Campus Spotlight: McGill Design Collective

Purposeful design determines the user-friendliness of websites, the efficacy of advertisements, and the accessibility of buildingsand McGill is home to many students who are passionate about it. For Carrie Rong, U2 Science, graphic design is both an interest and an outlet for her creative side, which is often otherwise neglected during the school year. A year ago, she began to tinker with graphic design software to create promotional material such as posters and a website for the Physiology Undergraduate League of Students (PULS), where she is currently the Communications Director. Her interest even led to a summer internship in product design. Rong lamented the lack of a community for design-minded individuals like herself at McGill.

“I realized [that] there seemed to be no one to talk to about design with,” Rong said. “I wanted to bring creative people together to show McGill what good design is [and use our foundation of skills to] change the design here.”

Sensing this lack of space for creatives on campus, Rong founded the McGill Design Collective as a home where designers at McGill could congregate. The first goal of the club, which aspires to be “McGill’s premiere creative agency,” is to advise other clubs on good design. Rong wants to work with student groups on campus because she noticed that many groups made posters and websites that were not effective or aesthetically pleasing. She hopes that she and her fellow Design Collective members will soon be able to take requests from both clubs and local startups to create material that incorporates their clients’ requests into while applying smart design principles.

The collective also aims to teach and challenge its member base, which is currently composed of 20 people with experience in various forms of design such as graphic design, web design, and photography. For beginners, the Design Collective will host workshops introducing common design software such as Adobe Illustrator and Figma. For more advanced members, the collective is giving a monthly design challenge to help foster creative growth. With these initiatives, Rong hopes to achieve the slogan of their group: “Let’s Make McGill Beautiful.” 

“A designer’s mindset is to iterate upon things that can be improved,” Rong said. “The Design Collective aims to enable its members to go out [on campus], take projects from clubs, and make them more beautiful.”

For the group, beautifying McGill’s clubs means creating design that has meaning and purpose. An example of purposeful design is choosing colours that express a certain sentiment or characteristic, such as using blue to convey tranquility. Rong envisions that the collective sets a precedent to incorporate good design principles for promotional materials at McGill, such as complementary colours and thoughtful use of negative space. She also hopes to have the collective’ members inspire others to strive for more meaningful use of design. 

With the goal of making McGill a place with more deliberate design, the club is starting this fall with weekly meetings that alternate between workshops and “Design and Donuts,” an event for like-minded creatives to come together and evaluate each others’ design pieces. A permanent meeting place and time has not been set, but students can keep up with this up-and-coming design club on their Facebook page

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