This fall, the Themester program gave away free resilience posters at events such as the College of Arts and Sciences Expo and First Thursday. The posters were conceptualized last year by Lauren Gronek, who was a graphic design student at the time. Gronek also designed a Themester 2020 Democracy poster and was a Themester intern in fall 2019.
An interview with Lauren Gronek, who graduated in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, is below.
What does the theme of resilience mean to you?
Gronek: To me, resilience means being able to adapt well to any situation. I imagine it visually as an elastic band that snaps back quickly to as it was before. Whatever type of resilience it be, I believe it boils down to being able to overcome obstacles and withstand pressure.
You've been involved with Themester for a few years now. What made this year different for you?
Gronek: This year has been different for me because it is a topic that I really care about and something I have focused my personal work on.
Which is your favorite of the 2021 Themester posters? Why?
Gronek: My favorite poster is the color/shape gradient. I was proud of the way I was able to create a visually pleasing poster with color and shape that also communicated clearly the theme of resilience without any words needing to be used.
In comparison with the 2020 Democracy poster series, the posters for the Resilience theme are more abstract. What motivated this direction?
Gronek: The abstraction of the posters felt most appropriate for this theme. Resilience is so broad and can mean so much, I felt the posters needed to be able to communicate the overall message of resilience rather than push a certain meaning that dialed in on just one of the aspects of the theme.
What challenged you about creating these designs for the resilience theme? Why?
Gronek: The biggest challenge was the ambiguity of the theme. Where democracy brought about clear imagery in the mind, resilience is a bit less clear. This is a good thing but also a challenge visually, where I had to think of shapes, colors, and compositions that were able to paint a clear picture of a more abstract topic.
Walk me through how you created these designs. What's your creative process like? What programs do you use?
Gronek: My creative process includes visual research and brainstorming sketches to find effective compositions. I thought of many ways that the idea of resilience could look. That actually meant doing things like bouncing a ball and snapping an elastic band to see how the movement looked and could be captured. Peer feedback always helps to dial in on my message and overall craft. I reiterated colors a few times to capture the right feel for each poster.
You graduated in May 2021. What are you doing now?
Gronek: Right after graduation I began a job as a junior graphic designer at a brand agency in Northwest, Indiana, where I am working on creating brand identities for companies from small to large scale in a multitude of industries.