Teaching Design Studio with Stephanie Nace

Have you had an on-going project or a client that you have worked with and grown with for over 15 years?

This is probably my favorite part of looking back at my growth as a designer and entrepreneur. As I learn I pass that on to my clients. I try new things and end up adjusting what I am teaching in the classroom.

This week we’re talking to my new friend, Stephanie Nace a professor at the University of South Carolina who has been running her business, teaching classes, and had a project that is always different that she teaches each year. 

How are you iterative? Is there a project or client that you can look back at year after year and see growth in? Tell me I’d love to know what it is and what you’ve noticed in your journey.

Episode 466 LIVE on Wednesday, April 17 @ 11:30am PT / 2:30pm ET / 7:30pm GMT / 9:30am in Hawaii.

Questions for Stephanie

  1. Stephanie, can you give everybody a little background about your journey in design and your career? 
  2. You told me you love teaching the Design Studio class. Why do you love it?
  3. As professors our schools require us to do “research” and for us research is client work. What types of projects do you love to take on?
  4. How does running a design business yourself inspire or influence how you teach the Design Studio class? Does it influence the types of projects you give to your students? 
  5. What kinds of projects do you have in this class or the other classes you teach that help students get a taste of real world projects?
  6. Why is teaching timeline and managing deadlines important but also hard?
  7. What kinds of things to you do to instill strong craft and inventive problem solving skills?
  8. Your love for craft and being a craft-oriented person has helped you in teaching design but also in your business in what ways?
  9. You and your class at University of South Carolina have been doing a poster for the common read for a long time. How did that get started and can you tell us about the tour the posters are on?
  10. What’s next for you?

You can always join us for the live taping experience and be part of the community. Come a little early and introduce yourself in the chat, tell us where you are located in the world and say hey!  

Listen here

Connect with Stephanie



[00:00:00] diane: Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of Creatives Ignite. I, I am getting back from Creative South. If you were at Creative South, um, I hope you had a great time and I was convincing my guest today to come to Creative South and she almost did, but she’s for sure gonna be there next year and I’m really excited for sure.

[00:00:23] So, so, um, we are both friends with two people that you work with, um, [00:00:30] Marius Valdes and Meena Khalili. And, uh, both of them have been on the show. And then, um, Marius was telling me about your a project that you worked on, and it’s one of the things we’re gonna talk about today. Most of the people here are not professors and some, I know Josh works at a university as a designer, but we.

[00:00:48] It’s, uh, a mix of people that are listening if you’re listening on the podcast after it’s recorded, but you can always come live. So Stephanie, I’m excited to have you [00:01:00] and, um, but a lot of people are gonna maybe connect more with your, uh, running a business, running a design business. But I also think there’s so many things that I have had some clients for a really long.

[00:01:15] Many years, 15, 20 years. And I know some people are like, oh, boring. But I think what you’ve done with this one project that we’re gonna talk about in a minute with that Marius was telling me about, I kept [00:01:30] thinking about it and I was like, it allows you to be flexible or explore when you have a project that’s repeated.

[00:01:38] ’cause you get to try new things as you grow as a designer, as an entrepreneur, or in just how you market. Um, so I don’t actually think it’s a bad thing to have the same thing. And it, yours isn’t the exact same and you’re letting your students, but one of the, uh, kind of overarching things is how you love teaching design studio.

[00:01:59] [00:02:00] Um. Yeah. And yeah, so, and you teach at the University of South Carolina, so USC means a lot different things to some other parts of the country than it does to you. So you’re in Columbia, South Carolina. But give us kind of an overarching of who you are, where you are, and what you do as a teacher, but also what you do in your design studio.

[00:02:23] Stephanie Nace: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate everybody’s time and being here. Um, yeah, so I’m at [00:02:30] USC University of South Carolina. I have been there for 21 years now. Um, and I’ve seen a lot of different roles like within the university and taught all the ranges of classes from the very beginning to our seniors, to our graduating class, to graduate committees and all of that kind of stuff.

[00:02:49] Um, but I thought that I would start with explaining how I got where I got. Um, so I’m just gonna share, uh, [00:03:00] I put together just a few slides to share to kind of explain this. Perfect. And this first one is where it started for me. Um, my grandfather was a commercial artist, which meant graphic designer back then.

[00:03:14] Um, but he used to hand letter tractor to trailer trucks. And he only ever used a yardstick and a paintbrush. And he would like never touch the paintbrush to the yardstick, but he would letter all these trucks. And as a [00:03:30] kid, he never said no to me. He would let me hammer nails in the boards and he would let me glue things and he would let me fill in these letters that were on the truck.

[00:03:41] So he would outline them and like move his ladder down the truck and he would hand me a paintbrush and say, stay in the line. And that was my only instruction was Don’t go outside. Like, how old, how old were you? I was like six or seven. Oh wow. And he had, you know, he had a lot of [00:04:00] grandkids and, um, my mom was from a big family and so.

[00:04:04] He just never, um, said, no, he didn’t, he didn’t mind us being there, which was awesome. And so, um, I would, that’s all I wanted. I just wanted to be with him because he didn’t care if I got messy. He didn’t care if I spilled anything or spilled anything on me. Um, and that was fantastic and I love that. Um, so that’s definitely, I had no idea what, you know, [00:04:30] typography was or what those letters were.

[00:04:32] I just saw them, you know, we would paint them and I would stand away from the truck and I’d be like, oh, that’s beautiful. I didn’t know. I probably couldn’t even read at that time. I don’t know. Um, but he also, he was the one that taught me how to read. So that was kind of like, he was very influential in my life.

[00:04:48] diane: Um, Paul, Paul says. Paul said, what an awesome instruction for a kid. I think. Yeah. Just stay in the line. Right. Just stay in the line. But what, how he was giving you lots of, he was giving you [00:05:00] time. Mm-Hmm. He was also giving you some freedom. Um, I love that. Okay. Keep going. So your parents? Yeah. And so he, he also 

[00:05:08] Stephanie Nace: did, he painted mascots on wrestling mats.

[00:05:12] I remember going with him to do that and install those or see those and um, you know, so like Bucknell University is really close to where he grew up, Ivy League school. And so I remember going to Bucknell campus as a kid with a, with a wrestling map, and then [00:05:30] all of this beautiful signage, which if you go to small town Sunbury, Pennsylvania, where my mom and dad are from a lot of the signage that is out on little mom and pop shops, it’s still my grandpa’s work.

[00:05:41] And he’s been gone since I was a senior at Penn State, so Oh wow. Um, so it’s still very cool to like see the craft of that. And so I think that I’ll tie that back in, but the craft of his work and. Seeing that at a young age made a big impact. But my parents were [00:06:00] always super supportive. My mom was very artistic.

[00:06:03] My dad’s an accountant, so not so much on his side, but he, my mom would let me color and paint and play with Playdoh and she would make us homemade, Play-Doh and I could eat it. And they just, again, they never said no to me. They just said, you know, if you wanna be an artist or if you wanna be a designer, if you think you wanna do this, then then do it.

[00:06:25] Let’s do it. Um, so I went to Penn State for my [00:06:30] undergrad undergraduate degree and I was never anything else than a graphic designer. I knew the minute I walked in the door, that’s what I wanted to do. Wow. Yeah. And I, I can’t even say that a hundred percent fully understood what that meant until I got into class and I was like, oh yeah, this is right.

[00:06:48] Okay. We did okay. 

[00:06:50] diane: But your parents knew what that was? I mean, for me, my parents didn’t know what graphics Sun was at all. 

[00:06:56] Stephanie Nace: Yeah. 

