Word for Word

It will be helpful if I start this post by telling you that my office is situated off the main hallway of the Jackson Street Building (JSB as it’s known around here). There are two large lecture rooms across from me and they are used by many UGA disciplines for various classes. 300 + students exiting those rooms combined with our “barrel vault” ceiling (photo below), means that my door is almost always closed. I have an “open door” policy but it has to stay shut due to the noise potential. If you can’t imagine it’s that loud, come by sometime during class change -no joke!


I am used to the din of voices as students exit those classrooms and chat about their weekend plans or sit in groups outside my door and study for an upcoming test so I didn’t think much of it when I heard what sounded like a party in the hall last week. When I peeked out to see what was abuzz, I was greeted with the sight of familiar BLA faces milling around helping each other attach really cool stuff to the walls. Not very word-smithy, I know, but that’s exactly what my first thought was. “Wow, COOL!” Colors, designs, textures, 3-D objects, words, text…it was amazing!

I saw that Professor Shelley Cannady, with whom I work closely on scholarship processing and awards,  was directing and she explained that she had undertaken something a “little outside of the box” with her LAND 4250 Portfolio Development class this semester.  The assignment goal was to represent graphically, using text, an idea about sustainability. I’m just going to call it an art show because that’s what it is to me. I know to the students it was a class assignment but when you see it on display, you can’t help reference a showing as well. Each piece has an explanatory card with the student’s name and their thought process in developing the work.

Professor Cannady had this to say about the class experience and project: “I started this project with the thought that it would help the students realize the impact that the size, font, form, color, etc. can have on how words communicate (i.e., using words graphically to add layers of meaning).  They got to view it as an art project and were able to use any media they chose.  Since everything we plan as landscape architects implies a proposed change to an environment, the students were required to focus on a sustainability-related issue.  DESIGN is our means for creating and promoting a healthier future for our planet.  I’m really inspired by the work that these students produced!  It was gratifying to discover how much they cared about and understood the issues, and it was fun to watch them go progressively further and further ‘outside of the box’ as they worked on this. ”

Wouldn’t you love if your son/daughter, friend, partner, fellow classmate, etc. had such positive feedback?

  •  “I really enjoyed making something from an idea straight out of my brain. Although I love designing, it was cool to build something totally different and actually grow grass from seed. Professor Cannady helped refine my ideas and then stepped back to let me make it happen. The process was fun and exciting, and probably the coolest thing I’ve done here at CED.”  – Laurah Young
  • “I really enjoyed the typography project that we did in professor Cannady’s class. We ended up creating some very strong images about today’s environmental issues. I like walking through the hallway and seeing our installation because it is interesting and fun to look at, which is what the presentation spaces are all about.” – Margaret Graves
  • “The typography project was very unusual and took a lot of brainstorming to come up with an idea that would get the point across. Professor Cannady has been awesome to work with and she helps expand my ideas. This project was very interesting because it was something different than what we usually do and had to come up with something new and fresh to relate our project to the subject we got to pick.” – Bobby Merryman
  • ” Professor Cannady’s typograghy project was a lot of fun to construct, because it was so much different than anything else we have done in this school.  it required a different way of thinking about design, and helped further me as a designer.  I really enjoyed it!” – Joseph Long
  • “The topography project was one of my favorite in the CED department so far. I really enjoyed working on this project because it gave us a chance to be abstract with our creative side. It took a while coming up with an idea because I never had to think in this kind of way but I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.” – Mary Alexander
  • “I really enjoyed this typography project. It was interesting to work with ideas that Landscape Architects are constantly having to consider, but approaching them from more of a creative, artful approach. For a while I struggled with how to communicate my concept. Simplifying my approach was the biggest challenge. Even though this is probably not a project that will go in my portfolio when I interview at firms, it taught me something about simplifying what I want to represent about my work. The more straight forward I can convey a concept, the stronger it will read to the intended audience.” – Megan Hull

I’m so excited to be able to share this with you all in whatever capacity you are reading this blog –  prospective students, alumni, professionals, parents, and anyone else who is checking out the BLA at UGA! Here’s one of the opportunities that current BLA students are getting here in the College of Environment and Design at UGA.  Check out more individual thoughts from students in the class:

  • “I thoroughly enjoyed using our design abilities as landscape architects to create a graphic design based projects regarding the world around us in an environmental way. Everyone produced wonderful projects, as well as dedicated time and efforts to creating a well rounded, quality product.” – Tom Hargrett
  • “I enjoyed this project simply because of the freedom we had. Its nice to be able to display the typography pretty much in any form we want to get the message out.” – Cal Hooten
  • “I can’t express how much I truly enjoyed our last project. My favorite aspect was how we blended the line between out-of-the-box creativity and Landscape Architecture. A good point of conclusion for the project could have been to answer the question, ‘How do we do this on every project we encounter?'” – Alex Eversbusch
  • “I really enjoyed the typography project. It was fun to express our thoughts about these global issues in a different way. I think people will gain a little knowledge about this problems when they walk by and take a glance.” – Lucy Griner
  • “It was a joy to work with Professor Cannady on this project. Her ideas are so innovative and like nothing we have seen before here at CED. It was a lot of fun getting to do something that so many people would see.” – Caleb King
  • “I really enjoyed the fact that we got to do something so creative in a class of this nature. Professor Cannady really challenged us to come up with unique, methodical, and thought intensive ideas and the results speak for themselves.” – Erik Lauritsen
  • “I really enjoyed breaking away from the traditional master plan and challenging my artistic side. This project allowed me to be creative and send a message to hopefully more than just the BLA program.” – Cari Heinz
  • “The typography project I did for Professor Cannady’s Portfolio Development class was so much fun! It was like no other project I have done during my time in the BLA program. I chose to do glass etching which is a craft my grandmother taught me. It was a great way for me to express my creativity and show everyone how glass etching can be used to make unique works of art!” – Jenni Huff