by Elana Spivack
The classic stereotype of the art student — straight out of a John Hughes film — might be a shaggy-haired youth with paint-spattered jeans, contemplating a canvas. Kenyon Designers, a group in the process of applying to become an official club, challenges that image and proves the artist can also be hunched in front of a computer screen.
Derek Dashiell ’16 conceptualized the group after realizing Kenyon had a large, untapped design community, consisting of everyone from gamers to coding masterminds. Dashiell, a gamer himself, initially wanted to create a game jam, in which teams of one to four people design and engineering a basic video game within 24 to 72 hours, working off a given theme. However, he saw there was an even greater need for a creative outlet for designers.
“As I was talking to people about the gaming community, I realized there was a lot more of a design community,” Dashiell said. Kenyon Designers will combine the creative and the technical, the painters and the coders.
Sam Whipple ’16, a friend of Dashiell’s, saw another untapped opportunity when Dashiell approached him in early August with his idea. He realized many campus organizations would look for students to create designs, such as signs and logos, and while the design group would serve to cultivate interests, it could also create products for other groups. According to Dashiell, the club’s advisor, Associate Professor of Art Read Baldwin, said clubs would email him for designs, and he would simply forward the emails to the art department. Now, Kenyon Designers hope to be a resource for clubs regarding their design needs.
Ideally, the group will meet every other week and hold in-depth discussions about different themes, or hold tutorials on different tools such as InDesign and Photoshop. Members will be encouraged to share independent projects. Drawing from experience on his WKCO show “Non-Sequiturs with DJ D,” Dashiell also hopes to start a podcast, publishing conversations with experts about design.
Neither Dashiell nor Whipple is a design expert, and they are the first to admit it. Dashiell underscored the importance of teaching and collaboration within the group. Once the group becomes more cohesive, Dashiell will invite knowledgeable students to lead tutorials. “People will still find value in both learning and teaching,” he said.
“Collaboration is even more important than one person teaching another,” Dashiell said. “The conversation would go both ways.” While Kenyon Designers might not produce something tangible such as a magazine, they hope to sate the curiosity of new designers and enrich students’ knowledge.
Whipple said there will be many methods of collaboration, but stressed that everyone can contribute something and participate in discussions regardless of their skill sets.
For now, Whipple said he hopes to get the word out to attract all the design aficionados who have been work- ing on their own and allow them to get involved in a bigger way.
Kenyon Designers’ first meeting is scheduled for tomorrow at 4 p.m. in NCA 11A.