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Curricular collaborations offer MIAD students a chance to work on real-world projects

May 15, 2019

MILWAUKEE (May 15, 2019) … Upon graduation, all MIAD students have had opportunities to work with Milwaukee area companies and organizations on real-world projects.

That’s especially true of Communication Design and Illustration students, who collaborated with seven outside groups on curricular projects in the Spring 2019 semester alone, including Colectivo, Trusted Media Brands, Fromm Family Foods and 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. Some of the projects are parts of years-long collaborations.

Dale Shidler, MIAD’s Chair of 2D/4D design, said giving students professional experiences while they’re at MIAD is a top priority.

Colectivo winners

Colectivo winners

“In programs other places, students may only work with a professional partner once, at the end of their academic career. At MIAD, this happens several times throughout their time here,” Shidler said.


For the fourth consecutive year, Illustration seniors reimagined Colectivo Coffee cups with their own designs. Colectivo’s creative team chose four that appear on their cups at Milwaukee locations in May 2019. Winning designs were created by Hannah Kirchen, Mike Larson, Gian Livado and Sid Ylagan.

By Harley Reif


With alumna Maggie Connors facilitating, MIAD collaborated with Trusted Media Brands, the label behind Taste of Home, Country Woman and Reminisce Extra magazines, for the third year.

Students received a story from one of those magazines and illustrated it within the size and style requirements. One illustration for each story was chosen and published in the respective magazines.

Work of students Gian Livado, Harley Reif, Ari Stratman and Emily Verbeten were chosen to appear in Country Woman and Reminisce Extra this year.

Connors, a Trusted Media Brands employee who is also a MIAD alumna and adjunct faculty member, knows firsthand how MIAD prepares its students for the real world.

“I fully understand that MIAD not only teaches the fundamentals but also teaches the students to grow to be young professionals.”

Jess Schindler

Jess Schindler


For the second year, Fromm Family Foods asked Illustration students to create posters for their annual Petfest event, held on the Summerfest grounds.

Jess Schindler earned first place with her poster, which will serve as the official limited edition commemorative poster and be on sale at Petfest. Joanna Garcia’s and Hannah Kirchen’s designs were named runners up. All student designs will be on view at the event, September 21, 2019.


Communication Design students taking the Advertising Design course worked with 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, marking the second time that MIAD and the radio station have collaborated.

The assignment challenged students to brand four of Radio Milwaukee’s on-air programs, including the creation of promotional items and customer-focused messaging in the form of posters and bus shelter advertising.

After a round of presentations in front of 88Nine staff and on-air personalities, the work of Max Omsin and Briana Nguyen received top honors. 88Nine plans to implement the students’ work into their website and promotional items for a summer campaign.

Professor Tony Seaman thinks the MIAD and 88Nine collaboration is special, and continues to evolve.

“Last year’s project was really about promoting 88Nine overall to new audiences. This year’s project moved beyond general awareness and into specific programming, so the students had to consider a different audience and how to effectively reach them with a specific message.”

New collaborations come to fruition every year, too. This year, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin launched a t-shirt design competition for Illustration students. Senior Lauren Kiser designed the winning shirt, which the nonprofit organization is now selling online. Senior Kati Treu took second place.

About MIAD: As an accredited, nonprofit college, MIAD provides a transformative Bachelor of Fine Arts education that prepares students of diverse backgrounds for fulfilling and financially rewarding careers. MIAD fosters innovative, entrepreneurial and disruptive thinking that benefits our students and our corporate and nonprofit partners. MIAD also brings robust career pathways and college-readiness experiences to high school youth and provides cultural experiences and programming to the Greater Milwaukee community.