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Student Snaps into Art

Student Snaps into Art

Originally posted Dec. 6, 2015

BURLINGTON, VT – A student opens an app with a ghostly icon on their phone, snaps a picture, and swipes right to show that the photo was taken on Champlain College’s campus. The photo is then sent to friends and family.

Snapchat has become a huge part of popular culture today. Social media has attached itself to the identity of millennials, and snapchat has provided a quick and easy way for students to communicate in photos that then disappear from the world after 10 seconds.

Snapchat has come out with “geofilter,” an overlay with a design that indicates your location. The concept is gaining popularity, especially among young designers. These have been utilized by artists from different cities, companies, colleges, and even representatives of special events. These geofilters are created by artists and then submitted to Snapchat for consideration. Artists try, and sometimes fail, to depict their location accurately.

Senior at Champlain College, Daniel Salerno, had grown tired of the Burlington geofilter. His complaint was that “We only had that one Snapchat geofilter that, like, covered your whole face”. Salerno explained that he had the desire to create a filter that would tuck away on the side, represent Burlington culture, and represent his identity as an artist. His interest in the triangular design played a huge part in the filter creation.

“I spent about two hours designing [the BTV design],” Salerno said. “The main reason I did it was because I thought the one that we had was ugly and I really wanted to try designing a snapchat filter.” His opinion on the previous filter was not unfounded. Students at Champlain voiced complaints about the overpowering design that covered the entire screen.

“It’s inconvenient for me when I want to take a picture and show my location, it really just disrupts the quality of my photos,” Jen Macneil, a sophomore at Champlain College, complained.

Another complaint from some Champlain College students was that there was no representation of Champlain College on the app. Dan describes the push to create a filter for the college as a need that he heard from students. 

“Because I had done the BTV one, people overwhelmingly responded with, ‘well now we need a Champlain one’, and I was like ‘Cool, I’m ready for it” Salerno said. He then started to contact the Champlain College Marketing department and expressed interest in creating something for Champlain students. 

“I came up with some designs that I liked, and I brought them down to marketing. I did research from other schools and put together a presentation for marketing.” Salerno went on to describe how after several drafts and collaborative meetings with different members of marketing, they had finally created a filter for Champlain students to use. 

“I was trying to give Champlain a good representation, one that’s funky and innovative, but still have the words ‘Champlain College’ be studious.” Salerno explained the style of the design, “It’s clean cut and beautiful, but also outside of the box.”

The response was overwhelmingly positive for Salerno. Champlain College was giving him credit for his work, and people began to notice the design talent that Salerno had. “Champlain has blossomed me into an artist and has helped me become the designer that I am today,” Salerno stated. This opportunity opened into several opportunities for Salerno, he credits the geofilters as door openers.  

“A professor of mine saw a poster job and sent it to me because he recognized that I was a good designer.” Salerno goes on to explain that “because of the exposure that the geofilters brought, people are recognizing me as a good designer.”

Champlain was recently named the “#1 Most Innovative School” in the North by U.S. News and World Reports’ annual “America’s Best Colleges” list. Salerno is a student who exemplifies this accolade and embodies the unique education received at Champlain College.

“Because of [my work] with marketing, they offered me an internship to do design work with them,” Salerno explained with excitement, his initiative and encouragement from Champlain staff aided him in finding a foothold in a professional field. 

This new geofilter is exciting for students on campus and around the Burlington area.  “I love using different geofilters. It kind of gives a visual map of where I am for my friends and family back home,” Charlie Carucci, a sophomore game design major said about his use of geofilters, “I just really like the fact that my school and my town now have these two really beautiful filters!”

Champlain has consistently lived under the shadow of the larger college up the hill. The University of Vermont’s geofilter had constantly shown up in Champlain student’s social media. Now, they have a chance to show off their own school. Emma Palluzzi, a sophomore art history transfer student at UVM said, “Well the fact that Champlain has their own filter now is pretty great. When I visit friends down there I can tag all my photos with the Champlain filter.”

“I wanted Champlain to have a good filter. Good design can change the world.” Salerno stated. His desire to use design to help the world has pushed him to create these designs. 

“The Champlain [geofilter] was kind of selfish, I wanted recognition, but I also really just wanted Champlain to have a good filter.” He explained. “We need to use design as a new language to get people interested,” Salerno believes that using the systems of design can create a greater attraction to things like books, that are more often being left behind in this new age of technology. 

“I was talking to marketing about making a design for graduation,” Salerno said of designs that people could expect from him in the near future.

Salerno is preparing for a quickly approaching graduation date. His response to the event is that “It’s really cool to have my mark here, and to be able to move forward.”

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