[00:06:56] diane: My parents 

[00:06:57] Stephanie Nace: knew that that was okay. And, [00:07:00] um, a lot of my high school teachers would tell me, oh, you’re gonna end up, um, in des in, um, art education. Like you, you will won’t pick like a fine arts or an arts field.

[00:07:14] You’ll be in art education. And I was like, I don’t want to be a teacher. I wanna make the stuff and do this stuff. So, um, so yeah, I went to Penn State. I got my, um, BFA in graphic design in 1999. Um, [00:07:30] it was, it was hard for me. I was probably, I always tell students I was a craft nightmare when I started. Like, I remember thinking, my professor’s never gonna me measure this square.

[00:07:42] Like, it’s never gonna happen. They have too much stuff to do. And, you know, I got that back, back that first project and probably had a C or lower and I was like, oh my God. So I learned pretty quickly that craft was gonna be super important to what I had to do, and [00:08:00] I struggled with it. Um, I would rework projects.

[00:08:03] Hmm. Probably to a point of making myself sick over it. But I, I realized like, this is the only way that this grade is gonna get better. And I wasn’t fixated on the grade, but I was fixated on getting better. Um, I also did not get into the graphic design program, which was only 20 students accepted at Penn State.

[00:08:25] My first try. Um, they had a summer review, so I had to go again. [00:08:30] Um, and so I worked between spring and summer and got my portfolio ready and, and entered again and got in. There was 20 I. I think 20 students when we entered and only 13 of us graduated because the rest either failed out or were kicked out.

[00:08:47] So, 

[00:08:48] diane: so what, so let me ask you this. So what kind at this point, I don’t know exactly how old you are, so I’m trying not to ask the age question. Yeah. Um, but like when I was in [00:09:00] school, we were all in the computer, but it was the first group of kids that were on the computer only. Yeah. We did have some classes that were completely handcraft, but it wasn’t, um, it was like sophomore level.

[00:09:16] Our students where I teach, we go through a review at the sophomore level at, after their spring semester, sophomore year. So when, when was your review? Was it after freshman year or? It was, um, [00:09:30] 

[00:09:30] Stephanie Nace: I. It was sophomore year. We took foundation level classes the first year, and then we took like graphic design one and two.

[00:09:37] Um, and then you applied. Uh, and I think again, if I, if I think back at it critically, it was probably still craft at that point while I didn’t get in, you know, and then, then I went back and we had to enter with. All of the work from Class Plus our photo work, I think, and I think it was probably my photo, black and white development, that kind of thing, that wasn’t spot [00:10:00] on.

[00:10:00] So I went home and worked on that and went home and probably just really cleaned up. I remember we had an accordion full project, and the thing was like huge and it all had to line up and I don’t know if mine did, so I fixed it. I was like, okay. So in a way, I think that taught me like, okay, you’re gonna have to work a little harder.

[00:10:19] For this. Like, maybe this is coming easy to some students, or maybe they’re just outworking you. And I didn’t like that. I’m pretty competitive, and so it was like, I don’t wanna be outworked. Um, so I [00:10:30] worked really hard and I got in and I stayed in, um, and I got into graduate school, and then I went to Kent State in Ohio and got my, did you 

[00:10:39] diane: know you wanted to teach at this point?

[00:10:41] So why go on to graduate school if you are already in your head, like, I’m not gonna be a teacher. When did 

[00:10:47] Stephanie Nace: you make that change? I did, um, probably junior or senior year, um, of Penn State. I, I said I want more, like, it was, it was a combination kind of thing. It was like, I want, [00:11:00] um, a different perspective.

[00:11:02] Penn State’s program at the time was very illustrative. It was taught, it was, it was very small then. And our, you kind of repeated professors over and over again. And so I was like. I think there’s more out there. Like I just wanted to see what else is there. And um, also the professors that I had at Penn State made us tough.

[00:11:25] They were not always the easiest professors. They were not, they [00:11:30] didn’t sugarcoat anything, which I can definitely appreciate. But I was like, Hmm, maybe I can teach this and there’s a different way to say it or there’s more to say, or I could explain it or, you know. So there was a lot of, still for me, there was still a lot of questions about design in general and design education, I guess.

[00:11:49] Um, and so I picked a school, I went to Kent State, which was completely different than Penn State, like Penn State’s, very illustrative at the time. [00:12:00] And Kent State is so Swiss that I was like, uh, understand what a grid is. 

[00:12:06] diane: And so, um, but that’s a good learning then if you didn’t get it in at, um. Undergrad than to get it in grad is great.

[00:12:16] Stephanie Nace: Yeah. And we did get it, but no one, like I said, no one explained it the same way. And so maybe it’s just hearing it a different way. And I think about that a lot when I teach is I can repeat the same thing, you know, 15 times and I [00:12:30] may not get everybody, but if I repeat it again differently, I might get someone I missed.

[00:12:34] Mm-Hmm. And so I think about that. Um, but um, so I went to Ken State and I had a completely, I mean it, when I look back at that time period, I feel like I probably exploded in conceptual thinking and learning how to be confident in my work and. Kind of knowing what I was good at and what I was not good at, [00:13:00] and you know, just trying to figure all that out, which is what, you know, grad school is supposed to be.

[00:13:04] Um, but I learned from an amu, an amazing group of, um, professors there. Jay Charles Walker was the head of the program there, and John Buchanan, Jerry Callback, and Eric May, those four gentlemen were instrumental in where I am now. Eric May, um, he passed away a few years ago, but he taught me about book binding and letterpress and calligraphy and hand lettering.

[00:13:29] [00:13:30] And it, to me was seeing my grandfather again. You know what I mean? Like he had passed by this point and. Eric was soft spoken and patient, and I could ask him a million questions and I could stand it over his shoulder and be like, do it again. Show me again. And he was so patient about all of that. And so he really made me fall back in love with making things Mm-Hmm.

[00:13:56] Um, and precision of book binding and precision of [00:14:00] lettering. Um, Jerry Callback was my illustration professor. And he was amazing. Um, he was more direct. He told me to never draw small. He said, you can’t handle it. Don’t draw small and don’t, ’cause you couldn’t or anybody couldn’t. I can’t handle it. Like I’m not good small.

[00:14:21] I’m like, I have to have the whole sheet. And so he literally gave me a notepad that was like, you know, probably 24 by 36, and he said, this [00:14:30] is your sketchbook. I was like, wow, okay. Um, so that was really great. And he also told me never to try and draw realistically. He was like, you can’t do that either. And I was like, oh, all right.

[00:14:42] That hurts a little bit. But it’s, it was true. You know, he just knew like, be expressive, be silly, be you and just do it. Um, and so I learned that. Um, and then John Buchanan invited me to Glyphic, which was the design studio at Kent. And that [00:15:00] was. I, it’s something that I’ve now helped instill in our program.

[00:15:04] And so it changed my education. It changed, um, how I learned to work with clients and all of that. So, so 

[00:15:11] diane: explain, just so somebody like Maya in Norway might not know what, uh, like, like doing a, what a design studio at a university would be like at, ’cause it’s as a class. Could you explain that a little bit?

[00:15:26] Stephanie Nace: Yeah. So it’s college credits for being in a [00:15:30] student led fa or student run, faculty led studio. And so you function as a regular design agency. We have real world, real world clients that, um, paid the studio. We as designers weren’t paid, but it funded the studio, which funded all the things we needed. Um, and you worked in there, I think I had maybe six to eight.

[00:15:55] Peers in design studio with me 

[00:15:57] diane: at the same level. Like they were all [00:16:00] grad students or were they No. Okay. We were, 

[00:16:02] Stephanie Nace: we, there were some undergraduates, some graduates, there was at least one student who had been, who had repeated and they were like the design studio, um, leader you could say. Like they were the liaison.

