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For students, by students: MacEwan design students give the griff a makeover

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Each year Constanza Pacher’s DESN 317 publication design class takes on the challenge of redesigning the griff.

“What we were basically tasked with doing was taking the griff and reimagining it while also staying true to what the magazine is about; it’s ‘by MacEwan students, for MacEwan students (tagline),’” says Erin Bennett, this year’s third-place winner, “so we had to keep that in the forefront while also turning it into something new.”

This year, the students either redesigned an already existing issue or put together a special edition of the griff using articles from various issues. 

Once the projects were done, the griff staff determined the top three redesigns and awarded the winners first, second, and third place.

I chatted with this year’s winners to see what inspired their redesigns, what they wanted to convey, and what they wanted to do with design degrees after graduation.

Anne Morin, who won first place, says she was inspired by “good vibes” and that she “just wanted to represent the student body in a fun way.” Her design features bright sketches made using Adobe Illustrator. She says that to her, “post-secondary is very based on conformity, and I just wanted to break that and … make something that is fun to look at.” 

She also had a lot of fun making it and says, “as long as someone has fun with a project, the viewer is also going to have fun looking at it.” 

Although career-wise, Morin isn’t quite sure where she’s headed, she does see herself “flying high” and “reaching (her) dreams” once she graduates.

Grace Zimmel, who won second place, was inspired by the zine esthetic. She says it “was really popular with feminist riot grrrl culture, so it’s a really fun esthetic.” Her redesign features zines scrapbook, homemade, and feminist aspects.

“I think working with the grid with this one was a little bit different,” she says, “because, with zines, it’s kind of haphazard because it’s just a collage basically, so aligning that with a magazine was interesting because of balancing order and legibility with the collage part of it.”

After her last year of school, Zimmel is excited to jump into the workforce. “I’m kind of conflicted now because I do a bunch of, like, web UX/UI design, so I’m kind of in that space as well as publication design,” Zimmel says, “so I’d love to just work at an agency that does both.”

Grace Zimmel’s zine-inspired magazine

Lastly, Erin Bennett, a fourth-year student, won third place with her food-inspired issue of the griff. Originally from Winnipeg, Bennett has lived in residence during most of her time at school. 

“When we were tasked with this (assignment), and we were looking through all the articles that the griff has, I was really attracted to aspects about food and wellness. I guess because I’m living in residence, so obviously I’m living away from home, I have less kitchen space to work with so it’s definitely something I miss from living at home is being able to go to the kitchen and cook something with, like, a full oven and everything. I was definitely drawing inspiration from … my own experience at university and just trying to make food instead of just ordering out all the time.”

Her redesign features retro vibes, warm colours, and comfort food.

After she graduates this spring, Bennett is heading back to Winnipeg to start networking and making connections with the design community there. 

Erin Bennett’s food-inspired magazine

Images supplied. Cover image: Anne Morin’s winning design.

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