Media Arts Students Talk Branding with Professional Graphic Designer

Sophomores and juniors in the Media Arts II class met virtually last week with graphic designer Katell Schmitz, founder of brand and web design studio Reverielane, to learn about branding, graphic design careers, and receive personal feedback on their work.

In this special Q&A session, students seized the opportunity to ask questions of Schmitz, whose 10 years in entrepreneurship have included work with clients around the world. Schmitz shared her professional journey and the process of embracing her calling as a creative and artist, as well as how she discovered the world of branding and graphic design during her master’s degree program in project management.

A key element of Schmitz’s philosophy is working with a variety of industries while embracing various styles. “I love the richness of learning about different industries and bringing different perspectives that they don’t have,” she told students. “I like the idea of bringing something new each time.” While she did not attend school for the principles of graphic design, Schmitz learned the basics of art and design through experience, utilizing concepts such as the psychology of color when developing and applying a client’s visual identity. “You have to take principles of art and creativity and use them as a tool to express and convey [the] right emotion – and bring people to feel something and make a certain decision.”

Schmitz spent significant time discussing the creative process, and strategies to manage it, identify roadblocks, and overcome any obstacles — including the emotional vulnerability that comes with being a creative professional. “I can get stuck because I worry, as this is people’s livelihood — how they make money, how they support families and employees. They are dependent on what I come up with. Strategy can get emotional for me,” she shared. The creative process, she noted, requires its own timing and grace, and cannot be forced. Schmitz emphasized that allowing creativity to take its course often requires flexible deadlines, and is not a reflection on one’s worth as an artist or human. “We really need to honor ourselves in that and not push in that way,” she reflected. “We are a tool, and we need to take care of that tool. It’s not saying anything negative about you being capable of doing these things.”

Currently, Media Arts II students are working on visual identity projects for an imagined business, comprised of creative briefs, color palettes, typography, designed assets, and more. Their branding projects, which they shared with Schmitz for feedback, include:

  • Children's art studio
  • Custom surfboard company
  • A music festival
  • Environmentally friendly beauty product line
  • A high-end fashion boutique
  • A restaurant based in Martha's Vineyard
  • Record label
  • Child care service
  • Cafe
  • Eco-friendly candle product line
  • Activewear brand for women
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's inspired cafe

“An opportunity like this, for students to receive project feedback, is truly amazing, as Katell Schmitz has been a brand designer for many years — and can help students revise and strengthen their portfolio based on professional knowledge and expertise,” remarks Sophie Miller, Middle and Upper School Art Teacher. “She is passionate about helping young artists and entrepreneurs find their voice and calling as creatives.”

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