Well, I made it. After a lot of sleepless nights, even more coffee, and eight of the most stressful yet mindblowingly fun months of my life, my first year at design school is in the bag. It’s crazy to think that a year has already gone by, and with it an array of projects that have truly helped me to further myself as both a designer and a human.

This Bachelor of Design program has continuously pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone and learn more with every day that passes. It’s interesting for me to see how my abilities have progressed throughout eight short months; things like photography, web and app design, and product packaging were all areas in which I had little experience prior to starting school, but now feel much more comfortable in and excited about. I’ll keep the writings minimal on this post, and just give some quick descriptions of a few of my favourite works from second semester.

Joschka Goes to College

Design School Year 1 Recap


Visual Design is a class focused on defining and understanding the process behind design, and putting those concepts into action through a wide spectrum of projects. One group project dealt with the idea of design thinking: in essence, the process of designing to solve a particular problem. Our group chose to tackle the issue of lacking transportation options for Conestoga College students. After compiling research and honing ideas, we developed a concept for a mobile app we called Hitch: an online community which would match compatible commuting students with each other and serve as a carpooling organizer to minimize overcrowded parking lots and painfully long bus rides.




There was a lot of opportunity this semester to work with real world clients in correlation with school projects. Another Visual Design project was to work with a client to bring his emerging tech company to life with a brand name and visual identity system. The overall goal of the client was to introduce a new level of audio quality to market that is superior to any existing competitors. In short, the company aims to “bring humanity back to music.” Drawing inspiration from the origins of music in ancient Greece, the warmth of the brand personality and the company’s position in a primarily Asian marketplace, I created a logo and system of graphics that was used across various print and digital platforms.




I also worked with the downtown Kitchener movie theatre Apollo Cinema on an environmental branding project, in which I created a large visual graphic for the theatre’s lobby that portrayed its roots and message as a company. A map of the downtown Kitchener streets represents the theatre’s close ties with the local community, and each section is divided into different classic and contemporary movie posters.




In Typography class, I designed a new website and online store for Have Hope Apparel that featured its product range as well as upcoming concerts and the company’s sponsored artist roster.




Also in Typography, I designed and created an eBook that featured a compilation of existing articles about typography around the world. This project was a lot of fun because it allowed me to combine my love of travel and hand lettering into a robust collection of digital page layout designs.




One of the year’s largest projects was redesigning spec sheet layouts for the gearbox manufacturer Santasalo, and creating a packaging container for the sheets to be presented in. An incredibly tedious process, this project allowed me to really hone my efficiency in Illustrator and InDesign, two programs that I was pretty terrible in prior to starting.




An ongoing project throughout the semester in my Entrepreneurship class was to first pitch an idea for a startup business, and then progressively build a brand and business plan for it that could be implemented in the real world. Together with two of my classmates, we created an online wedding planning service called We Do.




In Studio class, I created a fictional brand of Scotch called Friar of Fife that paid homage to the origins of whisky distillation in Scotland. The brand story was featured throughout the bottle’s packaging, which I then photographed and compiled into a brand literature book for my Photography class final.




This semester’s Photography class really helped me to bring out more of my capabilities as a photographer. I learned different techniques for studio lighting and subject posing, as well as how to create detailed and intriguing product photos.





The semester final for Visual Design was to design and build an iPad app with a full portfolio of work. It was great to learn how to use InVision to create realistic mobile applications, and subsequently see my portfolio come to life in a digitally interactive setting.




That’s all for now! More school updates coming in the fall when year 2 begins.

Related posts: Joschka Goes to College: The First Month of Design School

One Response

  1. Margaret says:

    Well done, my nephew!! You honed some excellent skills!
    Keep on designing!

Leave your comment