Melissa Ewart ’02
In a bustling city of students, it’s hard for a club, student org or resource center to stand out. Melissa Ewart has seen her share of trends come and go over her 10 years spent leading the Associated Students Graphic Studio, a student-operated, in-house creative agency on campus. Along with senior designer Alfredo Vilano ’00, she’s helped students create attention-getting promotions and awareness campaigns, just as they’ve helped her stay in touch with what’s trending nowadays.
“Young people know how to best promote to young people,” she says. “When I started in 2008, they were the ones who said we need to be on Facebook, then with Instagram and so on.”
Before social media, however, the Design Studio grew out of the “Creation Station,” a graphic design shop focusing mostly on print posters for student orgs and campus events. Ewart, a visual arts major who worked in event planning with her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and then in the tourism industry, jumped at the chance to build something from the ground up. Associated Students soon took ownership of the operation—“to see if it was accessible,” Ewart says, “something students would really use.”
Use it they did. AS Design Studio now has upwards of 40 projects going at any given time—anything from rebranding the Sun God Festival to advising the student clothing line, Triton Outfitters. The shop is home to eight student workers from all disciplines, not just the arts. “Our students come in full of excitement and talent,” Ewart says. “They really grow and shine while pursuing their academic studies.”
Former Design Studio workers keep in touch with the space as alumni, even as they pursue careers in marketing or design at companies like Google, Marvel and Disney. “We’re a family team here,” Ewart says. “Having a part in the growth of our workers and growth of this campus keeps us growing as well. Just like with any project, I’m excited to see what happens next.”
WHAT ABOUT YOUR WORKPLACE?
Do you work with fellow UC San Diego alumni? Let us know! We’re starting a “Workplace Showcase” series highlighting Tritons who work together—so if there are alumni at your job, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or @ucsdalumni on social media.