Showcase for graduating University of Akron graphic design students goes virtual


Augment virtual show

For graphic design students in the Class of 2020 at The University of Akron, four years of study culminates in a portfolio – a collection of their best work. Everything from print-based designs, to web and interface design, to illustration, photography and videography make up the portfolio of each of the 31 graduating seniors that would traditionally be presented in person on campus.

This year, the Class of 2020 had to improvise.

The show will now be virtual. Titled “Augment: 31 Graphic Designers Enhancing Reality,” it opens online May 8 at 6 p.m. and closes on May 29. Viewers can visit and once there, they will experience a 3-D virtual gallery. Each student will have their own designated position on the wall, and attendees will be able to “walk” through the show for a virtual experience.

Show evolves with creativity

“Initially intended to display work physically, the show evolved into something no one could have anticipated,” says Melissa Olson, manager of student affairs at UA’s Myers School of Art. “Although the change was abrupt, it was exactly what our graphic designers have been trained for — approaching design in an innovative way. COVID-19 made them adapt the exhibition’s ideas with creative solutions to preserve their vision and show the world what designers do — solve problems.”

The students spent the last four years making projects in hopes that they would go into their portfolio. Holding the show virtually this year was something they never anticipated.

“The showcase is much more important to us now because we have to adjust to what is happening and turn it into something that has never been done before,” notes Abigail Palombo, a graduating senior from Canton and the 2020 winner of the $1,000 American Advertising Federation Scholarship. “The pandemic allowed us to create more opportunities and reach a broader audience.”

“Augment is the idea of enhancement,” explains Palombo. “This name not only reflects our profession, but how we as individuals conceptualize design. While we are capable of standing on our own, ‘Augment’ as a whole presents how we can supplement each other as a team. Together, we enhance, impact and define the creative reality we live in.”

To hiring agencies and other potential employers, Olson declares, “While our graduating students are not able to shake your hand and introduce themselves, they're still here and ready to augment your team.”

Related: Read about the 15 UA students who were among the winners of the 2020 American Advertising Federation-Akron awards.

Media contact: Lisa Craig, 330-972-7429 or