The Voice: Spring 2002

The Voice

Billboards designed by Dordt senior dot tri-state countryside

Angela Dekkers and Marion Van Soelen review the printed billboards before they are hung.

Senior graphic design major Angela Dekkers from Orange City, Iowa, says there’s nothing quite like seeing your work spread across a billboard as you drive down the road. Dekkers recently completed a project for a number of Christian schools in the area in an attempt to broaden people’s awareness of what Christian schools offer.

The project began in the fall of 2000 after art professor Jacob Van Wyk sent out a campus e-mail asking for projects for his advanced graphics students. Marion Van Soelen, who is coordinator of Christian Schools International (CSI) District Six and has an office on campus, saw the request and asked for a student to design posters to promote Christian schools. Dekkers was one of three students who agreed to work on the posters. They were put in contact with Sherri Ten Napel, who chairs a marketing committee for District IV, and from there the ideas got bigger, Dekkers says. Eventually the other two students bowed out, and Dekkers was hired not only to design posters, but also brochures for individual schools in the area and billboards promoting Christian education.

Dekkers offered Ten Napel two designs, one more geared to elementary schools, one more professional-looking, she says. The marketing committee then offered these designs to Christian schools who could customize them with photos of their students and teachers and send them out to their communities. Response was strong. New billboards are being hung in the area and are designed to be moved periodically to other locations.

“We’ve learned from marketers that after a sign is up for a certain amount of time people don’t even see it anymore,” says Van Soelen. So they plan to hang the signs in different places in the Iowa/ Minnesota/ South Dakota tri-state area.

“It was a great experience to work with an organization as a client rather than just complete a project for class,” says Dekkers. She needed to stay in close communication with Van Soelen and Ten Napel and see the project through from its beginning ideas to getting photographs to final proofing. “It wasn’t just a grade I was working for but something that would promote Christian education in the community and that many people would see,” says Dekkers. “And it felt good to do something for a cause I feel committed to.”