Alum to speak about life in graphic design


MSUM alumnus Travis Olson will visit campus tomorrow night to speak at the Art and Design Colloquium Event: “Design for humans” at 7 p.m. in King Hall 110.

The McVille, N.D., native left school in 1997 to pursue an opportunity in design and came back in 2007 to finish his BFA. Although Olson did not know anything about the field when he started at MSUM, he began to find his passion in design during his sophomore year.

“I really had an emotional moment the first intro to graphic design class I had,” Olson said. “It was the perfect blend of problem solving and creativity. I’ve never even considered another path once I landed on this one.”

Olson made design history at the agency, mono, by being the first graphic designer hired at the business. While at mono, Olson found great success. He assisted the agency in winning multiple Agency of the Year awards and helped it grow from 5 to 65 employees. He a l s o worked with b r a n d s such as A p p l e , Nike, USA Network, the Science Channel and several others. During his lecture, he plans to share his passion for design and he hopes he will inspire others to see the importance of the craft.

“I want to share some of my experiences working on projects and for clients that have resulted in broadening the definitions of design,” Olson said. “I think that designers have a pretty unique skill set that can be invaluable to today’s diverse societal problems and unique business challenges.”

Now out of the agency circuit, Olson has opened his own business in Minneapolis.

“I recently have decided to start my own business, Acre,” Olson said. “I’m 3 weeks in and it’s incredibly exciting. My first project involves empowering farmers with digital tools and data management systems that allow for greater control in their operations.”

Art and design professor Thomas Anstadt thought Olson was the perfect choice to speak at the colloquium this year. Though a few years older, Anstadt was at MSUM at the same time as Olson. He also has brought his art and design students to meet Olson on various occasions during tours the department takes to Minneapolis.

“He really has a great reputation down in Minneapolis as a creative leader,” Anstadt said.

Along with his lecture at the colloquium, Olson will conduct portfolio reviews on Thursday and a workshop on Friday with graphic design students.


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