Sep 20, 2021 3:47 PM

Chadron design student interns with Colorado firm

Posted Sep 20, 2021 3:47 PM

By TENA L. COOK, CSC Marketing Coordinator

CHADRON – Chadron State College senior Mia MacDonald of Cheyenne, Wyoming, recently completed a graphic design internship with DHM, a landscape architect company, in its Durango, Colorado, office. MacDonald made the connection with the firm through her father, who is a civil engineer. The company, which provides planning and site design services to the National Park Service and works for municipalities and private developers, also has offices in Missoula, Montana, Carbondale, Colorado, and Denver.

Ann Christensen, DHM principal, said MacDonald’s attention to graphic design helped the firm’s plans and perspective renderings convey the desired mood and feeling to clients and the public viewing DHM’s concepts and ideas

Chadron State College graphic design major Mia MacDonald of Cheyenne, Wyo., poses with her honorable mention string art installation Collide April 23, 2021, in Memorial Hall's Main Gallery. (Tena L. Cook/Chadron State College)
Chadron State College graphic design major Mia MacDonald of Cheyenne, Wyo., poses with her honorable mention string art installation Collide April 23, 2021, in Memorial Hall's Main Gallery. (Tena L. Cook/Chadron State College)

“Her understanding of graphic representation added greater clarity, legibility, and finesse to our materials. Her skills with fonts, composition, and color were applicable to marketing packages, maps and diagrams,” Christensen said. 

The major project MacDonald contributed to was the Uptown Butte, Montana, Master Plan. The plan, which was in progress before her internship started in mid-May, includes lighting, parking improvements, and public art. She used software packages such as InDesign, PhotoShop, and Illustrator to create the plan’s cover and design for each chapter. She also organized the chapters and compiled comments from public input meetings.

Additionally, she created plan renderings of two options for the proposed Three Springs Pickle Ball Court and Dog Park in Durango. Her renderings and a flyer she created were presented at a public meeting.

A third project she worked on during the three-month internship was assisting with rendering plans and creating overlays of proposed construction for a Zion National Park project that included rerouting trails and revamping the entrance.

MacDonald also worked on a wayfinding project for Lake San Cristobal, Colorado, including boat ramps and restrooms.

During the fall 2020 semester, CSC Art Professor Mary Donahue and MacDonald discussed what types of projects she might encounter during her internship with DHM and determined she could benefit from more experience with InDesign. For MacDonald’s Spring 2021 schedule, Donahue crafted an Art 400/Independent Study for her to work in InDesign on a project related to landscape architecture design. The project included a booklet, brochure, signage, and other collateral materials for the CSC Labyrinth.

“Mia’s positive attitude, openness, and willingness to learn and try new things are a big plus, as is taking the initiative to see what is out there and going for it,” Donahue said.

MacDonald said the internship helped her learn additional skills that make a visual so much crisper such as correct uses of white space and hierarchy techniques for readability.

“I learned more about what colors communicate and a ton about design choices and how to make them, plus a lot of new shortcuts. They are a designer’s best friend,” MacDonald said. “I felt like having knowledge of the software they use helped DHM trust me.”