CCS: Communication Design (Graphic Design) Programs


Elizabeth Hunwick

Avanti Press (Detroit)

Graphic designer

Wit and attitude are what set apart greeting cards and other stationery products created by Avanti Press. This humorous approach to self expression is what graphic designer Elizabeth Hunwick finds so appealing about working for the Detroit-based publisher.

“As a designer at Avanti, most of my time is spent brainstorming and designing greeting cards,” said Hunwick. “Avanti has two card lines: Avanti, the photographic humor collection, and A*Press, which is a more graphic/illustrated collection with a humorous twist. I especially enjoy designing cards for the A*Press line. It is a challenge to come up with new ideas but it’s exciting to push myself and my personal style to continue to evolve and create cutting-edge products.”

Hunwick began work on the A*Press on a freelance basis three months prior to being hired by the company full time. 

“It has been an excellent experience to be a part of this growing and evolving collection from the beginning,” said Hunwick. “It has given me the opportunity to help shape a new brand from both a product and marketing standpoint and has forced me to explore new styles and techniques. It has also allowed me to explore other production processes, which as a designer I had not previously had the opportunity to do.”  

Along with designing cards, Hunwick is responsible for selecting embellishments, meeting with vendors and following the card through the production process. She also provides design support to various aspects of the Avanti greeting card collection, which includes designing the card interiors and designing additional products (calendars and other items) using the Avanti images. 

“We also provide design support to our internal sales and marketing team,” Hunwick explained. “This includes promotional materials, ads, presentations, catalogs, Web sites, letterheads, display signage and header cards.” 

When asked about goals for her career, Hunwick expressed her desire to continue creating greeting cards at Avanti and to help mentor upcoming designers through internships.

"The patience I learned is something that translates to my work every day."

“Every year a specific number of cards have to be produced, so the challenge next year is to continue to develop the A*Press brand voice and create more funny premium cards,” said Hunwick. “In the past, we’ve welcomed interns to our design team. The experience has given me the opportunity to expose upcoming designers to an aspect of design that many do not know exists in the Detroit area. The interns were given the opportunity to work with a design team on real projects, which has included actually designing cards. I would like to open more intern positions to continue to influence the next generation of designers.”

Before Hunwick was hired at Avanti, she worked as a designer at Octane, where she designed “a little of everything,” from John Deere landscape catalogs to Web site design to logos and letterhead.

“Octane was an excellent experience!” exclaimed Hunwick. “During my time there, I even had the opportunity to work on the Detroit Super Bowl pocket guide, which was a very exciting project.”

Hunwick considers her four years at CCS “time well spent” as a student and future designer.

“I was taught by many accomplished instructors who all brought something unique to the studio,” she said. “Some were more applied design while others were more theoretic which allowed me to take from each. The pace at CCS was anything but slow, the intense hours, expectations and work load definitely helped me prepare for the real world. After graduation I remember feeling like the working world was easy compared to my time in studio.

“My junior year I took the practicum course which was a sponsored studio class. That class was a great experience and taught me a lot about designing for clients. The patience I learned is something that translates to my work every day.

“Also my senior year I did a chance project. This was challenging because it required me to break out of my comfort zone. When designing greeting cards an element of chance is usually involved—any time an embellishment is selected or a new treatment is explored, you never quite know what to expect. Also the idea of chance and random inspiration is a fun way to brainstorm new concepts. How do you turn an everyday experience or object into a card? It’s a never-ending challenge.”