Graphic Design Students Creating ‘Community’


Photo of students working in the graphic design lab.

Louise Bodenheimer teaches design students in the new graphic design lab at River Campus.


Sept. 20, 2007 – Louise Bodenheimer beams when she reflects on the new graphic design lab at River Campus.

While new equipment in the lab makes teaching graphic design a pleasure, Bodenheimer says she’s particularly pleased with the student camaraderie it has created.

The students can now see each other and what they are doing, she said, explaining the layout of the lab.

“There’s more of a community feel,” Bodenheimer said. “There’s more of a good exchange, and they just feel at ease. I think the students have a better sense of this being more of a professional environment and production studio.”

The 1,100-square-foot graphic design lab, which also serves as an open lab, is located in the basement of the Seminary Building at River Campus. 

“I like being in the basement,” Bodenheimer said. “We don’t have a lot of light, and we don’t need a lot of light.”

In the lab’s former location in Serena, she said she constantly was adjusting shades on windows to prevent sunlight from creeping into the room. The former lab also had window and floor air conditioning units that were noisy.

“Now, we have these wonderful air handlers,” she said.

The new lab at River Campus features 21 student work stations, equipped with Macintosh G5 computers purchased with federal grant funding, Bodenheimer said. The computers are loaded with Adobe Creative Suite 2 and Final Cut Pro Studio graphic design software.

Many of the work stations have side-by-side flat screen monitors that allow art students to place design palettes on one screen and edit on the other. Students using the lab are enrolled in “Introduction to Graphic Design,” “Advanced Graphic Design,” “Illustration,” “Digital Photography,” “New Genre” and “Design Foundations.”

“This lab is about the same size” as the former lab used in Serena, “but we’re maximizing the space better,” she said. “It’s more interactive than the old room,” she said, adding the lab also features a digital overhead projector.

“I’m really pleased about the digital overhead projector,” she said. “Before, we had an analog projector that had to translate digital information.”

Students can print their work on color and black and white laser printers. Two Epson inkjet printers also will be set up in the lab as soon as tables arrive on which they will be placed.

Bodenheimer’s office is just adjacent to the lab, making her easily accessible to students needing assistance. Just next door to Bodenheimer’s office is a 250-square-foot Graphic Design Resource Center. The Center contains graphic design periodicals and books, examples of graphic design work and other art resources. The Center serves as a work area for students preparing items for presentation.

“We didn’t have this before,” Bodenheimer said, acknowledging many of these resources previously were located in her office in Serena. “Now, they are accessible more freely.”

In the hallway outside the lab, the Graphic Design Resource Center and Bodenheimer’s office is tackboard for students to display their work. Track lighting to better highlight students’ work is to be installed in this display area in the near future, she said.