CSUEB Electronic Art Seniors share their thoughts!

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Listen to your professors

During school, you soak in all of the information your professors, who have years of experience, choose to share with you. You can pay attention and listen to every word they say, but until you run into problems on your own, their lessons will not hold as much weight in your mind. For instance, while creating a project for the first time, you believe all you will need is one round of printing and then you’re done. In real life, that is just not the case. You’ve heard to your professors tell you, “don’t wait until the last minute to print,” or “you don’t want to be printing one hour before the due date, and realize that your margins are off.”  And yet, you can acknowledge that and immediately think: “that wouldn’t happen to me, I know what I’m doing.”

Words mean a lot coming from someone in the position to give advice, but it seems people in general tend to take those words of wisdom for granted. Coming towards the end of my college career, I wish I could tell my past self things like this. I’d tell myself to ask more questions, complain less, and to not take the time I have in college lightly, because it goes by quicker than imaginable.



Where Will I End Up?

Over the years of being in college I’ve been interested in many types of art. I initially began with an interest in web design, and later found myself more into graphic design as I became older. This led to me then questioning what type of graphic design I could see myself doing as a career. After googling the different career paths a graphic designer could take, and researching the skill sets needed and the income the various types of graphic design positions provide, I decided to give branding and packaging a try.

I now realize that branding and packaging is what I would love to have a career in. I enjoy making logos, business cards, letterheads, etc, and I figured who better to direct my product to than entrepreneurs with start up companies. I want to work with the ambitious business starters that are focused and determined on getting their babies off the ground. With this, I can be a part of something fresh and new every time, and can watch how it will grow from a seed.

Here is a sample of a package that I enjoy looking. I love how simple it is and its color scheme. I would like to create brands that look like this. design-branding-packaging-design

jack of all trades, master of SOME

Like so many CSUEB students, I am a transfer student who previously pursued a different major. I started college with a desire to be a traditional 2D animator, or to pursue the sciences (biology specifically). Over time, this grew and evolved into my love for Multimedia, specifically within photography and illustration. I think my earliest influence in terms of photography is Ansel Adams.  From a young age I was extremely interested in photography, and this is one of the first artists I was shown.


His work with wildlife photography is remarkable and truly inspiring to see. I hope to eventually have my wildlife photography featured in national geographic.

Another influence in terms of illustration and graphic design is the work of Teagan White. Her work combines detailed yet stylized illustration with typography to create a unique product different from mainstream design.

This final quarter at CSUEB has definitely pushed me further than I realized I could go and helped me greatly improve my work as a Multimedia major. I’d like to personally thank Suzy for being a supportive and innovative teacher with unique ideas personalized to each student, as well as my classmates for helping to critique and improve my work.




Art with a twist

What I’ve discovered in my time here at Cal State, East Bay is that I developed a strong interest in making interactive or dual-purpose designs using a span of different visual medias. Like many others, I learn and remember better with visual aids and hands-on practice methods.  I think they allow for a memorable experience that can resonate on a personal level. In my own work, I can’t help but add more elements to a single design and surprise the audience with the unexpected. Similar to my senior project in which the food packaging bag I made was more than just a material used to carry things, but it also transformed into an informative poster. I believe that every element in a design should serve a purpose for the user/customer, whether it’s to provide more information or to provide some form of convenience.

As I’ve mentioned above, I’m attracted to creating interactive style designs for different medias such as print materials, packaging design, and website design. The following are examples of work as well as resources I use to influence my creative process. is an amazing website that showcases the most creative work designed by an array of students worldwide. The design below is an accordion-style wine package that lets you squeeze out every last drop without having to cut open the box itself. It was designed by Veronica Kjellberg and Mila Rodrigues.


Here is another clever design from It’s a tin can for canned fish with a humorous comic-strip like design wrapped around the tin. It was designed by Darya Panasova and it was influenced by the Russian Idiom “Packed like herrings in a barrel,” which is comparable to the English Idiom “Packed like sardines.” The saying is typically referred to public transportation, so choosing a tin that resembles the shape of a bus was a clever choice.

Picture1 is an online web design and development company that recognizes and promotes the best of innovative web design. Developers such as ourselves can submit our work for recognition. Here are two websites that use parallax scrolling, which I’m a big fan of. It’s an increasingly popular web coding technique that can take your visitors on a journey about your product/work.







I Won’t Stop Illustrating

Before Graphic Design, There Was Illustration

I’ve always wanted to create fun and inventive graphics and for some time now I’ve really tried to implement illustration into everything that I do. Before I got into graphic design and the world of branding, I started out with a dream to become a illustrator/animator and like most aspiring illustrators I wanted to work for Pixar. After enrolling in a great animation/illustration program at a different college, I started to lose my passion for illustration. I don’t know if it was because of the long hours that I had to spend animating page-by-page on a light table or if it was because I just didn’t see myself pursuing that for my entire life, but I really just wanted to explore something new.

