Emma Lesser (left) , a third-year graphic design student from East Hampton, New York and Katherine Driver (right), a fourth-year, graphic design student from Evanston, Illinois. Photo by Crosby Ignasher.

Emma Lesser (left) , a third-year graphic design student from East Hampton, New York, and Katherine Stover (right), a fourth-year graphic design student from Evanston, Illinois, attended the Secession.

Photos by Crosby Ignasher

Featured image project by Ruzanna Rozman

Classes may have ended last Thursday, but the halls of Adler were still bustling for the Secession later in the day. The Secession is a juried show featuring the works of graduating and recently graduated seniors.

Students and parents alike crammed into classrooms to look at the posters, book covers, brochures and maps. There were several iPads available for guests to view the student-designed apps as well.

“Bringing [parents] here makes it far more real as opposed to posting your own work in Behance,” explained Katherine Stover, a fourth-year graphic design student from Evanston, Illinois. Stover was one of the Secessionists, or student coordinators. Not only did her parents get to see her designs on an iPad, but they also got to “experience what [she] made.”

Shawna Mansfield, an eLearning student who drove up from her hometown in Gainsville, Florida, was impressed with some of the work featured in the exhibit. “There are lots of cool stuff that I haven’t seen before,” she said. “There are pieces that stop you in your tracks … I like to take pictures of them to remember them and be inspired by them later on.”

The theme of this year’s Secession was refinement. According to Stover, when the student coordinators started working on the event back in January, the theme “just felt right.” She explained that it wasn’t difficult to apply the theme because refinement played a huge role in the design process.

Jason Fox, chair of the graphic design department, handed out the awards later in the evening. Justin Toward, a graduate eLearning student from New Haven, Connecticut, was the first recipient of the bronze award for his work “The Age of Stimulation.” Mansfield also won for “The Little Things.” Liz Roberts, a fourth-year from Alexandria, Virginia, won for “Ever After Point.”

Visitors crowd around as awards are handed out. Photo by Crosby Ignasher.

Visitors crowd around as awards are handed out.

The silver award was given to the “Dia Art Foundation,” designed by Medini Cardenas, a fourth-year from Guadalajara, Mexico. Brenna Kaplan, a fourth-year from Marlborough, Connecticut, Andrew Lainhart from Royston, Georgia, Shaun Oppedisano from Malden, Massachusetts, and Grace Washko from Wayzata, Minnesota, also won a silver award for their “Passport to Nature” branding campaign.

Pattapong Mekavarakul, a fourth-year graphic design major from Chonburi, Thailand, received the gold award for “Right Person, Wrong Time.” Aside from winning, his typographic series was featured as the cover of this year’s Secession brochure.

This year also marked the first time the Secession had an app for students to download and show off their work to family and friends.

Aside from handing awards to the students, Fox also gave a special award to Bob Newman, a graphic design professor who is retiring at the end of the year. Fox called him a “huge part” of the graphic design program and applauded Newman’s visual literacy and work ethic. When Newman went forward to receive the award, he was met with a loud applause, whistles and someone from the back who shouted “No!” in dismay.

After the awards, Fox told the soon-to-be graduates that “your job never ends as a student. This is the biggest pleasure you’ll have as a designer.” He explained that being a student was integrated into their lifestyle and was part of their well-being.

His advice for the seniors was a quote from the German monk Boniface Wimmer: “Forward. Always forward. Never look back.”

Fox thanked the students for being a part of his and the rest of the faculty’s lives for the past four years and said, “You’ll always have a place to come back. You’ll always be welcomed here.”