Student designer leaves artistic mark on campus

April 24, 2017

Written by Jeff Angileri   |  Photos by Craig Schreiner

Jordyn Schmidt and Matt KiederlenUW-Whitewater student Jordyn Schmidt and Chief of Police Matt Kiederlen pose with designs Schmidt created for university police vehicles on April 21, 2017.

You may not know it, but you've likely seen the graphic design work of Jordyn Schmidt all over the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus.

Football score graphics. Calendars featuring picturesque scenes of campus. Posters advertising new majors and minors. Printed programs for visiting speakers.

Even the new purple-clad outdoor food trailer — at the heavily trafficked heart of campus on Wyman Mall — bears her creative talents.

An art and journalism major from Geneva, Illinois, Schmidt works as a design intern with University Marketing and Media Relations. The office is charged with telling the story of our campus and uses everything from printed pieces to digital channels to share it.

In MMR, Schmidt has had rare opportunities to jump into extremely complex projects that designers normally wouldn't see until much later in their professional careers. In addition to the collaborative team experience — working with writers, editors, photographers and other designers — she's gained an understanding of the requirements of commercial printing and pre-press planning.

That's a huge plus for her when she enters into a very competitive job market, said Ed Gansen, art director.

"Jordyn has great creative sense of display typography and color, so I felt she was ready for unique design challenges," he said.

One of those challenges involved creating new designs for University Police Services squad cars.

"Our old design was about eight years old and it was time for a change that reflected the modernization and philosophy changes we have made over that time," said Chief Matt Kiederlen.

"When we initially sat down to discuss the details, Chief wanted something totally unique that strayed away from traditional designs," Schmidt said. "Knowing this, my intention was to create something unique while staying true to the identity of UW-Whitewater."

Kiederlen loves the new designs.

"I feel they are reflective of the connections we have to our community and the ‘move forward' philosophy of our department. The fact that a student, Jordyn, designed it makes it all that much better. It reinforces the campus community connection and shows her vision and capabilities."

Food trailer on Wyman MallGansen is proud of Schmidt's work and lives for the "a-ha" moments students experience under his mentorship.

"They learn so much about themselves because we push them to work at the very edges of their knowledge and ability, but we do it in a safe, supportive environment. I really enjoy watching the emerging talent and burgeoning confidence in students like Jordyn."

After graduating, Schmidt plans to pursue a career as a designer in an advertising agency with the same energy and work environment as MMR.

"Ed taught me so many things that I would have never learned in a classroom and gives me so many rewarding, hands-on projects. He truly makes MMR a fun and encouraging work place and I am very thankful to have him as a mentor," Schmidt said.

And she's grateful for the opportunity to leave such a visible legacy at UW-Whitewater.

"These projects mean the world to me. When I come back to UW-Whitewater in the future, I can always look for the food truck and vehicle wraps to remind me of all the wonderful people in MMR who believed in me and gave me the opportunity to grow as a designer."