My roommate at the time was heavily involved in graphic design, and he really got me interested in the aesthetics of making digital compositions. As I began to gravitate more towards design, I found myself itching for opportunities to draw or sketch and I kept ignoring those urges thinking that,

“it’s not going to do anything for my design direction and I should be focusing on making typographic work.”

I was content with everything that I produced as a potential graphic designer and I brushed away my original passion for illustration. It was as if, with every project that I worked on, I lost a little more of that person who wanted so badly to work for Pixar and with every year that passed I forgot about all the fun that I had creating imaginative illustrations.

“I was trying to build a dam to stop the flow of all the adventurous illustrations that ran through my mind.”

But like the first drop of rain that hits your nose as you lookup into a gray sky, it hit me.

“What was I thinking, not doing what I loved to do?”

That’s when I started laying out all my cards on the table and finding sneaky ways to illustrate for all my projects. I found myself improving with other aspects of design the minute I started to satisfy my illustration urges and I had finally felt like I was doing what I really wanted to do. In the shortest way that I can put it,

“Don’t give up on the things you love to do, they’re the most beautiful reasons to pursue everything and anything that makes you truly happy.”

Below is a project that I did for school at the moment when I had finally realized illustration was everything for me.

do what you love to do.


My Inspiration, Aaron Draplin

1443470888405Some of my earliest memories are of sketching and drawing. I had posters of Diego Rivera’s painting on my wall in my bedroom, and I was even named after him. I grew up being encouraged to pursue my passions. This has helped me to try my best in the things I do and give it my all. I played a lot of sports growing up, but I was not the best athlete. I would watch sports on television, but what would happen is that I would draw during the timeouts and commercials. I would draw my favorite athletes and the team’s logos. I would create fictional sports teams and create jerseys and logos for them. I did not realize it at the time, but I was create brand identities.

Today, my biggest passion is still branding and logos. We see them everywhere, and they help communicate a visual language. Sometimes when I see a bad logo, it makes me cringe and I wish I could fix it and do a rebrand for that company. Someone whose branding I really admire is Aaron Draplin. He is a no frills designer, who doesn’t take himself or his work too seriously. No lines are wasted, his brand work is direct, clear and effective. His work stands out against other brands because of its boldness and strength. There is a confidence and skill in being able to edit good design down to its most necessary elements. I think he has mastered this skill and it is something that I have tried to work on now. So, when I am working on a project I ask myself is this element necessary? Does it add or distract from the message of this design?

Here is a interview with How Design that I found really interesting.




At a very young age, I loved Graffiti art. Being raised in an area where it was prominent everywhere you went, I naturally grew a fondness and admiration for it. It wasn’t until later in my teenage years, where I started practicing graffiti. I went out to different spots with my illustrated stickers and would place them everywhere I passed by. Bus stops, abandoned buildings, the back of street signs etc. etc. were usual targets for me to brand myself as a prominent artist. It was in a way, guerilla marketing tactics.

deansunshine_landofsunshine_melbourne_street_art_graffiti_obey-6Around this time I started really looking at the works of Shepard Fairey, who would form what would be known around the world as OBEY. The iconic Andre The Giant face, created by Fairey and plastered anywhere and everywhere, captured my imagination. I would ask myself, how’d he do that? The minimalist design of the face caught my eye because of its simple aesthetic. The simplicity of this poster and sticker were far more effective than any other overly complicated poster with a ton of stuff incorporated in it. It was one of the first times I ever really began to think about the world of Graphic Design. It was also the first time I began to find the connections between the world of graffiti and the world of Graphic Design, that would eventually inspire me to pursue my career in it.




“Story is King”

Inspired by Animation |

“I have always been inspired by the world of animation because of the complexity of creation that defines the process of making an animated film. The process challenges the preconceived notions of what creativity is because it’s a world that combines: science, technology, literature, art, the human experience, and everything else that exists in the world around us.

There exists an incredible variance across the history of animation, and across dominant mediums of animation like: traditional cel animation, stop-motion animation, and computer animation. (Of course there is incredible variance amongst those categories including: 2-D computer animation, pixelation, claymation, etc.) But each process includes incredible innovation of technology, art, and story-telling. All of these come together to create powerful and moving stories.

