Monday, December 2, 2013

Inspirational Art at the Knowledge Commons

Kat Randall is the lead graphic designer at Rio Salado College. Her work can be found across the Valley on everything from billboards and big screens to bus tails and light rails. She is also responsible for the wall mural decorating the entrance to the RSC Knowledge Commons, a one-stop student resource center on the fifth floor of the Rio Tower building.

The translucent mural is the first thing visitors see as they arrive at the Knowledge Commons, featuring dynamic portraits and quotes of key historical figures.

"It was important to me to have something that really captured the attention from the get-go," Randall said. "I was aware that some of our students come to our building exclusively to visit the Knowledge Commons and utilize those resources, so I wanted to have an impactful entry way."

The Rio Salado library staff worked with Randall to find quotes for the mural from visually interesting and familiar historical figures.

"I thought it would be really great to have a visual of who said the quote," Randall said. "In addition to being recognizable, it gives a feel for the different eras the speakers came from."

Randal said she hopes the piece will influence and uplift students as they enter the Knowledge Commons.

"I hope that the hallway really catches their eye right from the elevator and inspires them. We can learn so much from past generations and leaders by following their words of wisdom. I also love that it has our Rio colors and communicates our aesthetic without being overly branded," Randall said. "I enjoy the projects where I have complete creative freedom. This project was one of those, and I'm really proud of it."

In addition to her work as a graphic designer, Randall said she enjoys side art projects and interior design.

"Interior design is one of my passions," Randall said. "All design has common elements. You can see the relationship between amazing furniture and a stunning magazine layout. Good design is good design. It's about color, composition, scale and balance. Exploring creativity in different mediums really helps me be the best designer I can be."

According to Randall, Adobe imaging software is a helpful tool for those pursuing a career as a graphic designer.

"Just about everyone uses Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. Those three pretty much rule the industry in print," Randall said, "but it's not all about the software. You need the basic skills of composition and typography to go with it. The important thing is to constantly push yourself, even if it's for just a few hours after your day job. Design takes a good eye and some natural talent, but it really is a lot about practice too."

Rio Salado College offers a 35-credit certificate of completion in digital design. For more information, visit