[00:16:16] Yeah. They weren’t 

[00:16:17] diane: repeating ’cause they were bad, they were repeating ’cause they were good because 

[00:16:20] Stephanie Nace: they could lead the 

[00:16:21] diane: team, right? 

[00:16:22] Stephanie Nace: Yeah. And so, um, yeah, so that was an experience for me that was, you know, you [00:16:30] were on your own, you had responsibilities, you had it a team that you couldn’t let down. You had clients that you couldn’t let down and you’re trying to balance your other schoolwork.

[00:16:39] So that really became, those were my people. Like we were there late at night. 

[00:16:45] diane: And because you had still to work within. The, um, semester system, right? Because it wasn’t like absolutely at the end of the semester, you’re not continuing to work on this project. You have people have to turn in a grade for you.

[00:16:59] So [00:17:00] was the teacher kind of deciding what projects would fit within that window at 

[00:17:06] Stephanie Nace: that point? Yes. We had certain clients that we worked with, they had established obviously relationships and I think that they probably knew, okay, well we can get x number of theater posters done in a semester. Clarion University was one of our biggest clients.

[00:17:22] We did all of their, um, we bulletin brochure ’cause like. Classes were still on books back. And so [00:17:30] they were our big money maker. Um, and then the rest of ’em, we balanced nonprofits in there too. And so that was a really cool experience. 

[00:17:38] diane: So explain that. So sometimes, um, it is, they’re taking, you’re taking on work.

[00:17:43] It’s, uh, usually it can’t really be advertised it, but at least that’s what, um, with a state institution, you can’t compete with a regular company outside. Um, but the, it is obviously people who are still [00:18:00] trying to, um, if, if they’re undergrad, there may not be, um, you know, they’re not done with all their schooling.

[00:18:07] So there’s some learning things might take a little bit longer, but they are, sometimes there’s clients within the university that come to the design studio, but then sometimes they are, um, was that other university in a local area? It was 

[00:18:23] Stephanie Nace: probably within like an hour radius almost. Oh, so that’s pretty 

[00:18:27] diane: far.

[00:18:28] Stephanie Nace: Yeah. But I don’t think they were, [00:18:30] you know, they were smaller. And so Kent had a design program. My guess is they didn’t have a design program, so we probably offered them a service at a discounted kind of thing. Um, you know, and they were getting good quality work and it was consistent and they had fresh looking, you know, covers every time and, and stuff like that.

[00:18:48] And then we did, we worked for, um, Ken State has a fashion program and we helped with, that was probably one of the funnest ones I remember, but we helped them put on their fashion show. And so we did all the graphics [00:19:00] that were in the back and projected and like loud music and lights. And I was like, this is the 

[00:19:05] diane: most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.

[00:19:07] So they would give you a budget. Sometimes they are paying, um, or let us tell us if it’s, they, it, are the students getting paid or they’re just getting credit and then the studio gets. Uh, equipment or they get students get to go to a conference or something, how would the pay go? [00:19:30] So, 

[00:19:31] Stephanie Nace: um, the studio was paid, the students got credit, but the pay went to making sure we had copiers and printers.

[00:19:40] We always had a really nice lunch at the end of every semester. Um, the refrigerator was always stock. Like there were, there were perks to it. And so you didn’t really care. Like, I never thought about, oh, I should be getting paid because the, um, experience was so mind blowing [00:20:00] at the time that I was just like, everybody should do this.

[00:20:03] Like, why isn’t everybody doing this? But you had to be invited. 

[00:20:06] diane: So it was in some schools, and I’m not sure what it’s like at your school, but sometimes it’s an application much like a, um, uh, like a directed study or something. Um, Mm-Hmm. But. In at your school, you did the three of y’all get to the three design professors, get together and decide who you’re gonna invite?

[00:20:28] Stephanie Nace: We did at the very [00:20:30] beginning, um, with our first group. And so this is still our first year. Um, but then because I’m faculty leading it right now, I sort of know the personalities a little bit better, and so I know who’s coming in and going out. So this, um, process then I was kind of looking for, okay, we need students to have some leadership.

[00:20:50] We need students that have this skill or we need this kind of personality. And so everybody’s trusted that I’ll just pick it correctly. And I’ve [00:21:00] actually, we reviewed portfolios the other day in Design Studio because in our design studio, those students have a hundred percent say in what we’re doing.

[00:21:09] And so I figured if they have a hundred percent say in what we’re doing, they have a hundred percent say in who’s on the team. 

[00:21:15] diane: Oh, nice. How long have you taught Design Studio at South Carolina? This is the first year, but it’s been 20 years in the Make ish. Because you’ve done client projects in the classroom for a [00:21:30] long time?

[00:21:31] Yes. It gives me chills. I’m so excited. So was this a new studio then, or was for y’all creating it or were you Yes, this is the first year. 

[00:21:41] Stephanie Nace: Yes, this was brand new. Um, I can say that in the past I’ve proposed this idea to several chairs, several deans, several presidents, um, at least probably three times I’ve pitched it.

[00:21:53] Um, and we at some points were promised funding or space, and then it, it would fall through. [00:22:00] But last year, year before 2022, we wrote a grant, um, a MCC Lin’s grant at the university, and we were awarded $50,000 to start. So we have $50,000, but we have to be self-sufficient in three years. Wow. So, and did they 

[00:22:18] diane: give you space?

[00:22:20] Stephanie Nace: Yes. So, um, and I should have taken a picture of that, but yes, we have space. It’s, it’s a classroom that has no windows in it. But, [00:22:30] um, they let us, uh, you know, we bought computers and we have a conference table and we have, you know, a screen and we have everything that we need to have to have our client meetings in there.

[00:22:39] We put painted the walls, gray, black, we have a yellow door. You know, we have, they’ve let us do what we needed to do. Um, and it’s functioned fine. Like, I think that our clients love to come and see us in that space, and the students like, hang out there and they have, they can, they have access to it 24 7.[00:23:00] 

[00:23:00] diane: So I was looking over my notes from when we met a while ago, and now of course I can’t find them. You should see my desk. It’s sort of like the stuff behind me. I’m trying to like look bigger so that I’m not co I’m covering, I usually stand, but I’ve been standing a lot at Creative South, so I’m ready to sit for a little bit.

[00:23:16] Um, so. Do you, we, I think we talked about a RESO machine. Do y’all have a RESO machine in Design Studio or in regular classroom of 

[00:23:27] Stephanie Nace: it? I, it was purchased with Design Studio [00:23:30] Money. Um, the design studio has priority to it, but we have pulled it out and let other students use it. We had Brad Veter, um, come into a workshop and we let the students use it then.

[00:23:41] And, um, design Club uses it and like, it’s, it’s, it’s hidden. It’s protected, 

[00:23:48] diane: but it’s out there. So tell people if they don’t know what a risso or however you say, it’s RISO machine, tell them what that is. And when was, when did you first. [00:24:00] And I’m sorry I don’t go in order of my questions, I realize. Yeah, that’s fine.

[00:24:04] I’ll get back to it, but we’re sort of, um, yeah, we’re good. We’re almost to number two now. So, um, I don’t remember if I wrote anything about a RESO machine. Yeah, so 

[00:24:15] Stephanie Nace: our RESO machine is basically a digital silk screen, is the best way that I can explain it. Or digital press, like a letter, not kind of letter press, I guess.

