Jonathan Fahnestock, MFA

Talent On Display

jonathan fahnestockDesign students are accustomed to creating projects that will be seen by their professors, fellow students, and maybe the entire campus. Only a lucky few, however, have the opportunity to make something that hundreds of thousands will see. That honor was recently given to students taking Interactive Applications with Jonathan Fahnestock, MFA, associate professor of graphic and interactive design.

The project came to life when Fahnestock approached the Magic House, a popular children’s museum in St. Louis, to provide feedback on a planned assignment for a conceptual touchscreen display for the museum’s new exhibit on the senses. Instead, after reviewing the students’ design solutions, they upped the ante by incorporating the student’s concepts into the exhibit.

To prepare, Fahnestock’s students spent hours using the Magic House’s existing kiosks and observing how visitors of all ages interacted with them. They also conducted research investigating the science of taste.

“Students not only had to learn and understand the various theoretical factors of designing for a touchscreen kiosk, but they also had to do research into the sense of taste, which is in the area of biology and science,” Fahnestock says. “It’s an excellent example of how not only do we teach for discipline-specific outcomes, but we also incorporate the liberal arts into many of our classes.”

Over the course of the semester, students worked in two teams to create separate and complete kiosk concepts. The teams presented their designs to the museum’s director of design and developer, who selected one for installation at the Magic House.

“It was a win-win scenario all around,” Fahnestock says. “The Magic House received solid solutions to work from for the kiosk they were developing, and the students got real-world experience.”