…I also took a web development design course called Interactive Design & User Experience. I really loved that course because it involved the strategy behind design and then it involved carrying out that strategy and making it into an aesthetic piece. I really enjoyed that course because of how many areas of the brain it used, because I do enjoy the design but I also like solving problems and planning projects.”
In addition to advertising for the theater program, Grace has also been able to apply her interest in design to other organizations on campus and in the surrounding Grove City area, such as the Career Services Office, Orientation Board, and Olde Town Grove City.
At the end of her junior year, Grace wanted to find an internship that would give her the opportunity to be creative as well as give her valuable professional experience. She was able to pursue her creative interests in the corporate world through an internship at UPMC in Pittsburgh.
“I worked in the creative services department, which basically what we did was marketing and communication-related tasks that helped recruiters draw in people to apply for jobs and to work at UPMC,” Grace explains. “In that role, I did a variety of tasks so I did everything from helping create content and write blog posts to going out and going on video shoots and photo shoots. I helped do writing and editing for internal newsletters, I also did some extensive graphic design projects…I thrive on variety so that internship worked really well since I got to use different sides of my brain, both the writing side which comes a lot from the communication and English courses that I’ve taken, to some of the design principles that I’ve learned in Nate Mucha’s classes. All of that kind of coming together and colliding was really a good experience.”
Looking back on her experience, Grace says that Grove City College has a lot to offer to students who are interested in design.
“A great advantage of coming to a small school is that you’re going to have a plethora of opportunities to design. If you went to a big school for design, you’re going to be competing with tons of other people for attention for your designs, but here there are a ton of organizations and offices on campus that you’re going to be able to design for, so you’re going to develop a great portfolio of pieces by the time you graduate and you’ll have great things to take away.”
Samples from Grace’s design portfolio:
Learn more about the Department of Communication & Visual Arts here.
Learn more about the theatre program here.
To see more from Grace’s design portfolio, go here.