Skip to main content
The official hub for news and stories from Colorado Mesa University
Globally Designed

It is about a 10-hour flight and 4,500 miles from Grand Junction to Dublin, Ireland. But the trek to OFFSET, a design conference, was worth every minute and mile for graphic design student Breanna Meininger.

“I had the opportunity to travel abroad for the first time to hear some very influential designers speak. Not only was I able to explore a new country, I was able to do it while learning about something I live and breathe every single day.”

Meininger along with 18 graphic design students, Department Head of Art & Design and Professor of Art Suzie Garner, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Eli Hall, his wife and five alumni traveled to the international conference last month.

“It’s the best conference that I’ve ever experienced,” said Hall. “It has a real pulse on graphic design and illustration.”

OFFSET has about 2,500 attendees, which is smaller compared to most stateside graphic design conferences that can have upwards of 6,000 attendees. The smaller conference, split between a main stage and side stage, allowed students more personal interactions with presenters and other international designers and students.

“I think anytime we can get students to professional conferences it makes the experience “real” for them when they see professionals in the field,” said Garner. “Professionals who are making a living doing the things we teach and discuss in the classroom.”

This is the second conference Meininger has attended while at CMU and she said the experiences she had in Ireland were unforgettable.

“I think this experience opens so many doors for graphic designers here at CMU. I came back with a fresh set of ideas and excitement for what the future holds. I came home less scared for where my career is headed and it opened my eyes to how big this field can be.”

This is the fourth time Hall has taken students to OFFSET. He said his students work hard to get there through fundraising efforts. Meininger thanked the Associated Student Government and the Fee Allocation Committee for helping to cover some of the costs associated with the conference for students, many of whom would not have been able to have these new experiences without the help.

“Graphic design, illustration is a global industry and some of our students have never left Colorado, never been on an airplane,” said Hall. “Not only is it preparing them for life experiences but it gives them more confidence as a designer and a human to do some of these things on their own. It makes them realize that what they are learning in Grand Junction, Colorado, is relevant in Dublin, London, New York or anywhere else.”