NIC alum offers scholarship to graphic design student

Lila Smith remembers what it's like to be a student. After all, it was only a two years ago that she was sitting in the studio chairs in the North Idaho College graphic design program, struggling to make ends meet while trying to focus on school.

“When I was a student, clients would utilize the program for designing logos and graphic images for their companies and offer incentives to the student with the winning design,” Smith said. “It was great experience, but also rewarding to know that there's something in it for you.”
Smith, a gymnast since the age of 2 who started coaching gymnastics at 16, recently fulfilled her dream of opening her own business, Silver Stars Gymnastics on the Washington peninsula in Poulsbo.
Although she's only coaching about 30 students for a total of eight hours a week, Smith is spending up to 80 hours per week organizing the startup of the gym and expects to have up to 150 students by next fall.
With her background in graphic design, one task she looked forward to was creating the company's graphic identity. But other more pressing jobs continued to arise leaving Smith with little time for design.
“I could have done it, but I knew I wouldn't be able to put in the proper time and thought needed to create the logo and other graphic elements for the company,” Smith said.
So Smith decided to go back to her roots and offer the same incentive to the current NIC graphic design students that other companies had offered her.

She approached NIC Graphic Design Instructor Philippe Valle with the idea to ask students to design Silver Star Gymnastics' graphic identity in exchange for a $500 scholarship offered to the winner.
“Opportunities like this are crucial for students to gain practical experience,” Valle said. “It was just amazing to me to have a former student return to the program and present our current students with this project.”
Eight students designed logos and submitted them to Smith, who was looking for a versatile design that could be used on staff and student t-shirts, office materials, signage and mats. Students presented their logos to Smith, describing why they chose the specific elements of their designs.
“I hope it was a little easier for them to present to me, knowing that I know exactly what they're going through,” Smith said. “But this is the real world and it's not just about the design. It's the whole package, including their dress during the presentation, their professionalism and reliability.”
Smith chose student Matt Brazee's design, a piece with combinations of purple and silver in the typography as well as in the graphics of a star and gymnast.
Brazee, a second year graphic design student from Post Falls, is now working to complete the graphic elements needed to complete the company's graphic image.
Surprising Valle as well as the other students in the class, Brazee then announced to the class that he is working with his father, the owner of River City Day Care, to present an incentive to the class for the design of a graphic identity for his company.
Students will begin working on that project later this spring.
“I can't stress enough how important this real world experience is for these students,” Valle said. “And to see the experience and scholarships offered by our own former and current students just shows their commitment to the profession and to the program. The cycle just keeps going.”

For More Information
NIC Graphic Design Instructor Philippe Valle, (208) 769-3426

Posted: Friday, March 25, 2005

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