[00:24:25] Yeah. But you basically work in layers. You print one color at a [00:24:30] time. It’s the most sort of generic Xerox machine that you can have. Um, and so, so, and 

[00:24:36] diane: the, the colors are transparent ish or are they opaque? Can you add something to them to get more transparent? 

[00:24:45] Stephanie Nace: Oh, okay. Yeah. You can’t add anything, but you’re trying to layer, so you’re thinking primary colors make secondary colors, right.

[00:24:52] And then Yes. Um, then we got white and then we got black, and then it’s like, you know, so the students are slowly [00:25:00] figuring that process out. It’s been. Interesting to watch that process to me makes sense. Um, but I have printing background, so Mm-Hmm. I can get that. But sometimes they’re, they get very stuck on, okay, well how do I get these two things together?

[00:25:17] I’m like, we have to make two different layers. And so, and the other thing that they really want is the perfection. Mm-Hmm. They want it to line up. Perfectly. And I said, it’s not gonna happen. Like there’s just too [00:25:30] much to chance that’s happening inside the machine. The grippers change, the paper size change.

[00:25:34] Mm-hmm. The ink level changes. And so you have to love that. You have to start to embrace that. Um, and so they’ve struggled a little bit, but they love it. They, they want to to play on it. They want to love it, but they want it to be perfect. 

[00:25:50] diane: I think that’s just us as designers. Yeah. We like it to work out.

[00:25:55] Okay. So the first 

[00:25:56] Stephanie Nace: time that I was introduced to it and that I got to play with it [00:26:00] was Kate Bingham and Burt came and she did a workshop with us and she talked all about it and it totally sold our entire faculty. Oh yeah, we’ve gotta put that in the grant. Let’s take something else out and put that in.

[00:26:13] diane: And that was a internal grant? Or was it an external grant? Internal. I’m internal writing notes for myself. It’s internal. Okay. Internal. Internal. Yep. Okay. Okay. So I want you to tell me why, um, you told me that you love teaching Design studio. Mm-Hmm. [00:26:30] And I wanna know why. So you have been trying to do this for 20 years and you finally get to do it, you get the grant.

[00:26:36] When did the grant come? When did you get the Yes. From the grant? I think it 

[00:26:42] Stephanie Nace: was, we applied, and I could be wrong, but I think we applied in 21. We got it in 22, and then we had to start implementing it. Um, so. We had to get, you know, all the equipment, everything up and running, find the space, how’s this gonna work?

[00:26:59] [00:27:00] Okay. Get the students in there. And so the fall we worked, Mina and I specifically worked through the summer to get everything ready. And then the fall we took students, but I’m gonna share my screen again. Um, but this is why I love it. These guys are the reason that I love design Studio. And I’m sure that it could change in the sense like, I’ll have a whole, you know, fresh set next semester or next year.[00:27:30] 

[00:27:30] And I’m hoping that they’re gonna be as good as this crew right here. Um, they work so hard and their energy level is like through the roof. And that’s what, for me, that’s what’s made it, it’s the client work has been important and I. Teaching them that aspect of client work has been important, but it’s the students themselves for me that make design studio as awesome as it is.

[00:27:57] diane: Um, now this is [00:28:00] you sh shared, y’all had a, um, I’m putting that link in the chat and all these links, if you’re watching on YouTube or on SoundCloud or wherever you get your podcast, all these links are right at the top. Um, but they, they did a piece and there was a little video and some of the students were interviewed about this, correct?

[00:28:20] Yes. Okay. 

[00:28:22] Stephanie Nace: And then we had a written article that just came out yesterday. So we have a video and a digital. So the top row of this particular slide were my [00:28:30] original students plus, um, Logan, who’s on the bottom left. And Logan graduated in December. So then we added four more. So the bottom four to the right are brand new students into design studio.

[00:28:43] Um, it’s been seamless. They picked up where. We left off. So we did spend like holiday break and continue on with clients. Um, and the clients understood, like we’re gonna have a little pause here and then we’re gonna go back to work. But, [00:29:00] um, they’re a mix of juniors, seniors and 

[00:29:03] diane: super seniors. So fifth year seniors.

[00:29:06] Yeah. I was a fifth year super senior. It wasn’t called super senior then. We just called it red shirt and, but keep going. Um, and 

[00:29:13] Stephanie Nace: so we will lose of this group. We will lose six, um, afterwards. Wow. The spring. And we had just had applications come in and I was, I was looking at the tally before, um, I started today and I have eight now [00:29:30] that I have to whittle down to those spots.

[00:29:34] Wow. Yeah. So you have how many applied? We have at least, uh, we have at least 12, I think. Um, and so I can kind of get maybe to six or eight students. Um, technically our room holds 10, um, but if everybody’s not always there at the same time, I might be able 

[00:29:53] diane: to finagle a little. Is is the class at a certain time of like they have certain, [00:30:00] uh, like, like is it a Tuesday, Thursday class and it’s for three hours from two to 4 45 or something?

[00:30:07] Exactly. Okay. 

[00:30:08] Stephanie Nace: Yeah. It’s Tuesday, Thursday, it’s uh, I think three 15, like a three hour 15 class. Um, but like I said, this is the only class that happens in that space, and so they have 24 hour access and I tell them like that’s a privilege to have that, that you have everything, um, that everybody else has to cart around or hope that they have after.

[00:30:29] Yeah. You know, [00:30:30] apartments. And so, um, they have their own printer and they have their own cutting stations and they have their own printers, and they have the RESO and they have space and they have, i, there it is always funny because when I come in on a Tuesday and we set up and I need a progress check or something like that, you can tell they’ve been in there, they’ve been watching movies on the big screen because they’re in there working and I think it’s great.

[00:30:53] Yeah. I’m like, this is perfect. Does, is 

[00:30:56] diane: it a keypad or is it like they have a key? 

[00:30:59] Stephanie Nace: It [00:31:00] it’s a little bit of both. Like they have a keypad that gets into a key and then they can get into the room. Oh, 

[00:31:06] diane: gotcha. Um, oh, so Maura, Maura asked about a laser presses. Do you have any like other funky tools that they get?

[00:31:17] Access 

[00:31:17] Stephanie Nace: to, um, we have a Glow Forge. The department has a glow forge. I wrote a grant for that a few years earlier. Um, there was an issue a little bit with ventilation, so we had it down in our jewelry making [00:31:30] room. Our building is a 1935 restored, renovated, um, elementary school. 

[00:31:36] diane: Oh, wow. And 

[00:31:36] Stephanie Nace: so the windows don’t open or anything like that.

[00:31:39] And so they had to cut a hole through the exterior of the wall, but we just had that move to where design students can get to it. Um, and I teach a packaging class, we call it Structures. Um, and I’m hoping that the students will be able to access it better now, and we’ll see some different projects coming out.

[00:31:58] diane: So. [00:32:00] Cool. Okay. So is this that you’re showing now, is this, um, a project that the students did? 

[00:32:08] Stephanie Nace: So this is, we believe women, this was our very first client, um, that came in and they were originally part of the Need Hill project. And, um, that was, it was great. They came in, they knew exactly what they needed to do.

[00:32:24] They gave, they gave us a project brief instead of us having to ask questions. One of [00:32:30] their founders has enough background that she was like, okay, this is what you need. She had a slide presentation, ideal Dream client from the get go. And I was like, this is too, this is like too good to be true. Um, and so they needed a rebranding and they needed a website.

[00:32:46] So that is, 

[00:32:47] diane: if you go to that website now, I think we can go there. I can put it in the chat. I got it. Yeah. I, I’m ready. I’m your van. 

[00:32:53] Stephanie Nace: Um, it 100% is all student work was all driven by that [00:33:00] design. Um, and, um, you know, it’s. They created custom type faces and then they picked the color palette and they did all the work.

