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MIAD Illustration students design ‘amazing’ posters for Trek

“Amazing” is how Collin Grotenhuis, creative director at Trek Brand, describes the posters created by MIAD junior Illustration students in the third year of a collaborative partnership between the college and the international bicycle corporation.

“We give all of the students the same design criteria in final poster size but how they bring the subject matter to life is up to them,” Grotenhuis explains. “We are always amazed at how many different ways the themes are brought to life and the ideas that are presented in each student’s early concept sketches.”

The fall 2023 collaboration challenged the students to design a contemporary poster that honors the history of cycling posters and announces one of six Trek-sponsored rides.

“Students looked at the long history of bicycle posters to create designs that bring their individual voice to the themed rides, but also pay homage to the long tradition of bike posters,” says Illustration professor Christiane Grauert. “Students were then challenged to create professional-level process work which they shared with the client. Each student presented two concepts for the themed ride they were assigned, from which Trek picked one and provided feedback. Providing students with real-life working experiences is a strong objective in the junior Illustration curriculum.”

From 100 student entries, Trek selected seven winning designs by students Rylee Calvert, Loryn Dittlof, Bella Mikkelson, Ana Nevels, Eli Oestreich, Brenda Olayo and Audrey Viste.

“I was heavily inspired by vintage riding posters from the Art Nouveau Era,” says Bella Mikkelson, who is pursuing MIAD’s Illustration/Animation track and whose poster was selected for the Spring Classic ride. “The central composition references religious framing to emphasize the euphoric and spiritual feeling of achieving a goal.”

Brenda Olayo, whose work was also selected for the Spring Classic, says, “I have always loved to work with shapes and lines in my artwork. So, for this piece, I wanted to bring that abstraction, but that feeling of speed, movement and excitement to my piece as well. I loved figuring out how to take my work to the next level at every stage.”

“This project gave me a great opportunity to be both professional and creative in a real client environment,” says Rylee Calvert, whose Earth Day design was selected. “I worked alongside Trek and my professors to create a strong body of work that I’m very proud of.”

“Trek and the Brand Creative team see this collaboration as a way to build relationships with student talent here in Wisconsin, and hopefully build a pipeline that may lead them to interest in a career at Trek,” says Grotenhis. “We recognize the level of creatives coming out of the MIAD programs and would love to keep that talent in Wisconsin.”

Learn more about MIAD’s Illustration major.

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