Library Partners with ETSU Graphic Designers

Your Library partnered with ETSU graphic design students this spring to create new artwork for our Media Center (a.k.a. the DVD section). Three students—Saydee Nye-Fox, Toni Matheson, and Mackenzie Hooven—created eight posters featuring books with movie adaptions. The finished posters, on display now in the DVD section, are visually stunning.

Graphic design poster of t-rex head and a safari vehicle with the Michael Crichton quote, "The planet has survived will certainly survive us."
Jurassic Park

Saydee, Toni, and Mackenzie each brought their own unique abilities to the project and worked together to create designs for classic stories like The Great Gatsby, The Color Purple, and Jurassic Park.

Saydee, a junior graphic designer at ETSU and a Johnson City native, used simple color blocking and rigid color schemes to illustrate complex images. She says, “This work is very different from my usual style, as I tend to work with heavy lineart and more naturalistic forms. But the exploration of this new style was super enjoyable!”

Mackenzie is an ETSU graphic design major with an advertising minor from Maryville, Tennessee. She says, “My focus is on typography work and branding designs. My goal with this project was to personalize the type design for each poster to pair with Saydee’s illustration work. I wanted to make the type unique for each story.”

As an ETSU junior pursuing an art history major, Toni brought her knowledge of typography and composition to the design process.

Not only did the students work together, but they also worked collaboratively with our Library staff.

Adult Services Librarian Lisa Williams says, “The students pitched us multiple options with prototype designs. Once we settled on an overall approach, we met regularly to express concerns or just finesse things. We’re very pleased with the results, which are totally unique to JCPL.”

Graphic design of a man and woman facing each other holding hands with a castle in the background with the William Goldman quote, "As you wish."
The Princess Bride

The partnership came about from a conversation Lisa had with Kelly Porter, an ETSU graphic design professor. Kelly mentioned that in some of her classes students do case studies with community organizations at no charge. “It’s a way for students to gain real world experience working with clients, meeting timelines, creating deliverables, and adding to their own portfolios,” Lisa explains.

This partnership was a great experience and benefitted everyone involved. “JCPL is a particularly attractive place in the community to have work displayed because so many people visit every day,” Lisa says. “And the Library got some absolutely beautiful artwork free of charge.”

The stories chosen for the eight posters were picked collaboratively and thoughtfully. Lisa says, “We asked the students, as emerging professional designers, to use their designs to help us solve a particular challenge.”

New releases tend to circulate most in the DVD collection, so we’re always looking for ways to highlight the wider range of classic movies we have.

Graphic design poster of a vintage typewriter holding a piece of paper with the Stephen King quote, "I am your #1 fan" written on it.

“Until Library users can get their turn with the newest items,” Lisa says, “we want them to browse and discover the wealth of other movies we have that they’d enjoy. Movie posters have been a traditional way to draw people in, but we needed something that would be more permanent and intrigue people on a deeper level.”

The posters created by Saydee, Toni, and Mackenzie fit what we were looking for exactly. They highlight a diverse range of classic stories and genres, from Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, to True Grit by Charles Portis, to Stephen King’s Misery.

Stop by the second-floor Media Center to enjoy these beautiful posters and see if you can identify the book/movie that each represents. And while you’re at it, browse our large collection of movies and TV shows!

Drop by 100 West Millard Street, visit, or call (423) 434-4450 to find our collections, programs, and services. Follow Johnson City Public Library on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates.

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