“AIGA Student Day is exactly the boost in morale, the spark for passion, the motivation to move and so many more cliché inspirationals that a senior graphic design student like me needs as motivation to finish strong. Senior year, for me, has been the most stressful and creatively draining times of my college career. I have questioned my career choice, my ability and my sanity more times than is probably healthy. AIGA Student Day reminded me that I’m not the only crazy creative out there aiming to change the world every horribly kerned logo at a time. Having the opportunity to see what can be done with the tools we are being given reminded me why I chose graphic design in the first place.”
– Destani Joy, Arkansas State University senior
On Friday, September 22nd, approximately 40 design students from multiple universities attended the annual AIGA Memphis Student Day. This year’s event was again in downtown Memphis where powerhouse agencies Archer Malmo and Red Deluxe – each rich in agency culture, name recognition, and awards – allowed students to tour, absorb, ask questions, listen, see work, and even pet a few dogs.
AIGA Memphis has organized Student Days regularly for almost a decade, sometimes twice a year. Memphis businesses that have helped include Loaded For Bear, Combustion, Oden, AutoZone, RocketFuel, and Harvest Creative to name a few of the more recent. Each time, students are inspired as each imagines him/herself after graduation. The schools involved this year were University of Memphis, Harding University, Arkansas State University, and Memphis College of Art. Past years have also included participants from Delta State University and Southwest Tennessee Community College. Every year, reactions are similar to that of Arkansas State University’s MaKala McIver:
“This was my first experience with AIGA Memphis Student Day, but I’m so happy I went. Getting an insider’s look into two influential design shops in Memphis, Tennessee, was really an eye opener for me…I am grateful that AIGA Memphis is conscious of and supports their students.”
The day began at Tamp & Tap as students gathered and were split into two groups. 20 went to Archer Malmo and 20 went to Red Deluxe. After meeting for lunch at Aldo’s, the groups switched shops.
Each agency supplied an official presentation of the company’s capabilities, how it works, and substantial examples of stunning client work. Tours helped students meet people and see where and how all the magic happens. Sometimes answers to student questions led to even more student questions, each answered so that the complement of creativity to business was fully understood.
The day convened back at Tamp & Tap where students grabbed delicious caffeinated beverages. A few creatives from each shop were kind enough to meet up with the group and give more one-on-one answers to questions and just talk. As student Lexi Herring stated,
“I think it gives me an edge up on all the other recent grads who weren’t able to get the experiences that I got that day.”
The trip was also informative for some students who had never been to Memphis, let alone any city. As one such student explained,
“Great people, great work environments, and all around just a great city. The experience was fun and I have every intention of trying my hardest to become a staple in the graphic design community. Also, though it was my first time going to Memphis, it definitely won’t be my last.”
AIGA Memphis Student Day 2018 will be another great event and any university students or professors who would like to receive an invitation should contact AIGA Memphis Education Director Nikki Arnell (firstname.lastname@example.org). There are no destinations set yet, but the event is sure to be one to remember. As Sophia Hedge, also from Arkansas State University, explains,
“As a senior, this opportunity was incredibly beneficial. I have been anxiously going back and forth between what I wanted to do with my degree. Touring these agencies solidified my want to work in a full-service advertising agency. The environment, type of work I would be doing daily, and the potential to become an Art Director all fell into what I see myself doing in the future. It was excellent to see the way an agency functioned on a daily basis and helped drive me to focus on what I want to do after college and eventually become, which is an Art Director. AIGA Memphis Student day was exceptional!”