Design Solutions, for all your presentation needs

Rebecca Moidel

Design Solutions, a media service in the main library, offers a new side of creativity to students, staff and faculty.

Located within the Audio Visual Services on the third floor of the library, Design Solutions offers help making posters and displays; banners and signs; multimedia presentations; brochures and fliers; imaging digital files; and specializes in slide and studio photography.

Media Services manager Diane Sperko has worked with Design Solutions for 10 years and also runs the level three gallery, a space that features new artists each month. She displays each artist’s work in the gallery, located directly in front of the Design Solutions help desk. She said her photographer, Hilary Kennedy, gets the work ready and production assistants and, student employees at Design Solutions, mount the pieces.

Kennedy, a Design Solutions photographer, graduated from Kent State in 2002 with a major in photo illustration. With the use of her in-house studio, Kennedy said she helps create portfolios and takes pictures of student projects and artwork.

The studio includes a black, felt-covered magnetic backboard used to hang art pieces and two studio lights. Kennedy said everything is remote controlled, which makes the equipment easy to use. Even her digital camera is wired to her Power-book on her computer so she can control the camera through her computer.

“It’s nice because it gives instant results,” she said. “It’s efficient and provides the ‘wow’ factor.”

Kennedy said almost everything has gone digital, but film processing is still available. She also goes to other galleries on campus to shoot for students, staff and faculty who face challenges moving their artwork.

“Working with all the different projects is really interesting,” she said. “It’s always a new challenge.”

She said although she has a nice size studio, she would like to see it expand to provide more storage space. Sperko and Kennedy said in the future they plan to finalize making digital portfolios available to view and present on iPods through a program called I-Folio.

Sperko said Design Solutions is working toward helping the art history, architecture and visual communication departments digitalize their work and project portfolios. She said this is a three to five-year project that will hopefully prove to be very beneficial.

Liz Traina, graphic designer for Design Solutions, works directly with eight production assistants to design anything from posters for university events, such as the Imagine signs around campus, to PowerPoint presentations. She said each student provides different kinds of skills and makes the designing station fun to work in.

“I’m excited to be around and get to know everything,” she said. “I really enjoy dealing with people, to make everything easier for them.”

Jay Firzlaff, an engraving specialist at Design Solutions, said he uses a standard PC, a small server, a file spooler and an engraver for his work.

Firzlaff said 90 percent of his projects include making nametags or nameplates for faculty and staff. He also specializes in designing smaller plastic signs seen around campus, using raised, and braille lettering and inscription on golf signs.

“The software and equipment is good — it’s meeting the needs of the campus that’s important,” Firzlaff said.

Sperko said Design Solutions would like to generate more income to buy needed supplies and to encourage students to plan in advance to avoid a rush.

“The hardest part is feeling overwhelmed at times, when you have more projects than people,” Sperko said. “But we’re a great operation.”

For more information on Design Solutions, visit

Contact Library and Media Services Reporter Rebecca Moidel [email protected].