Photo courtesy of Ben Rodriguez

This example of Rodriguez's holiday card displays his design style.


December 7, 2015

Student design selected for president's holiday card

At the time of year when people start sending out their holiday cards to friends and family, Cleveland State University student Ben Rodriguez found himself designing one instead.

Rodriguez, a graphic design and studio art major, was asked at the beginning of November to create the holiday card on behalf of President Ronald M. Berkman for Cleveland State.

With just two weeks and three critiques to come up with an interesting, non-denominational greeting card, he immediately began sketching and absorbing inspiration. The experience left him feeling what the pressure of a real timeline for design projects might be like.

“There was a lot of pressure for the little time I felt I had, on top of all the obligations I had,” Rodriguez said.

Besides the burden of time and the few critiques that he was given to perfect the card, other difficult aspects of the project included trying to get an idea he liked and the seemingly countless alterations after the card was actually chosen.

“I had 11 different designs and the one that I was content with was the last concept, which was the one that was chosen,” Rodriguez said.

In spite of the extra stress, Rodriguez was honored to design the card and enjoyed the freedom to create whatever he wanted, as long as it fit within the culture of the university.

“To design something in a bigger scale was a little intimidating, but I wanted the experiment,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve always loved illustrating as a hobby, especially holiday things. I knew that this was different — it was exciting.”

Rodriguez also got the experience of working with a high profile client, learned more about prioritizing his likes and dislikes, and being organized enough to make last-minute changes.

Overall, he was happy with how the card turned out. Especially after seeing it go through the printing press at Genie Repros this past week with his design class.

“It is different to see the physical product, in this case on metallic paper, than on screen,” Rodriguez said. “After it was out of my hands, I was relieved. Going through this whole process and seeing the final product was rewarding.”


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