[00:33:10] And they did, they did all of the, um, coding 

[00:33:14] diane: and made the websites happen and all that kind of, and presenting back to the client. They were doing that as well. Yep. They do everything. So 

[00:33:22] Stephanie Nace: the way that I always envisioned it, what became super important to me was that I, I am there to guide. I’m not there [00:33:30] to drive.

[00:33:31] I’m not there to make them do anything. We are not, what I didn’t wanna turn into was like a service bureau for the university. Right, right. Um, I want clients that are gonna give them a challenge. I want good work to come out of it. I want. Them to feel successful. I want the students, um, you know, to really get something from this.

[00:33:52] And so they came in and they were like, we need this rebranding. And we were like, okay, we’re on it. So for the better part of the [00:34:00] semester, the entire team, ’cause we only had seven then worked on this project. It was plenty for everybody to do. Um, and I never once said, this is the way we’re dividing it, so and so doing this.

[00:34:13] So they did 

[00:34:14] diane: that on their own. Was there a natural lead or was, did they, um, yes. Did they pick people to lead? 

[00:34:24] Stephanie Nace: There was, there’s a few I would say in there that are natural leads. Um, we have some students that will [00:34:30] always say, I’ll email them. Like I’ll ask the questions and then I have another student who will say, okay, I’m making the calendar.

[00:34:38] And so, you know, I just said to them at some point I need to, we need to be able to know basically a production schedule. We need to have this delivered to them, but we also need to know what’s going on. And so I came in the next day and the whiteboard was in completely covered with, this person has this task, these people are working on this, [00:35:00] these people are working on this.

[00:35:02] And I never had to say, you’re not working enough, or It’s not getting finished, or it’s not right. They did it. Um, and so when we presented as we were presenting like pieces, so we would do a bunch of work, we’d have the client come back, basically sign off on it. We would do the next part. And then sign off on it.

[00:35:24] Give us all the content for the website. Okay, we’re, we’ll see you like in a month and we’ll 

[00:35:29] diane: [00:35:30] get it done. So that never happens for me. They never have all the content for the website. I know it’s a great, but it’s a lot of guiding. Did the students, were they able to guide or did the client really have all the content?

[00:35:43] Stephanie Nace: They had most of it. Um, and then what they didn’t have, they were actually really great about like, Hey, we need copy for this section. They were very responsive to, you have too much copy in this section. Oh, good. Um, they had a, a pretty secure team, [00:36:00] um, with one of the girls that she did most of their writing for them.

[00:36:03] And so it, it just made it really easy to deal with them. Um, we, I was coming up to CCA to speak on a panel about, um. Design work and like design clients and student interactions. And I literally was finishing my presentation at lunch right before, before my CAC presentation because they had just gotten the sign off on the website.[00:36:30] 

[00:36:30] And so I wasn’t even there. Like they presented, I wasn’t there. 

[00:36:33] diane: Oh. Oh my gosh. That’s awesome. Yeah. And the client cried because they were happy. Yes. 

[00:36:41] Stephanie Nace: So wait, I have a 

[00:36:42] diane: question about this client. I mean, any client. Yeah. So how did you find such a great client? Was this through your network or was this Um, our, our, I mean, we always get a lot of people emailing and say, Hey, we’ve got a great project.

[00:36:58] Yeah. And I’m like, [00:37:00] okay. I do stuff like that in my fall classes, but they of course want it in the spring. And I’m like, I don’t work like that. It has to come in. So I’m doing stuff like this in my classes. Well, but um. When there are clients, how are you vetting the clients? 

[00:37:16] Stephanie Nace: Yeah, so actually this client came to us through Mina.

[00:37:21] Okay. So, because Mina and I were working through the summer, she was part of a, um, we have a, uh, we have a [00:37:30] organization here in Columbia that has like office spaces. I guess you kind of rent them, like you could have, you could call them like a coworking space sort of thing. Yeah. Like I need to have, um, a conference table and a set up for that and you can rent the space.

[00:37:45] But this particular space is supportive of women. And so somehow she met our client through them. They got to talking and she said, I really need this work done. And Mina said, oh, you need to talk to Stephanie. And so she emailed me [00:38:00] and we’ve actually gotten another client through this project because they knew this client.

[00:38:05] And so mostly everything we have right now has been all word of mouth. 

[00:38:10] diane: So was it like, does do the students work on giving them a, a bid or a, is it just kind of like, here’s your budget, this is what we can do? 

[00:38:21] Stephanie Nace: Yeah. 

[00:38:22] diane: Okay. 

[00:38:22] Stephanie Nace: This one particularly came in and they had no money and so we weren’t necessarily worried about it.

[00:38:28] We need to make enough money this [00:38:30] year to be able to pay for new ink and stuff like that next year. So our minimal cost, our costs are minimal for next year. Um, but since we’ve started this one, I started to talk a lot more to the students about, okay, how do we charge? Like, yeah, nonprofit still has some money.

[00:38:47] Mm-Hmm. They don’t have as much money as, you know, a client that has a different budget, which I’ll show you the kind of, the difference in one of our later clients, but. [00:39:00] Um, the, the quality of the work is gonna be the same whether you’re paying us or not. Right. So, 

[00:39:05] diane: um, 

[00:39:05] Stephanie Nace: but the students 

[00:39:06] diane: don’t have to deal with the, the bidding out for these No.

[00:39:11] You’re handling that part. 

[00:39:13] Stephanie Nace: Yes. Okay. And, but I have talked to them, like, what do you think about, I, I was saying the other day, like, I think maybe we should have sort of a package. Like if you want branding and social media stuff, then it’s X dollars and you get three rounds of revisions. And [00:39:30] if you want a budget or if you want, um, branding plus the social media plus the website, then that’s X dollars.

[00:39:39] And so we’re at least trying to figure out where things start at a baseline. Right. So I feel like next year, this year has been a lot of learning and of course you learn when things go wrong. Um, and so we’ve been trying to figure out, I. Next year we’re gonna come in with a harder plan and be able to say upfront, this is the cost.

[00:39:58] diane: Right, right. Well that’s good. And [00:40:00] it is a learning time for sure. 

[00:40:03] Stephanie Nace: Um, this is a client that we currently have, and so if you notice at the bottom, we’ve now broken into teams because we’re still finishing. Um, we believe women and then Cola Love came to us because we believe women, and this is some branding.

[00:40:18] This was a client who has a much bigger timeframe to work with. And so we told them this semester like. We’re done with class on Thursday. And so what can we give you to get [00:40:30] you through the summer and have you prepared and be able to function? And then when we come back in the fall, we’ll do the website.

[00:40:36] And so we’ve just solidified all of the logos with them. So that’s their new branding And Made With Cold Love is um, a nonprofit group that supports all different kinds of artists in Columbia and they have a grant process. And then those artists have what they call experiences. So it’s like a little pop-up show.

[00:40:58] So you could be a [00:41:00] chef and you’re gonna be a pop-up guest chef at this restaurant. So they do all of the advertising. They help you get ready, they help you promote it, they help you, you know, set the tables and get the stuff ready. It’s, it’s super cool. Um, so they, but the idea of what is an artist is completely open, redefined.

[00:41:21] Yeah, it’s really cool. 

[00:41:23] diane: Um, so is Cola, Columbia? Some? Yes. Cola. Okay. Okay. 

[00:41:27] Stephanie Nace: Yeah. So you’ll notice in Columbia there’s a lot of [00:41:30] things that are called Soda City. ’cause they call it cola. And so like we have the Soda City market and we have the buses, the bottle cap and stuff like that. Oh, 

[00:41:38] diane: fun. Okay. It took me a little bit to get it too.

