The Catholic University of America

Showing Their Artistic Flair

  9/11 service day

(Left to Right) Donna Hobson, Kristin Reavey, and Lara Fredrickson check the proofs on the fall issue of The Catholic University of America Magazine.

Lara Fredrickson and Kristin Reavey

Graphic Designers

Office of Publications and Design Services

“At the staff Christmas party, I know everybody,” says Kristin Reavey, senior graphic designer in the Office of Publications and Design Services. That’s because sooner or later Catholic University’s graphic designers will cross paths with a representative from just about every department, office, and school within the University. From invitations to banners to posters to brochures to the lettering on the police cars, they’ve had an artistic hand in nearly every printed communication produced by the University.

On a fall afternoon, Lara Fredrickson, graphic designer, sits at her desk reading the script for the Department of Drama’s upcoming production of Brutus (an abridged version of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare). Earlier in the week she met with Deb Hanselman, business manager in the Department of Drama, and Allison Fuentes, who edited the script and is directing the play as part of her M.F.A. thesis.

Hanselman and Fuentes explain that the abridged script tells the story from Brutus’ point of view. “We come to understand why Brutus had to kill Caesar. There is a dreamscape featuring the ghosts of Caesar and his wife, Portia,” explains Fuentes.

Fredrickson takes notes, asks questions, and absorbs their ideas and concepts. The research leads her to what she calls the “best part of her job — the creative process.”

She will play with images, color, texture, and typography as she develops design concepts for what will become ads, posters, programs, and even table tents for the Food Court. The goal, she says, “is to capture the essence of the play in a way that makes an impact, whether subtle or bold, and entices audiences to take a seat to see Brutus.”

“I’m lucky,” says Frederickson, who has a background in art history and an M.F.A. in graphic design. “I’m actually working in a job that utilizes my training and degree. Not everyone can say that.”

“Unlike a commercial studio setting, at CUA we have the same goals as our clients. We are all invested in looking out for the University,” says Reavey. And that’s allowed her to form long-term working relationships and friendships throughout the University. Reavey says her job satisfaction comes from completing a project that “excites me and my client.”

She points to one such project that she recently completed for the School of Architecture and Planning. The piece, which promotes the school and its programs, has many intricacies and surprises. The folder features a creative use of typography and images. It has pockets containing information handouts, elegant post cards, and a four-panel brochure describing the school’s programs. Reavey gets excited as she removes the pieces from the folder and opens it into a large poster with a beautiful image taken from inside the Crough Center.

The folder that becomes a poster points to the creativity of a designer’s job. But there is the mundane as well, says Reavey. “There’s paperwork, printers’ bids, and postal regulations,” she says. The designer team, which also includes Director of Publications Donna Hobson, can sometimes be working on up to 40 jobs among them at any one time.

With that pace they savor the opportunities to create designs that represent every facet of the University. And sometimes that means you can find them at every corner of the University. “For one job, I went up to the bell tower of the Basilica with the University photographer. For another, I was in the farthest reaches of the Archives looking for photographs and artifacts,” says Fredrickson. “The variety is one of the coolest aspects of the job.”