The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant Sonia Robiner '16

In this series, the Rockefeller Center features our Student Program Assistants, student staff who contribute significantly to the success of the Center’s events, programs, and activities.

The posters for the Rockefeller Center’s public programs can be seen everywhere around campus. From the residential dorms to the library, these posters are meant to stand out and catch your eye. Sonia Robiner ’16 is the creative mastermind behind these graphic designs, and she works closely with Joanne Needham, Coordinator of Public and Special Events, to create unique posters with the objective of garnering public interest for these programs.

Student Program Assistant Sonia Robiner '16. Photo by Sally Kim '16.

Sonia has been interested in graphic design since high school, where she learned how to use InDesign and Photoshop for her school newspaper. She became involved with Rocky when someone told her about the Student Program Assistant position of graphic designer. "I already had the technical skills required for this position, so I went to talk to Joanne and showed her some sample designs," she says.

The process for designing each poster is similar, even if the topics of the public programs are different. In the beginning of the term, Sonia will receive the speaker schedule from Needham, as well as any relevant design elements such as the Rockefeller Center logo. She is also given a one-page summary with any other important pieces of information needed for the poster, such as the name of the speaker and any co-sponsors, as well as the title of the talk.

The most important part of the process is brainstorming visual ways to represent the public talk. Sonia aims to symbolize what the public program is about in order reflect the topic. "Hopefully just by looking at the design, people can get an idea of what the talk will be about without even having to read the poster," she says.

After designing an initial draft, Sonia will go back and forth with Needham to discuss revisions and any design-related or logistical changes. "Sonia never ceases to amaze me," Needham says. "Given basic details about a public event, she always comes up with a design that is both informative and visually appealing. Every speaker has requested a copy of the poster to hang in his or her office - a true compliment to any graphic designer."

Finally, Sonia will sign the poster, and it will be sent off for printing and distribution around the College. She comments, "It’s pretty cool to see my work up in Rocky and Collis, wherever students will be."

The Rockefeller Center used to hire a professional graphic designer to create poster designs until the staff discovered that some students also have the creative and technical skills to do it. Sonia is the second student ever to fill this position. An Economics modified with Psychology major and an Ethics minor, Sonia finds that creating the public program posters is a pleasant outlet for her creativity separate from her classwork. She comments, "It’s a good way to exercise creativity, which I can’t really do in most respects except for graphic design."

-Written by Courtney Wong '15, Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant   

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