[00:41:41] I was 

[00:41:41] Stephanie Nace: like, 

[00:41:41] diane: I don’t understand. I I know. I was like, do they have to paint with cola or cook with cola? But may I, I gotcha. I’m now I’m with you 

[00:41:50] Stephanie Nace: cola. And then, um, this is some of the patterns and the, um, the color palette and some of the marks that they’re [00:42:00] using. They wanted to show that it’s a homegrown friendly environment that’s nurturing and fun.

[00:42:09] And so that’s what the students have come up with. And so this is sort of the package that we gave them to get them started for the summer. Cool. Um, and again, they created their 

[00:42:19] diane: own font for this. Are they using like, um, font self, or are they using 

[00:42:27] Stephanie Nace: Yeah, I’m not a hundred percent what software they’re using.

[00:42:29] [00:42:30] Um, but they, they draw it and figure it out. They usually obviously start with the letters that they need and then they work backwards, um, for what they need to fill in. So this was probably based on somebody’s handwriting and then they were like, oh, it’s gotta be a little funkier. And then they worked through that.

[00:42:45] So, and again, I’m not holding their hand to figure out how that works. They come to me and they’re like, this is done. And I’m like, okay, that’s amazing. 

[00:42:54] diane: So that’s not something that they’re learning in another class. 

[00:42:58] Stephanie Nace: They have, I would say they have [00:43:00] intros to a lot of things. Like my, my basic, uh, my second level typography class, we do some hand lettering that we translate into, um, into custom fonts.

[00:43:12] But again, we’re talking about, okay, if we only had to write Cola Love, right? How we. Get that happen. These students just seem to always take it to the next level. Cool. Yeah. So then we also have Dakota as a, um, client this semester. They’re, um, [00:43:30] experimental musical group that’s collaborative. They play at Julliard and Carnegie Mellon and like these really big, important places.

[00:43:38] Um, and one of their members is a faculty member at USC. That’s how she found us. And, um, so we’ve been working with them for branding. We’re still, they haven’t a hundred percent signed off on this, but this is where we’re headed. They had asked for some corrections, and so that’s what the Blue arrows were, was to show ’em.

[00:43:57] This is. Those were the changes we requested. This is [00:44:00] how we’re fixing it. Gotcha. Um, because we’re running out of time for the semester, we haven’t met with them again. So I told students like, you have to explain this as if somebody doesn’t understand it at all. They don’t think the way we think. So that’s why they got the little diagram in there.

[00:44:16] So they went a little wider with some of those, the, yeah. The counter forms. They were concerned with the O and the E reading. Mm-Hmm. Yep. Um, and then this is how they’re applying it. Uh, and the great thing about this [00:44:30] presentation, the thing that floored me when they gave this presentation was, um, they had gone and sort of looked at all of the other musical groups that are sort of similar to what Dakota’s doing.

[00:44:42] They pulled up their websites in the middle of the presentation and they said, okay, see this, see what’s happening in this one. See what’s happening in this one. You don’t wanna be like that. And here’s how we’re gonna change it. And this is kind of like this treatment of the photo is what they’ve [00:45:00] come up with.

[00:45:00] And so it may not be this big, but it’s that idea that we’re gonna do this kind of sepia, monotone color with the bold white or black logo in it. And here’s how it works on all of these different, um, forms. And so they think about stuff and I know that the things that they’re thinking of have been introduced in other classes.

[00:45:19] Right. Um, I teach like intra level level typography and then I teach structures, which is packaging. So I [00:45:30] see ’em their first year in our program and our last year in our program, and I see ’em in the design studio if they made it so I know that this other stuff is covered because all of a sudden they’ve come through and they know it and I’m like, okay, we’re doing a good job here.

[00:45:42] Like my colleagues are amazing and I don’t have to question whether or not they’re learning it. They’re learning it, right? Yeah. And then this one’s super cool. We have, um, another music musician, Mackley part, and he came to us. He’s a [00:46:00] Americana musician outta Nashville. He happens to be a good friend of Mary’s.

[00:46:05] So that’s how we got him. Um, but he came to us and he already had his cover art done for his new album. And he was like, so I need something to go on Spotify that’s gonna match this, and I need like a younger audience and I, I’m trying to reach, you know, this kind of person. Um, and so I. He, he didn’t really know, like he just, he knew he needed help.

[00:46:28] He didn’t know how he needed [00:46:30] help. And so our students wanted, um, to show him, oh, cool. He could animate too. And so they’ve been doing this animation stuff to put the, um, words over as it’s on Spotify for the lyrics. So that’s something else they’ve been working on. And then in this situation, we only had two mm-Hmm.

[00:46:48] So we went from having all seven to two groups of five to two. And that really happened because who can balance this? Who feels comfortable animating? Who has the time? Mm-Hmm. Um, and so [00:47:00] that’s, you know, again, I didn’t, I didn’t split any of that. I didn’t say, you’re on this team and you’re on this team. I said, who are you interested in working with?

[00:47:08] Figure it out. And it just happened that they came back, five and five happened that they came back with this animation. And the funny thing about the animation was Mac was like, you know, that’s amazing. I wanna have the entire song animated. And I was like, okay, wait a minute. Like that 30 seconds, took six hours.

[00:47:27] We, we can’t do the whole song, [00:47:30] let’s do clips. But they came back with a really good explanation of how their generation listens to music, finds music, and that’s what he needed. Um, and so here they are in their twenties, I would assume, telling somebody close to 50, if not older than that. This is how it’s done now, and they didn’t have any problem.

[00:47:50] They were confident in that decision, so that’s 

[00:47:53] diane: awesome. Yeah. Okay, so we’ll do a speed round here at the end. So, [00:48:00] um, uh, you’re covering this at your. Panel in, uh, c CAC this fall. Um, yeah. But, uh, we are required to do research, um, and often it is design research for clients. Then we have to win awards or sometimes we’re writing books or, um, and it seems like sometimes they push back on if it’s about design pedagogy.

[00:48:24] Mm-Hmm. Um, what types of projects that you, for [00:48:30] you, um, outside of pedagogy, what types of projects do you like to take on at your design studio? 

[00:48:37] Stephanie Nace: Yeah, so, um, I like. I like anything that has a story. I love working with people who can tell me a story. I love telling someone’s story, and so I’ve gotten really into invitations and announcements it seems.

[00:48:54] But, um, I would say that the thing that interests me the most about ’em is when I can make them a little bit [00:49:00] more intricate perhaps, than just saying, here’s an invitation. So like, for example, this little, um, announcement here, when you open it, it, it’s a little square, but when you open it, it spins. And so it’s octopus and it’s the idea that the baby was really active in utero.

[00:49:18] And so it’s about motion and movement, um, which I loved. I loved the interaction. I loved the kind of quirky illustration, um, paper that I found. Uh, and I let her press that. That was fun. [00:49:30] Uh, and then the center one is an invitation that I just finished for a friend of mine who’s getting married at a family home in Boone Cal, in North Carolina.

[00:49:39] And. That’s a hand dye cut letter pressed originally Watercolored illustration. Yeah. That I’ve cut. And you know, it’s, it just turns into this thing where it’s like, oh no, lemme try this and lemme try that. And sometimes I get a little carried away and, but I want it to be unique, like it folds [00:50:00] down and the letterings underneath it again, a letter and the 

[00:50:04] diane: hand, the hand skill, the craftsmanship, yes.

