JWU Design Student Creates and Installs Graphics at Boston Convention

Author Julia Shiels '24 is a Graphic Design major and works as a student assistant at JWU, contributing to JWU News.

Abram Kempner ’26 is a graphic design student who had the opportunity to intern for Willwork Global Event Services this past summer. Willwork is a trusted partner in event services that provides production services to tradeshows, retail and corporate events, and outdoor pop-ups.

Abram first discovered Johnson & Wales University when he was searching for colleges with a strong design program. After touring JWU, he was impressed with how focused the program is on getting students industry experience. He observed that other schools taught design, but not how to apply it. Abram was excited that portfolio building began on the first day of classes.

Abram always had a passion for all things creative. Starting in middle school, he would point out logos or graphics he liked in public. This made Abram realize he wanted to pursue a career in graphic design. Throughout middle school he started researching the world of design, as he made graphics for personal projects, family and friends. By the time he was in high school, he was already making graphics for local clients. In high school, Abram took a graphic design class. In this class, his teacher, wanting to support Abram's journey as a graphic designer, asked if he wanted to design a logo for a new school that was being built. Abram jumped at the opportunity and presented the logo over the summer. The school loved it and worked alongside him to implement his work. This opportunity then led to a family friend reaching out about a job opening at Willwork. “It was like a dream come true. It made good hours, it was close to my house, and it was paid. It was just incredible to be a part of this amazing team,” said Abram.

Abram Kempner with his second mural
Abram in front of one of his smaller murals at the conference.

During his time at Willwork, Abram designed a mural that was installed at a show for the American Speech Hearing Association (ASHA). This installation was his favorite experience from the internship because of the creative freedom allowed. It also gave him the opportunity to expand more on his budding appreciation for wayfinding design, which is the design of making a space more enjoyable while increasing the ease of navigation.

Abram and mentor Paula at ASHA conference
Abram and his mentor, Paula, next to ASHA sign.

He also talked with people at the show and made connections. Working with a team allowed Abram to experience work critiques in a professional setting. At JWU, students participate in group critiques in class. This practice empowered Abram to effectively take the feedback and apply it to his work without getting discouraged. “It wasn't just the design side of things; I feel like it was the communication side of it, too. You learn to check the program that we used to get feedback from clients and compared to getting feedback from my professors and students on projects, they kind of mirrored what I had already experienced.” Thanks to class critiques, he knew how to take feedback and apply it to create a better outcome.

Abram Kempner with one of his smaller murals
Abram next to another one of his murals at the conference.

Abram feels ready to succeed at a job like this thanks to the preparation of the JWU Design department. “I've been doing so much at the same time, I wouldn't have imagined me doing the things to the extent that I am without preparations that I learned in my classes, from these professors and from my classmates.” Because of the experience JWU has given him, Abram now has a connection in the design industry that he can continue to work with and gain more experience.

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