A small marketing department at Diablo Valley College is getting its due recognition for years of promoting the myriad programs and special events at the Pleasant Hill campus in eye-catching fashion.

The public and the students who log hours in the study carrels can see more than 100 samples of their work in a rotating exhibit "The Art of DVC Marketing" that runs through the end of the semester in the college library.

"These guys spend a good portion of everyday recognizing the accomplishments of someone else on the campus. It's so nice for it to be their turn for all the things they do," said marketing director Chrisanne Knox of her team of two graphic artists and a web designer.

The exhibit also showcases the college's commitment to having a cohesive presence in the community. With the strong endorsement of past-president Judy Walters, the marketing department's pair of graphic artists has collaborated to establish aesthetic style guidelines for various printings, be they posters, brochures, direct mailing or business cards.

"It's not rubber-stamped. There's also a lot of room for creativity," said Knox. "Coming up with that vision was very energizing for them "... The whole college got behind the whole new look and feel."

It is a creative process that the public may take for granted, chalking it up to a few computer keystrokes and time logged with Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator.

Instead, graphic artist Sharrie Bettencourt described the oftentimes lengthy creative process that may start with a vague notion imparted by a department chair, the initial interview to ascertain the sought-after mood and color palette, and the ensuing trial and error.

She recalled one project where she successfully conveyed the concept after agreeing to listen to a certain song while creating the poster promoting a theatrical production.

"The message that speaks loud and clear is that we're not just putting information out there. We are putting a face to the college," said Bettencourt. "We're presenting what we want people's emotions and feelings to be, whether it's a brochure for financial aid or a poster for 'Cabaret.' We try to take something ordinary and make it extraordinary."

Graphic artist Judy Klein-Flynn described another successful venture that led to articulated posters, postcards, T-shirts and bags showcasing the school's touted "Expanding Your Horizons" series of workshops and activities designed to encourage middle school-age girls to pursue math and the sciences, a creative process with several iterations over time.

"I think of (what we do) as artistic in a secondary kind of way. What was exciting for me was to see how creative we really were in presenting things," said Klein-Flynn. "They were all disparate as to how we were promoting things, with all kinds of venues and events, and yet there was creativity in all of them.

"There's a sense of cohesion. You see that DVC is professional, artistic and even sometimes whimsical," she said. "It was an extra bonus to see people discovering how much work we've done."

Her collaborator turns the conversation back to why they are creating in the first place.

"You realize it's art, but it's about DVC; all the programs that are offered here. You get a sense of how dynamic this college really is, the drama department, music, athletics, our culinary department -- it's all just blended together," said Bettencourt. "It really adds to that overall feeling that this college has a lot going on."

marketing on display
  • WHAT: The Art of DVC Marketing exhibit
  • WHEN: artists' reception 3-4:30 p.m. March 2; exhibit through the end of the semester
  • WHERE: Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill
  • INFORMATION: www.dvc.edu/events/library/art.htm