[00:50:06] In all of these is evident. I know the B is digital, um, but it still has a lot of texture and hand feel the, um, I can see the print, the, there’s that transparency. Yeah. So you’re really still, it’s your knowledge of all the things. Yeah, in by hand as well and, and the materials, I think. Yeah. And with 

[00:50:29] Stephanie Nace: the, [00:50:30] 

[00:50:30] diane: with the invitation 

[00:50:31] Stephanie Nace: with Brent and Leta, it was about who invited you to the wedding.

[00:50:35] So if she invited you, her name was first, and if he invited you, his name was first. And it was just folding paper and folding and seeing through. And so it’s like, how do we get paper to tell a story? Which sounds weird, but that’s the, those are kind of the things I think about. No, I love that. Um, so, and then of course I do branding work and I, I’ve been working on my digital illustration.

[00:50:57] Um, the notebook there, that’s a [00:51:00] caterpillar binding that I learned when I was at Kent. But for me, binding is. Like that zen moment, you know, it’s, I don’t have to think about the concept that part’s already done. I’m just binding this book and I’m sitting here and I’m basically sewing it by hand. And so I just, I kind of zone out on that part.

[00:51:19] But I love that part. I love the craft of that. Um, I’ve done some artist books and I do client work, like that’s a museum catalog. Um, [00:51:30] again, some more digital illustration and then public awareness posters are something that’s always been important to me. That’s what my thesis was on. And so I’m always thinking about how do you get that message to somebody in eight seconds, which is how long you have them captured in a poster situation.

[00:51:48] So, um, so I’m thinking about those 

[00:51:49] diane: things too. Awesome. What is the, the one that’s the Charlie Brown looking like. 

[00:51:56] Stephanie Nace: Yeah. So, um, I mentioned Jerry callback earlier in my, [00:52:00] um, talk, and he was my illustration, professor Kent. My grandfather passed away, um, the year before I went to Kent, and then Charles Schultz passed away, I think my first year at Kent.

[00:52:11] And I mentioned that my grandfather taught me how to read, but I used to crawl up in his lap. I got up early, I’ve always been an early bird, and he was up early and he would sit and have his coffee and his oatmeal and his toast and, you know, I would be, I would give him the funny pages on a Sunday and I would say, read this to me.

[00:52:29] Like I knew that [00:52:30] they were. Cute illustrations, like there was something about that page, right? And so I would say, read this to me, and I would crawl up in his lap. And so one day he just said, no, you read it to me. And so he gave me the basics, like he started to teach me how to read and it was with the peanuts.

[00:52:47] So when Charles Schultz passed, that was like a complete gut punch to me. And I was like, man, I don’t even know. And I just picked up a dry, um, brush, which is one of the ways I love [00:53:00] to illustrate it. Dipped it in my ink and I just went and I put it in my portfolio and I. I was like, okay, I got it outta my system.

[00:53:08] Like to me, sometimes it’s too art. Like there’s, in my mind a difference between graphic design and art and you know, do they get along and don’t they get along and who knows? But I just put it aside and I didn’t think too much of it. And I was having a portfolio review and Jerry pulled out, like from the pocket, pulled it out, and he was like, after we were done, he had gone through [00:53:30] everything, gave me his feedback.

[00:53:31] And it was like he knew, he just pulled it out. He said, so tell me about this. And I was like, oh, well it’s just, you know, this thing I did because I was feeling whatever. And he was like, no. He said, this is the best thing in your portfolio. And I was like, okay, that’s kind of insulting, just my little squiggly line and it is the best thing in here.

[00:53:52] But he said, you’ve got to do something with it. And so I did, I entered it into Grey’s posters and it won an award. And [00:54:00] then, um, it’s in the permanent collection of Charles Schultz and Sara Rosa, California. So Oh, cool. It probably was the best thing in my portfolio. 

[00:54:10] diane: Oh, I love that. That’s an awesome story.

[00:54:12] And something that you think it’s just me. It’s not gonna connect to anybody. It was just something I was doing. But it really is maybe when we’re tapping in and you have to be bold and courageous to be able to show some of that stuff, I think. Yeah, for sure. So, um, we didn’t really get to the whole thing that you’ve done [00:54:30] 20 years, uh, over and over.

[00:54:31] Yeah. But if, do you have some images you can quickly pop up? So, uh, we have something, a lot of universities have something like this, and I was thinking about this in relation to being a designer. I have, uh, websites I’ve done three times. Not like I’ve done it wrong, it’s that just that we try to do it every five years or every four years.

[00:54:51] And can you explain to them what the common read is and then how, um, how you, [00:55:00] um, have incorporated this into your, the design experience at University of South Carolina? 

[00:55:08] Stephanie Nace: So the first year reading experience is a freshman icebreaker. Every freshman is sent a book and they’re supposed to read it before they get to campus.

[00:55:16] And then in their university 1 0 1 classes, they have something in common that if you’ve met another freshman, you can talk at least about the book that you have to read. Um, and so this project actually has been going on since [00:55:30] 1993, so a little bit before my time. But it’s always been an illustration and graphic design project here at USC.

[00:55:37] And it only lives in one place. It lives in the dean’s office. All of the posters are framed there. Um, this is a website that I made for it. This is what it looks like, um, in the Osborne building, but it was. That was the only place they all were. And I thought, you know, if we don’t preserve this history of both, um, this [00:56:00] experience that the students have as, as like general students for the university and as a history of the graphic design students, like, we’re gonna be at loss if this something happens to this.

[00:56:10] So I got a grant to create this website and to, um, preserve all the posters. And so I’ve made a framed collection exhibit of them, but I also did this archive of them on, you know, the website so that you can see everything, um, and you can see the history. [00:56:30] How we’ve gone from just a simple two color, hand-drawn illustration to now original photography that the students create or original illustrations.

[00:56:41] Um, we talk about not having anything copywritten University has to worry about. So this is all student photos, student illustration, um, student design, and so they have to read the book. We’re giving ’em pretty tight deadline. All different books, right? Books every year. Year books. It’s a different book.

[00:56:59] Books. Mm-Hmm. [00:57:00] Yep. And you can even see, if you look at this in detail, like you can start, we started fiction and then we got into nonfiction, which when they made a switch to like some of the nonfiction stuff. When we got to thinking about, um, how, how do you measure success? How do you talk about. Having a calling.

[00:57:24] Like those aren’t things that there’s any imagery for. And so students were having to think about [00:57:30] stuff in a completely different way. Um, in 2013, which is this poster with the little digital guides on it, the Postmortal, um, drew McGuire was coming to the university to speak. We have almost all of the art, um, authors come and speak on campus.

[00:57:45] And he was coming and somehow we convinced them, we being the university committee, not me specifically, um, to not only do the postcard send off and the posters that promote everything, but to [00:58:00] change the book covers for every single book that went to the freshmen. So he had to Okay. That design, their publisher had to okay, that design and every copy, which is like 15,000 total that go out from our university and like the other sub universities, um, had this cover on it.

[00:58:20] Cool. And every year since 2013, the cover has been changed to be our design. Wow. Yeah. So that’s been super cool. That [00:58:30] process has been really neat to watch. Um, 

[00:58:33] diane: how does that work in the classroom? Like is it every kid doing their own and then Yes. One is chosen. Okay. Yep. 

[00:58:39] Stephanie Nace: Every student does their own. And my favorite day of this assignment is the first time that we look at concepts because for, um, a more beautiful question we have like, you know, probably on the average, about 18 kids in each class.

[00:58:57] I walked in and I probably saw 15 light [00:59:00] bulbs on the cloud on the board, and I was like, okay, how do we talk about an idea or a question that’s not a light bulb? And so that for me is the absolute best part of this process is having students think about this beyond the first idea. And if you brought in something that looks similar to someone else in class, it’s probably not the best thing.

