Every May term, Grand View University offers a trip abroad and because of 818’s experience with environmental graphics and branding, paired with our alumni connection with the university, I was invited to attend this year’s trip to Zhuhai, China with Grand View’s design students.

The architecture school at Jilin University Zhuhai College hosted the American students during their stay and paired Grand View design students with Chinese architecture students for a 5 week course that included printmaking, a rebranding project, and an introduction to Chinese culture.

I was able to bring the knowledge of 818 to the courses and specifically helped facilitate the rebranding project which focused on Jilin University itself and their goal to increase their population of international students. As international travelers, the Grand View students brought a unique perspective to the project as well as a combination of web, layout, wayfinding  and environmental graphic design.

The challenge and biggest learning experience was taking the concepts we know as American designers and applying and observing them in a new culture. It was fascinating to see areas of design from type to architecture to wayfinding in such a new way.

We are looking forward to seeing our friends from Zhuhai soon as some of the architecture students will be coming to Des Moines this winter to study American architecture!