School Spotlight: St. Lawrence College

School Spotlight: St. Lawrence College

AT A GLANCE

School: St.Lawrence College
Location: Kingston Ontario
Programs offered:  3 year graphic design program – advanced diploma
Website: https://www.facebook.com/slcgraphicdesign

What is St. Lawrence College Graphic Design?

The best way to answer this question is to ask: “What is St. Lawrence College Graphic Design NOT like?” It is not the average college classroom. Instead of endless lectures and slideshows, students are often up and moving, discussing, and problem solving.

Our facilities consist of two large studios and a computer lab. The first year of study takes place in the dedicated First Year Studio, where the students generally work at large drafting tables. The second and third year students share the larger of the two studios with cubicles providing their shared workspaces. Independent working time and collaboration between students is encouraged, so conversation and a high energy, fast-paced atmosphere is common in both studios. Owing to the dedicated space afforded to St. Lawrence students, class doesn’t need to end when the teachers leave for the day: students can stay late and utilize the facilities. A recently revamped curriculum means students will remain on the cutting edge of the design practices and thinking.

St. Lawrence offers lots for the lucky Graphic Designers who manages to find time beyond homework. A YMCA attached to the school is fully equipped and freely available to students, in fact St.Lawrence students get a membership to any YMCA in Ontario until the August 31st after you graduate.

The Student Association lounge offers plenty of distractions or just a place to sit and hang out with friends. The college is located on a transfer point for the Kingston transit system so it’s never hard to catch a bus to anywhere in the city. A St. Lawrence College student card includes a bus pass so getting around is never hard.

St. Lawrence College and the city of Kingston often take place in RGD events like the Future By Design live-streamed panels and often attend major events in Toronto such as the Design Thinkers and Headstart conferences that are always fun and a great resource.

For the up-and-coming designer, St. Lawrence offers tons of support and will push you to your full potential. Here are some students describing what it is like to be a part of the Graphic Design program for themselves.

STUDENT EXPERIENCE

Amy Hamilton

3rd year, Graphic Design

Why did you choose St. Lawrence?

Since I grew up in Kingston and wanted to stay in the area, St. Lawrence was a natural choice. Also, the program’s great reputation was something I’d heard about in high school, so I was really excited to attend.

What is your favourite part of the program?

I love many parts of the program, but specifically anything that’s hands-on (drawing, building, creating prototypes). I love that the program includes traditional media and traditional techniques, which is where my interest in visual art/design came from. I think a foundation in drawing and understanding design history was essential as well.

What is the most memorable part of the school?

My cubicle! Definitely the graphic design studio and computer labs.

Aspects of the program you think is important for a potential student to know.

I think it’s important for potential students to know that the program includes both traditional and digital media. I thought that I wouldn’t stand a chance in the program, because I had no prior education or training with computers or software. I was relieved to know that people with all kinds of backgrounds were attending and that many of our courses included an introductory to digital media and software.

Ellen Foster, Third Year

Why did you choose St. Lawrence?

I’ve grown up in Kingston, and wasn’t ready to move away quite yet. I got to know some of the teachers at College Preview Day, and I realized that everything my high school teachers told us about post-secondary (you’re going to be a number, your professors won’t care about you or your success), was a complete lie. Once I realized that they already cared about my success, my fears and what my name was, I know I wanted to be here.

What is your favourite part of the program?

The whole program is awesome. It’s great that the program starts out to ensure everyone is at the same level; we all learn the fundamentals and tedious things that the majority might know, but we learn it anyway, to make sure everyone has the same basic skills. We have absolutely amazing teachers. They know we’re all people, and that life gets in the way sometimes, and are completely willing to accommodate for our needs. The third years have placement, which is something a lot of programs don’t have.

What is the most memorable part of the school?

My job is pretty sweet. St. Lawrence offers student jobs on campus, and I work in the Marketing Department as the Assistant Graphic Designer for all three campuses of St. Lawrence College. The main graphic designer is one of our part-time professors, and she is equally as awesome. I worked there full-time in the summer, and part-time during the school year. It’s given me a great “real-world” experience, working directly with printers and clients, and understanding how the work process breaks down in an institution.

Aspects of the program you think is important for a potential student to know.

As a student right out of high school, for me it would have been important to know that St Lawrence’s graphic design program is a mini-family. All the full-time professors’ offices are within the studio space we have (which have wicked cubicles and a mini-mac lab), and are all interested in our lives, what we aspire to do, and how we’re doing. A few graduated students still come back every now and then to ask for design (and life) advice from our professors. And I think that’s amazing.

Sam Campbell, Second Year

Why did you choose St. Lawrence?

I selected the Graphic Design program at St. Lawrence because I live near Kingston, but I also selected this program because after looking at the work being produced I was confident I could pursue my own personal style and artistic vision. I wanted to be able to pursue my artistic interests and not be forced to be a cookie cutter designer. I was pleasantly relieved to find my personal passions encouraged.

What is your favourite part of the program?

The best thing about being in this particular program and campus is the accessibility of the faculty. The excellent and professional instructors are available to give direction and even advice about design or just happy to chat. It is a friendly and supportive environment that allows for focus and the confidence to make a ton of mistakes and find the correct answer to design problems without fear.

What is the most memorable part of the school?

The most memorable moment of my time at St. Lawrence thus far was being encouraged to push a project beyond the boundaries of the classroom and really expand my education to a higher level. It was an inspiring moment for me because I have had experience in other educational institutions that only limited and restricted my exploration and St. Lawrence surprised me in the best way possible. This is a program where you can pursue your interests and really test your own abilities.

Aspects of the program important for a potential student to know.

St. Lawrence Graphic Design is a program that will let those who drive their own education thrive in a competitive but supportive environment. Students here want and need to push the envelope of visual design and design thinking.

Sarah Depont, Second Year

Why did you choose St. Lawrence?

I chose St. Lawrence College because as the baby of my family I looked up to my older brothers. I watched my brother go away to St. Lawrence and told me that he loved all of his classes, classmates, and teachers most of all. I chose to come here because it wasn’t to far from home and I knew I would get the time and help from teachers that I needed.

What is your favourite part of the program?

My favourite part of the Graphic Design program is that the people in the course and the teachers are reliable. The people in the course are very friendly and help each other out, rather than competing against each other. The teachers are always there to help you out and do care about your well-being.

What is the most memorable part of the school?

Looking back to when I took the tour of the school the most memorable part was the student association and the cafeteria. When I started school the SA was a fun hangout, do homework and have fun space just for students. The cafeteria is one of my favourite places, not because of the food, but the plants and the huge windows looking out to the yard/soccer field.

Aspects of the program important for a potential student to know.

A big thing of the program is that it is A LOT of work. In my first year I learnt to stay awake to all hours of the night and still get up for an 8:30 class. Coffee is a GREAT FRIEND. But mostly the thing that helped me was time management skills that I developed a little late in my first year, but is great for this second year.

Megan Snider, Second Year

Why did you choose St. Lawrence?

I chose to come to St.Lawrence College because it’s a nice college close to home. While making new friends I still wanted to be close to friends and family back home.

What is your favourite part of the program?

My favourite part of the program is learning new things about graphic design but also learning to create my own style and techniques. We have a freedom of creativity.

What is the most memorable part of the school?

Everyone at St.Lawrence has a positive friendly attitude. The various resources that the school has to offer for the students, such as the various labs for students to use.

Aspects of the program important for a potential student to know.

Students should know that the program is continuously changing to todays trends. This is achieved through advancements of technology to change traditional design to digital design.