Annual Picnic, Annual Project
Professor Ron Riksen has been teaching graphic design at Kendall for 40 years, and for 25 of them, his graphic design classes have participated in a rite of spring: Designing the annual picnic poster for law firm Varnum Riddering Schmidt & Howlett.
The poster’s requirements are fairly simple. It needs to include the date and location of the picnic, the firm’s name (recently shortened to the single word “Varnum”) and measure 12 inches by 18 inches.
“In some years, the poster has reflected the picnic’s theme, in others, the poster mirrors the location,” says Riksen. “I always like to take students up to the second floor hallway near the atrium where all the past posters are displayed, so they can see how the different themes and locations have been graphically represented over the years,” says Riksen.
As we toured the gallery together, Ricksen pointed to the first poster, which was composed of torn strips of blue paper. “Many of the early ones were hand-done,” he said. “We didn’t have computers when we first started. In a way, this gallery is a mini-timeline of graphic design.”
This year’s picnic will be held at the Blandford Nature Center, and the winning designer is sophomore Kate Folkert. “Usually juniors or seniors win the competition,” Ricksen said. “But the judges were really drawn to Kate’s design.”
When printed, Folkert’s poster, which, like previous winners, will have her name incorporated into the design, will take its place in Kendall’s second-floor Varnum picnic poster gallery.
– Pamela Patton