Design Solutions set to close its doors

Frank Yonkof

Design Solutions, the campus graphic design and printing center located on the third floor of the library, will close its doors at the end of this month and become a communications office.

The three full-time employees that currently manage the center will instead do public relations work for the library. The staff will write about the library’s initiatives and events, update social media and photograph library functions. They will also produce developmental packets for potential library donors. There is no word yet on how many student employees will be hired back.

“We will not be providing the same services for the departments outside the library,” said Design Solutions Manager Diane Sperko. “We also won’t be able to do walk-up print traffic, which students have used us for in the past.”

Design solutions first opened in the 1960s and handles both walk-in jobs and larger projects. The center is most used by other departments like Dining Services, but is also popular among students who need to print a professional portfolio or final project.

Unlike Campus Copy Connection next door, which is a private vendor, library employees staff Design Solutions. The move comes as University Libraries prepares for a fundraising drive to renovate the 12-story building to add more study space.

Library Dean James Bracken said that because University Libraries has never been the best at marketing their services and events, the restructuring was necessary.

Although Design Solutions currently breaks even after taking in around $180,000 last year, Bracken has a larger goal of raising $10 million for future renovations and needs a communications team to showcase the library’s potential.

In a memo sent out to different departments on campus, Design Solutions suggested other local graphic designers and printers for their clients to use.

“It was a little bit of a shocker for some of the people, especially the ones we deal with on a regular basis,” said Hilary Kennedy, who has worked at Design Solutions for the past eight years. “We tried to provide some recommended venders for them, so they at least have an alternative.”

Design Solutions will take on a limited number of projects until the end of the year, and PDF files of past projects will be available until Jan. 31.

For Sperko, the move brings mixed emotions. While she is excited to lead her team on the new project, she is also disappointed to see Design Solutions close after working there since 1994.

“I am a little sad because it’s something I’ve really watched closely for 15 years, and the other part of me, though, is excited for the new challenges,” she said. “You always want to be able to re-invent yourself and go where you’re most needed. I never wanted to be doing something that people didn’t need anymore and that was becoming obsolete.”

You can contact Frank Yonkof at [email protected].