College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Graphic Design

Kristen Vise

Kristen Vise, a University of Mississippi art major with a concentration in graphic design, has gained a great appreciation for the value of interdisciplinary collaboration as it relates to design and the built environment, the manmade surroundings that define everyday life.  The exploratory approach to education, encouraged by the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the Department of Art, and the College of Liberal Arts, has been instrumental in Vise’s realization that she is drawn to work that combines the perspectives of individuals from a variety of fields of study. At the University of Ulster’s School of Art and Design in Northern Ireland, where she studied in 2010, she discovered the close relationship between graphic communication and architecture and how it affects the way we use and view a space.

“I am excited about the possibilities of working collaboratively with professionals from a variety of creative disciplines,” Vise said. “Both the connection between seemingly unrelated things that I have learned in and out of class, and my exploratory research on collaborative environment design projects between visual communication designers and architects has led to my interest in design that crosses disciplinary lines.”

According to Vise, the academic culture of the College of Liberal Arts has nurtured her creativity and helped to change the way she views the world.

“The curriculum encourages exploration and exposure to so many ideas and subjects,” she said. “Things I have learned in history, literature, biology, Russian, political science, psychology, art and art history find their way back into my art and design work.”

Virginia Chavis, Associate Professor of Art, compliments Vise on her creative thinking and creating life choices that influence her design work.

“Kristen’s work is influenced by personal experiences and the world around her and not solely by what design annuals and the internet provide,” said Chavis. “She travels and collects found objects, witnesses events first hand and then uses those items as a springboard in her research.  A good designer truly understands who he/she is designing for and utilizes her ability to develop thoughtful concepts.

“Kristen is also able to express her thoughts with drawing, technology and craft skills. Her work isn’t just a well-composed design on paper either.  Kristen works in such a way that she is able to find the best vehicle to express her ideas whether that be a handmade book, a plaster sculpture or a photograph of a tiny installation.  But she still makes really great t-shirts and business cards too.”

Vise also acknowledges the role the faculty has played in her creative and academic development. “My skills and knowledge of the art world, and my development as an artist, designer and illustrator, are all attributable to the leadership and encouragement I received. It has helped me to grow as an artist and as a person.”

Vise, a native of Jackson, is the recipient of a 2011 Hearin Foundation Scholarship and a Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Fellowship. She received an Award of Excellence in 2009 for her entry in the Mississippi Collegiate Art Competition, and she is an Academic Excellence Scholar and Luckyday Scholar for 2007-2011.

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Graphic design student Kristen Vise talks about her enjoyment of drawing and graphic design, including her own brand ideas.  Video created by UM student, Lauryn Duvalle.