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Faces of the CVPA – Zack Brodie '13


Zach Brodie photographed by Elzabeth Dreher.

Meet Zach Brodie, a senior graphic design major who is a CVPA student designer. This past summer before coming to work with us, he designed as well as provided the poster image for the annual CVPA brochure. Currently he designs many of the RU Art Museum and the Department of Dance posters, among other projects. He also designs for RU Athletics.

We asked him 10 questions about design and photography. Here are his answers.

1 (a). What do you enjoy about graphic design?
With graphic design, I love seeing a blank “canvas” turn into something that is usable or informational to others.

1 (b). What do you enjoy about photography?

I express my thoughts and feelings more with photography. I enjoy the psychological aspect of conceptualizing a photograph.

2. At what age did you begin pursuing photography and graphic design?

I started playing around with cameras out of curiosity during my early high school years. My interest in graphic design came a little later in high school.

3. What inspired you to pursue this career path (in relation to graphic design)?

During a basic graphics class in high school, I realized that I enjoyed using the programs and found that I had a talent for arranging elements and making good design choices. I’ve always been a very technologically savvy person so mixing that with my artistic ability was a huge plus.

4. How would you describe your design style?

I don't feel as if I have a particular style I design by, but I will say that I place a lot of my focus on type. Bad typography can ruin an otherwise great piece, so I make sure I back up any graphics I create with equal or better type skills.

5. Do you get your inspiration for your pieces from a specific artist? If so, who?

It depends on the project. I like to look at historical and contemporary artist’s work for inspiration for each piece. But I have used Jerry Uselman for photography and Paul Rand for graphic design on more than one occasion in the past.

6. How does it make you feel to see a piece of your work displayed?

On one hand, it gives me a boost in my confidence for future works, but mostly I hope that someone comes away from seeing my work with a feeling or viewpoint that they’ve never thought about before. In the case of pieces such as the CVPA calendar, I enjoy knowing that it is making people’s lives easier by having a lot of useful information in one design.

7. What led you to choose the piece for the "Be Illuminated" CVPA calendars?

That image is actually a part of a larger series of digital photographs I created for a previous project. I felt that the image was a good visual representation of what the tagline is trying to convey. To become illuminated, as an artist, is to become inspired and create work to the artists full potential. As artists, our hands are a large part of the creation process.

I thought about the piece’s usability just as much as its aesthetic appeal. I designed it so that if a person was only interested in events from a specific department, they could fold it down to display only that section. I also wanted it to work just as well displayed as a full spread. My other focus was staying true to the CVPA’s branding, but still adding some of my personal taste to the design.

8. How did you get the job as the graphic designer for the athletics department? How would you describe your style of graphics for the athletics department?

I actually found out about the job for the Athletic Department through a post on Facebook. It seemed like a really good opportunity and a good experience that future employers will look at. I have a different mindset when I design for the athletic department. They have to have a totally different look than an advertisement for an art gallery. The designs have to portray strength, power and speed. The layouts are image heavy which might be the only similarity between these designs and designs for the CVPA.

9. Where are you from originally?

I am from a small town called Martinsville, Va., which is about an hour and a half southeast of Radford.

10. What do you plan to do after you graduate?

Since I have experience in both graphic design and photography, I am going to be keeping my options open for a job in either field. Eventually I would like to return to school to get my MFA in photography and possibly teach.

Nov 4, 2013

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