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Unleashing Creative Potential: Art of Story in the Master of Arts in Strategic Design Program

Furman University’s Master of Arts in Strategic Design program offers a transformative experience for students, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the creative field. One of the program’s standout courses is the Art of Story class, led by Professor Emily Price, a renowned marketing consultant. This article explores the dynamic and immersive nature of the class, highlighting its ability to ignite students’ creativity and prepare them for future careers. See if this class piques your creativity! 

The first project in this course is the fictional short story assignment. Students are tasked with crafting myths, fairy tales, or fables based on their research and inspiration from various art styles and cultural influences. This project not only showcases students’ storytelling abilities but also deepens their understanding of cultural contexts and artistic expressions.

A group consisting of students Fiona Newell, McNeill Mullikin, and Grace Van Rij created a myth story about a shapeshifting owl inspired by Irish mythology and Southern Gothic and linocut art called “The Guardian.” Fiona Newell, illustrator of “The Guardian,” said, “It was really exciting to approach this project from a different style of illustration than I’m used to and see how the illustrations complemented the writing. I really enjoyed the challenge of black-and-white illustrations and showing the story through them.”  

These illustrations truly brought the words on the page to life. McNeill Mullikin, writer of “The Guardian,” said, “‘The Guardian’ is my favorite project I have worked on throughout my entire time in the Strategic Design program. Writing is a passion of mine, and this project allowed me to enhance not only my creative writing abilities but my world-building and storytelling skills.” 

Another project in the Art of Story class is creating a 90-second commercial video. Students are challenged to develop videos for selected brands, such as Red Bull, Tesla, and GoPro, by incorporating brand archetypes and emulating the distinctive styles of famous directors. This project encourages students to blend strategic marketing insights with cinematic storytelling, resulting in visually stunning and emotionally engaging videos that leave a lasting impression on viewers. 

A highlight from this project is Elizabeth Hendrix, Tyler Huff, and Grace Van Rij’s Jeni’s Ice Creams commercial. Regarding the creative process, Elizabeth Hendrix said, “The Jeni’s commercial was fun to hone in on visual details that would ultimately be displayed in the final product. Our main goal was to have Wes Anderson’s directing style shine through in our commercial, while still complementing Jeni’s existing branding. In our commercial, you can find different Easter eggs that are nods to Wes Anderson such as the font choice, film preset, tracking shots, close-ups, and the stop-motion in the sequence titles.” 

Jeni’s commercial

Additionally, Grace Van Rij explained why Wes Anderson was the director her group ultimately decided on. Van Rij said, “We thought Wes Anderson would be the perfect pairing for this sweet film because of his framing of shots, color palette, and vintage flare. We also used his emphasis on random objects to tell a story. The vision we had for this project couldn’t have been created more perfectly and has been one of my favorite projects in the Strategic Design program so far.”

The class also undertook a collaborative magazine project that served as a platform for students to engage with the Greenville, SC, community. Through interviews and articles on local topics such as performing arts, community spaces, and on-campus highlights, students showcased their journalistic skills while exploring the power of design in conveying stories. The inclusion of a cover design contest and active student participation in shaping the magazine’s aesthetic fostered a sense of community and creative collaboration within the cohort. Fiona Newell, winner of the cover design contest, said, “When it came to the cover art and title, I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate the history of Furman from its downtown location to its current home. The Roundabout is a combination of the highly recognizable roundabout from Furman’s entrance and the impact that Furman has had on the communities of Greenville and Travelers Rest.”

If you’re seeking a program that nurtures your creative growth and helps you forge a path in the world of strategic design, look no further than Furman University’s Master of Arts in Strategic Design program. The Art of Story class, under the guidance of Professor Emily Price, unlocks your creative potential through engaging projects such as crafting fictional short stories and creating commercial videos. By enrolling in this program, you’ll not only enhance your storytelling abilities but also gain a deep understanding of cultural contexts and artistic expressions. Take the first step toward an exciting and fulfilling career by applying to Furman University’s Master of Arts in Strategic Design program today by clicking HERE!