All of the Arts require an audience. Visual Communication Design also requires an audience, however, the designer must also design according to the constraints and considerations stipulated by the client, which makes the choices of the designer a careful weave of their own creativity and the restrictions decided by others.

Design Club was initiated to offer St Catherine’s School students the opportunity to design for a client in a real design context. What more challenging client could there be than the staff, Marketing department and Principal of their own School? In recent years, Design Club has flourished under the tutelage of Ms Lilly Dusting. The billboards and posters for MAD Night, School productions, music events and the like, are of such a high quality that it can be hard to remember that the design work has been created by students because they want to experience the process of working for a client and seeing their design ideas fulfilled. Mrs Brigid Weereratne, Head of Arts believes “Design club gives students a first hand experience working through a client brief to achieve a ‘real’ outcome for the promotion of School events, rather than the designs they develop in class. It allows them to demonstrate the skills learnt in class and they love seeing their work displayed on billboards and posters.”

Inside of the design curriculum at St Catherine’s School, students learn to manipulate, develop and refine their design ideas through the design elements and principles and various media. They have a fictitious client, however, who conveniently seems to ask the students to design in a style that is suited to their interests. Design Club therefore offers extension for students interested in design because they are experiencing design in a real life situation.

For all communications, two design solutions are required of which one is chosen. Students are asked for various edits and must think about how their design can be applied to various carriers such as a billboard, email signature and poster or invite. While there the is no age limitation to Design Club, students must have learnt the industry standard software used, Adobe Illustrator which is taught in detail for the first time in Year 10 Visual Communication Design. The process of working for a client, working to a deadline and receiving constructive feedback is challenging, and Ms Dusting has found that this rigorous process is best suited to students in Year 10 and above.

Sabrina Reinke, designer of the visual communications for the 2016 play, Hating Alison Ashley believes it took herself and Madison Quinn over 10 hours to complete the design work. She also said, “Design club offers me the opportunity to practise techniques I have learned in class, get experience working with clients and working with a brief. It also allows me to experiment and find my design style. Apart from noticing the little mistakes or annoying details you may see once your design is enlarged, it is such a great feeling having your work up for everyone to see; and I love hearing people talking about it. The satisfaction and joy that I get from having my work used and displayed also helps me realise that this could possibly be a career that I would really enjoy.”

Already in the short few weeks of 2017, Design Club member Chloe Page, has produced Debating Club posters and Bridget Lieberman composed a billboard for MAD Night to be held at St Catherine’s School on 21 March 2017. The MAD Night design brief required that the design showcased Music, Art and Drama (MAD) and an abstract, tonal painting by Charlotte Fortey was chosen for its beautiful colour qualities and skillful refinement of technique.

Wherever possible, original artworks from St Catherine’s School students are used as the descriptive element of the design. Bridget was new to Design Club and offered her design ideas for the first time which can be challenging for a student. The Visual Arts staff are committed to supporting students who are willing to present their work in the public arena and meet often throughout the process to offer advice and support. The Design Club members also support one another, the debate about the best typeface is often fiercely defended as they share ideas and skills.

Over the upcoming months of 2017, have a second look at the billboards, posters, invites and other visual communications used by St Catherine’s School. There is a very good chance they have been designed by a student you know and showcasing an original artwork by a current student that you might also know. The quality of the work is outstanding.

Mrs Vicki Marinelli, Art Teacher