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Liberty News

Art designs by Liberty alumni reach shelves of major retail stores

October 26, 2017 : By Victoria Conner/Liberty University News Service

When shopping for stationery and other creative supplies at a number of national retail chains, one may very well end up purchasing an item designed by a Liberty University graduate.

“I can walk into Target or Staples and see my personal work — projects that I put so much thought and care into — on a shelf for millions of people to see,” said Cassie Vitale (’14), a graphic designer for ACCO Brands, a leading school and office supplies company. Her designs, seen on planners and calendars, are currently on the shelves of Target, Staples, and Office Depot.

Vitale earned a graphic design degree from Liberty’s Department of Studio & Digital Arts (SADA).

Her original artwork first hit shelves this year, with more products expected to release in the future.

“Getting that kind of exposure as an artist or designer so early in my career is hugely rewarding,” she said.

Another Liberty graduate, Haley McVey (’16), has created stationery, cards and gifts for various companies, including Target, T.J. Maxx, Paper Source, and Pottery Barn, as part of her graphic design job at C.R. Gibson in Nashville. She graduated with a degree in fashion merchandising and interiors through the Family & Consumer Sciences Department (FACS) and a minor in graphic design.

Alumna Haley McVey shows off products she created that are available on retail shelves.“I was hesitant to try to enter the workplace in the field of graphic design with only a minor under my belt, but that minor prepared me in so many incredible ways,” McVey said. “Liberty’s graphic design program gave me strong portfolio pieces that allowed me to quickly find a job in graphic design and equipped me with the necessary skills to confidently enter into that job.”

During her time at Liberty, Vitale also gained design experience working for Liberty’s Marketing Department.

“I was fortunate enough to immerse myself in a Christian work environment before I graduated,” Vitale said. “It can be incredibly difficult to remain Christ-like working in corporate America; I have to go in every day with the attitude that I’m working for the Lord first and my company second.”

For both alumni, the impact that Liberty made on their lives and careers came relationships built with faculty and staff, who helped them develop skills and character.

“It gave me a great foundation in my education, knowing that my professors were invested in their students and put so much heart into teaching us,” Vitale said.

SADA graduates are consistently landing competitive jobs in enviable markets.

Ashley Froisland, who graduated in May, is currently working at Premiere Living Products in New York City designing various artisan storage products like baskets, fabric bins, and totes.

Froisland said in the Big Apple she is living the fast-paced life she craves.

“It’s thrown me into the industry and showed me what the design world looks like (firsthand),” she said. “It’s really pushing me toward where I want to be in the future.”

She said Liberty gave her the confidence she needed to be able to dive into her current career.

“I realized, through Liberty, what I was capable of,” said Froisland. “They prepared me to search for — and get — jobs where I could thrive.”

SADA chair Todd Smith is committed to training graduates to reflect God’s creativity and bring Him glory through their work as they impact the professional world of the arts.

“God, the giver of all ideas, is the unseen guest in all our classes,” Smith said. “We want to train artists and designers to be salt and light in this particular area of culture.”

And even as students, Liberty artists are excelling.

This summer, Hannah Pinkie, who graduated in May, won a coveted national gold award in the 2017 American Advertising Federation (AAF) Student American Advertising Awards (ADDY) competition for a Monopoly-inspired design project she produced for a class. Pinkie now works as a graphic designer at Alloy Research & Brand Strategy in Columbus, Ohio, where her work projects including environmental design — creating wall-sized designs as part of a company’s brand identity.

Read about other ways that SADA inspires creativity and encourages students to impact culture in the Fall 2017 Liberty Journal.

Liberty’s Department of Studio & Digital Arts offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)  with concentrations in graphic design and studio art, as well as a Bachelor of Science with programs focused on graphic design, studio art, and teacher licensure. SADA also offers a Master of Fine Arts in graphic design or studio art; the graphic design program is also offered online.

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