[00:59:25] It’s not the right thing. Um, and the [00:59:30] process of design Studio, the process of my work, the process of this particular project is figuring that out. Is that growth, it’s that common. How do we think differently than our neighbor, um, our peer designer? Like how do we go above and beyond to be unique? Mm-Hmm.

[00:59:49] Be original. Be confident in that, which is probably the hardest thing to learn 

[00:59:53] diane: for sure. Okay, so what is next for you as we are out of time? 

[00:59:59] Stephanie Nace: Uh, [01:00:00] I think this year, um, has been really a growth year, not just for our program, but for me in general. I feel a new sense of rejuvenation in my own studio, which I.

[01:00:14] Didn’t expect the students have me so amped up, like their energy is so high that when I come home from teaching them, I’m like, I can’t wait. I’m gonna go home and I’m gonna do this and I’m gonna do that. And I’m like, oh my God. So I just wanna take [01:00:30] the summer and I wanna play, I wanna go to, um, the New York, uh, stationary show.

[01:00:36] I want to take sabbatical and focus on just kind of playing and reintroducing myself to some of this idea of making also really know that I need to get better at procreate. Those students are so fast on procreate and no one ever taught them that. So I’m like, I’ve gotta catch up. Um, so I watch that a lot in design Studio too, and I’m like, man, I’m behind.[01:01:00] 

[01:01:00] Um, so I wanna do that, but I mostly just want, I. I wanna stay inspired, I wanna stay. I need a little rest at the end of the semester, and then I’m ready to come back in the fall and give it all the energy that they give me. Like, it’s just, it’s been the most amazing experience. 

[01:01:19] diane: That’s cool. When is the New York stationary show and are you going as an exhibitor or do you have a booth or are you just going as a attendee?

[01:01:27] Stephanie Nace: It’s August, I wanna say August [01:01:30] 2nd through the seventh or something like that. Um, I just wanna go and see, like, I just, at this point I’m looking for inspiration. I want to look at stuff and be like, oh, I never thought about that. Or, that’s a cool product, or have to have that design, you know? So I just wanna go and see.

[01:01:47] I would love to get there someday. Like I would love to try and figure that out. Um, but at, for right now, I just wanna. I wanna play, I wanna see, I wanna be inspired. I wanna, yeah, I wanna, I wanna [01:02:00] look, 

[01:02:00] diane: so is that like something you do solo this summer and then you come out? Or is that something that you are part of a group and you’ll show them and there’s like accountability?

[01:02:13] Stephanie Nace: Nah, I’ll probably just do it solo. You know, sometimes you gotta hold that thing until you feel confident about being like, okay, here it is. Um, but yeah, I, I feel like even though I have history with letterpress and I understand that process, and I have a press, I have a [01:02:30] 1910, um, press that I use, um, I feel like I’m a little rusty at it, uh, for some reason.

[01:02:37] Well, I’m also a mom and so it’s like I’ve switched gears sometimes. My boys are getting older now, and so they don’t need me to be there as much. Um, so I feel like I’m reintroducing myself to some of these skills I used to have. And I think that’s part of the rejuvenation too, is to like realize, oh, it’s okay to gain more of myself back now.

[01:02:58] Like I can. Be [01:03:00] interested in this stuff and it’s not gonna affect whether or not mom’s there for them. Right. Um, so I think it’s just 

[01:03:07] diane: right now it feels like a perfect storm. Well, that’s cool. I’m excited for your perfect storm summer. So the best way for people to be, um, oh, Carrie asked, how old are your kids?

[01:03:19] They are 16 and 14. So old enough to go to the bathroom alone and Yes. And they just 

[01:03:27] Stephanie Nace: drove to school together for the first [01:03:30] time the other day. And I was in a complete panic. Like they’re my oldest is a great driver. I don’t question it, but I was like, oh my God, he is got all my important cargo in one car.

[01:03:41] diane: Carrie has two little ones, but they’re. Way younger. Um, so the best way for people to be able to get in touch with you, you gave me your Instagram. I just want two and three are carrie’s. So Instagram at s Ace seven five, or at, um, [01:04:00] instagram.com/frog leg studio. And then you have your website. Is that just frog Legg studio?

[01:04:08] Yep. Frog legg studio.com. Yep. Perfect. I will add that to the, um, and there will be some other images, um, that will, you, you guys can see that it’ll be up on that page as well. Um, just studio with one no s at the end. Right. And he only, the frog only has one leg. Oh, right, right. Yeah, [01:04:30] exactly. Okay. All right.

[01:04:32] I’ll add that. Stephanie, thank you so much. Um, um, so much that you were able to share so much. You were, um. I’m sorry I didn’t get through all the questions, but I sort of got through a lot of them. Yeah. I just had, uh, I think it is really fun to be teaching students that are, um, ready. Um, they feel like they were chosen and then they’re able to go for it.

[01:04:59] And it’s not so [01:05:00] much on the coaching side of you can do this, you can. So I, I love that, but I’m super excited to see what other kind of projects that y’all, you know, get to take on. And I can’t wait to see it in person at Creative South next year, but also at CAC in, in the fall. So CAC is a, a conference for college art professors and, um, it’s, it’s really, it’s a fun one to go to and it’s in Atlanta, so it’s drivable for [01:05:30] both of us.

[01:05:30] Stephanie Nace: Yes. Excellent. 

[01:05:32] diane: Yeah. Thank you so much for your time today. Thank y’all for coming. And um, next week we have two things. So, um, on Wednesday we have, uh, my friend Amy Bryant, who’s, um, a psychologist and she’s gonna, she kind of talked to us about neuro, neuro divergent thinking and she’s gonna, I can’t remember exactly, I could pull up my text probably and find what it is ’cause I can’t remember off the top of my head.[01:06:00] 

[01:06:00] Um, but it was, ’cause I can’t remember. Um, here it is. She had said, uh, honoring your, our neuro type, um, is the series topic. And, um, we’re gonna come up with some questions and you can check out your email next Tuesday for those questions. And then on Thursday I’m gonna do the final. Um, I also like stories, Stephanie, um, did, uh, I think sometimes we’re not great at telling our own story when we’re talking to new clients or [01:06:30] potential.

[01:06:30] So we did, um, how to. Talk, make compelling stories, uh, tell compelling stories. And the last one is the founder story. Since we all are founders of our own business, usually, um, I think it’s good for us to know how to tell that story, and that is the final one. So expect an email with a link to a YouTube this weekend so that you can watch it and then be part of the.

[01:06:55] Um, if you wanna be part of the, I’ll ask that in the email, um, to, if you [01:07:00] wanna be on screen for it. Paul can’t be there ’cause he’s speaking at a conference in Denver, so everybody else, yay Paul for that. Uh, but, and, and it’s open. Um, if you are like, I really want help with this, uh, just watch the teaching one sometime before Wednesday.

[01:07:15] And then, um, let me know before 11:00 AM central time on Wednesday, uh, that you wanna be on screen and do this with me. And if nobody wants to do it with me, then I’ll just go through it and y’all can be in the chat. Um, but so we have two kind of [01:07:30] things next week and I’m excited to do this. Stephanie.

[01:07:33] Thank you so much for doing this and for sharing. I can’t wait to see some of that, um, stuff that you are inspired by, um, over the summer and then some of the stuff that you’re holding tight. And then when it explodes, I can’t wait to see, be on the other side to see that explosion. So thank you so, so much.

[01:07:52] All right, I’ll see y’all next week. I’m gonna hit [01:08:00] stop.

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