Krugel wasn’t intimidated when she submitted her work. “I’m confident in my concepts and design work, therefore I had no reservations that my projects would be considered high value,” Krugel said.
Her confidence comes from in part from praise by Professor Nagesh Shinde, who has taught graphic design to thousands of students at UW-Stout and who introduced new design software Adobe Dimensions in the class this fall.
“Both of her projects in the class were published, which is truly noteworthy. Packaging of the World has grown to become one of the leading packaging design blogs on the internet,” said Shinde, who encouraged Krugel to submit her work to help gain professional exposure as she approaches the start of her career.
Krugel had to develop the concepts for the products and how she would market them through eye-catching packaging and design.
One concept was a set of spice blends in three glass containers, each with ornate patterns, that would help prevent disease and balance health, energy and mood.
The other was a spicy, pale ale beer, made with Thai chili, featuring a donkey in matte black bottles and cans, with labeling in two languages. Krugel wanted to “communicate a humorous and unique beer design that will offer the consumer a combination of American hops and traditional Thai spices.”
She loved doing the research to support her ideas, leading to the design process.
“Research is the most important step. I explore product history, sources, demographics, studies, visuals, etc., to create a clear idea of a concept. Setting up a solid foundation allows me to smoothly begin creating my visual identity,” she said.
Each product has three unique packages that work as a set. She estimates that she worked as many as six hours a week for four to five weeks on each concept.
“Samantha has impressed me with her incessant passion for outdoing various assignments with exceptional hard work, consistency and enthusiasm,” Shinde said. “She is always eager to push the boundaries and is keen to learn new technologies.”
Krugel said she enjoyed using the new software because “it allows you to create and showcase your work in the environment it belongs in through a unique, custom package design.”
Shinde said the 3D software is relatively new but is becoming the standard in the industry, a plus for students when they begin their careers. “Designers can create new 3D products and apply logos and designs on them. It has built-in textures, and designers can view the product in different angles with custom textures, lighting and materials like glass, plastic, brick and metal,” he said.
“I introduced this software to my packaging class this year. It replaces some of the need for students to create in packaging labs and process labs on campus. It's a potent tool for designers. Professionals are working remotely worldwide, and proficiency in this software will be valued by professionals moving forward,” he added.
Krugel is looking forward to starting her career and feels she has been able to make the most of the fall semester, despite the pandemic challenges this fall — hybrid learning before Thanksgiving and online classes since then.
“I love that everyone is putting more effort into making this year no different than it would be. COVID-19 has made me a more responsible, strong and independent student where I must take matters into my own hands and push beyond my goals,” she said.
The pandemic hasn’t affected her professors’ approach to teaching. ““I enjoy the compassion and understanding from professors and our freedom to be visually expressive,” she added.
Graphic design is one of six undergraduate programs and a Master of Fine Arts offered in UW-Stout’s School of Art and Design.