Film is incredibly powerful, and it’s well understood that people are influenced by the media they consume. Animated films have the ability to transcend reality and capture very real stories and emotions that are integral to the human experience. Animation functions in a medium of storytelling that appeals to our visual and auditory senses and is able to handle abstract concepts that may not translate as clearly in other mediums of film and visual art. I am inspired by the creation of animated films, the stories behind them, and the stories of the people who create them. This affinity inspired the ePublication “exploranimation” for my senior project, and ultimately inspired my career path into production management in animation.”

– Shiann Hallinan

Three films that inspire me:

+ “Ratatouille” (Computer animated film, 2007)

I find the story of this film beautiful because its’ emotional core goes beyond cliche paradigms. The main character isn’t caught up in a romantic relationship, the goal of the main character isn’t to “win”, and the story doesn’t boast the traditional “happily-ever-after”. *SPOILER ALERT* In the end, Gusteau’s restaurant is shut down, and Ego (the food critic), who believed in the talent of Remy (the rat/main character) lost his job and all credibility. But, the beauty in the story is that the characters continued to do what they loved and their definition of success didn’t hinge on running “the finest restaurant in Paris“ or being a “well-respected critic“.

In terms of technology, I am a huge fan of physics/simulation. The technical components of CG animation are intriguing, and I love the science of how Pixar’s research division has continually challenged the possibilities of computer rendered images.


+ “The Iron Giant” (2D animated film, 1999) 

The Iron Giant is a beautiful film because of the way it balances comedy, action, and emotional depth. It highlights the human condition of being pre-disposed to “fear of the unknown” (or fearing what you don’t understand). *SPOILER ALERT* The film has a heroic moment at the end, but ultimately the “hero” is presumed to have made the ultimate sacrifice, (until it is revealed later that it may not be the case). However, there is no moment of “reuniting joy”.


+ “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (Stop-motion animated film, 1993)

This film is important to me because of the moral dilemma’s being presented, as well as the emotional appeal of feeling like you don’t belong or need to be someone else to be appreciated. The story additionally challenges the perception of “good” and “bad”.

Beyond the story, I have a particular soft-spot for practical effects, stop-motion, and shooting on film. Newer stop-motion films do not maintain the same integrity of utilizing practical effects and creating the film “in camera” (rather than in post production).



How We Tell Stories

I can’t think of things that inspired this project. I sort of drifted on the idea of creating a short story that took place a sort of dystopian society where two worlds separated by a huge wall of politics and indifferences which would soon come crumbling down. I had so many ideas for this project, but I can’t think of anything to truly pin point my inspiration for the story.


When thinking about how I’d go about designing the characters and the setting I tried to think back to every animation I’d ever fallen in love with. I found inspiration is many short films and episodic tales.  I felt drawn into the flat designs of Samurai Jack and the lively stop motion film, “Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Where story and image connect

A few years ago, I saw a few movies that changed how I looked at story. First, a 2012 film, “Wolf Children” directed by Mamoru Hosoda. This film was both stunning and heart breaking. Second, “The Girl who Leapt Through Time,” a story of time travel. Lastly, “Barefoot Gen” (need I say more). Although each film is vastly different, each on offers me a very different connection to how I feel stories are told.


In the end —without quite knowing it, I piece together stories that tell more about what I’ve been though and less about what I like or what inspires me. I am simply telling my own story through twisted lenses and scribbles on a paper. I find meaning of my film through the resiliency of my existence.





One awesome teacher was all it took

A long time ago, before I was a student at Cal State East Bay about to graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Arts with an emphasis in Graphic Design, I was someone who liked creative things and had an eye for art. I had a high school computer class with a teacher named Mrs. Ayotte. She had us create menu designs for a made up restaurant and other fun projects, but what really made me get into graphic design was when she had us create a new Google header based on something, for example when an important inventor’s birthday comes up or its the 50th anniversary of something they have a design with the Google name on the main google search page. For my project I actually created a Flintstones version with all the characters and made them integrate with the Google which she had us enter into the alameda county fair with our designs and I actually received 3rd place in that category! This teacher not only allowed me the creative freedom and showed us that we could  use them and apply for contests, but she helped me outside of the classroom.

Being the first in my immediate family to go to college, I was not prepared on how to sign up for classes and apply for college. Being completely new at this I had mentioned it to my teacher because I also did not know what classes I wanted to sign up for. She advised me to sign up for art classes in graphic design and pursue what I have been working on in class. Which pushed me to become the artist I am today, but not only did she push me to sign up for graphic design classes, she took it upon herself to wake up early and sign me up for those classes at the community college I was going to go to. To this day I am so appreciative of my teacher Mrs. Jane Ayotte for showing me this world and pushing my creative mind to make the art that I love to do today and helping me with my educational journey.

Thank you a million times over for inspiring me, I do not think I would be in the exact place that I am now without you.

In graditude,

Stephanie Romano



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