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Students Create Designs for Florida Zoo

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Cedarville University Art and Design

Graphic courtesy of the Naples Zoo at Carribean Gardens (

by Hohna Hartley

June 5, 2009

Forget the elephants, snakes, and exotic birds — this summer a Florida zoo will use the creative work of two Cedarville University students to bring in the tourists.

James Colton ’09 and Laura Dreyer ’11 recently used their design skills to create products for the Naples Zoo. Colton designed a tourist brochure that will introduce the zoo to south Florida tourists, and Dreyer created a logo for a special exhibit called Leopard Rock. The logo will appear on T-shirts and gift shop merchandise.

Knowing he was working for an actual client certainly helped Colton’s creative process. “The graphic design department at Cedarville has done a good job preparing us for real life,” he says, “and giving us a sense of what it’s going to be like once we get out there.” That’s especially important for Colton, who graduated in May and now faces the real world of job opportunities.

Dreyer, who graduates in 2011, says she already has a much better understanding of industry standards, thanks to her design classes and the projects she’s completed for clients through Cedarville. She sees her degree program as a great blend of graphic design and biblical teaching — both of which she searched for when choosing a college.

“The thing I like best about Cedarville is being with other Christians who are interested in the arts,” Dreyer says. “It’s especially nice to have professors you can talk to about things from a biblical perspective.”

She’s not the only one who appreciates what the University offers. Many businesses have noticed the high-quality work Cedarville students are producing. According to Tim Frame, instructor of graphic design, graduates now have jobs for several major companies, including Adidas and Time Warner — and, of course, the Naples Zoo.

Tim Tetzlaff, director of conservation and communications at the zoo, implemented the designs created by Dreyer and Colton. Tetzlaff has been offering projects to the University’s students for several years. “Many attractions and businesses would do well to have somebody with Cedarville-quality skills,” he says. “What I’ve seen come out of Cedarville is a lot better than many things I’ve seen in the marketplace.”

The post-college world of art and design is much easier to enter with a portfolio of professional projects available to wow potential employers. That’s why Frame is working hard to provide real-world opportunities for his students and why he established the working relationship with the Naples Zoo on their behalf.

Frame, who is a practicing designer in addition to teaching at Cedarville, understands what graduates need to succeed in the design profession. As a result, he is intentional about giving them the chance to test their skills with real clients who have real graphic design needs.

As part of his course curriculum, several students will work to create a design, and the best among them are chosen to be submitted to the client. Sometimes the clients are for-profit businesses; other times the students put their creativity to work for organizations such as Athletes in Action or the local parks and recreation department. Students also work on Cedarville University publications to promote the school and its events.

It was through class projects like these that Colton and Dreyer received the Naples Zoo opportunity — another way Cedarville has prepared them for a successful future in graphic design.

More Information

Learn more about Cedarville’s graphic design program.