Graphic design students at Boise State have been working relentlessly this semester to prepare for their Popshop events. In an effort to foster skills needed in their field, raise money for their program and make some cash for themselves, these students have each created a product to sell in a market setting. From tea to t-shirts, the members of this program present their unique interests in each product made.
Popshop allows graphic design students to apply the tools they have been learning in a real-world environment. This was not first year that the Boise State Graphic Design Program has put on Popshop. It is however, the first time it has been presented in an elective class aptly named “Applied Projects in Graphic Design”.
In this class the students had the liberty to decide what direction they wished to take their studies. All sources stated the class unanimously agreed that doing Popshop would be the best use of their class time.
Clara Gray, a senior in the Graphic Design Program, said, “We had done Popshop last year, and it was really rewarding.”
This year the graphic design Popshop has already participated in Wintry Market held at JUMP, Oct. 17 through 19. Gray asserted that this market was incredibly successful and got the participating students excited for the final market. This next market is the Hip Holiday Market that will be held at the Flying M located in Nampa on Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. With one market down and one to go, these students look forward to seeing their final result.
The participants saw the opportunity to apply their newfound graphic design and business skills, and jumped at the chance to implement them.
“I like designing and selling my own products. It is something that I want to continue to do after graduation,” said senior Mikayla Higley, “Popshop is a nice way to get your feet wet without fully committing like you would if you were doing a similar thing for yourself.”
Gray expressed her agreement saying, “It’s a really good experience for students to see the business side of design. You get to learn how to make a product by hand.”
Most of the students knew what to expect going into the project. Although the class is open to new members of the program, almost the whole class is made up of seniors.
“Going into the class, it was kind of intimidating knowing that I was one of the only two juniors going in. It turned out to be an advantage because I didn’t have to ask Brian whenever I was unsure. I could go to my classmates with my questions about the process,” said junior Camille Poynter.
This intimidation did not stop Poynter from voting to do Popshop during the class this semester. “I saw Popshop happening last year while I was applying to the program with a lot of other students, and we got to see what the students a year a head of us we working on from afar,” Poynter said.
While these students agree that Popshop is rewarding, it can be challenging as well. With everything that the students invest in the final product, it is no wonder they are so invested in the process.
“My challenge on my own product was finding a balance with everything in my own life. You inherently have more invested in your product. You’ve spent your actual money to put into the final product,” Higley said.
As part of their grade, each student must keep track of the hours they spend on the project outside of class. Higley explained this timesheet and the hours she spent on Popshop. While at the beginning she worked about three to five hours a week, she has been logging up to 35 hours a week over the past few weeks in preparation for the markets.
Gray expressed a similar sentiment, saying, “If you let it, the class will take up all of your time. It’s a lot to deal with.”
With the struggles in time management in such a large project, it has been vital to the students participating that they receive meaningful guidance. Gray and Higley expressed their gratitude for assistant professor Brian Wiley and his continued instruction.
“We are lucky to have a professor like Brian who encourages us to try new techniques. He encouraged us to step outside of our comfort zones,” Higley said.
With the help of their instructor, these students have been able to sell products that they have worked hard to create and brand. They have taken full advantage of this learning opportunity.
“It’s been pretty rewarding to see it all come together,” Gray said.