Published on February 20, 2023 by Ashley Smith  
turbulence side view

Katy Thomas is a junior graphic design student at Samford.  Her recent success confirms that her decision to “change course” and come to Samford to pursue this degree was meant to be. 

“Samford is my starting place. I had no artistic background prior to coming to Samford. I never took an art class, and I came in as a non-traditional student having been out of school for several years. I feel like Samford took a chance on me, and I am so grateful,” said Thomas. “As it turns out, more than anything, the opportunity they gave me was to prove to myself that I wasn't too late. It's never too late for you to pursue a dream.” 

Not only has she proven to herself that it is not too late to become an artist, she has also garnered attention for her work.  While in an intermediate mixed media class, she encountered an assignment whereby she had to apply to open calls for exhibitions.  She submitted her work Turbulence to an online show Aqua 2022.  This mixed media piece was selected and is currently on display here.

She said that she was grateful to have to go through the process of trying and is appreciative of her faculty. “They have been very supportive and built up the foundation that I lacked, and supported me in every endeavor,” said Thomas.

Additionally, Thomas worked with a commercial music student, Emerie Ediger, recently on creative for her new release, Drowning from the Inside, which just went live on Spotify.  The collaboration resulted when her product packaging class partnered with students from the commercial music program. “We were to design a CD package for the song they had been working on, and I'm the lucky one who was paired with Emerie Ediger,” said Thomas.

“I knew what I envisioned for her song after listening to it. Listening to it felt like you were underwater, trying to swim towards the surface in slow motion,” said Thomas.  Thomas and Ediger chose a unique photographic process called cyanotype to accomplish the feeling they wanted. “I think the realness with which we approached this was the most fun and satisfying part of the project. Also, it's wild to see something I designed on Spotify!” said Thomas.

According to Thomas, there were many benefits to this collaboration. “It connects you with students that you otherwise might not meet, which is enriching in the present but also forges connections that will be important later in life,” said Thomas. “It also simulates what we will be doing after we graduate. Designing for clients has to be approached with their story and their needs as first priority.”    

She has enjoyed how art can impact her graphic design, especially her work in mixed media. “The hands-on techniques that I've learned have turned out to be transferable skills in my graphic design projects. Collage, image transfer, and cyanotype are a few of the processes that I have incorporated into projects like book covers, posters, album covers, etc. Not only do these manual processes elevate design, but they give me a chance to change my workflow and take a break from being on my computer,” said Thomas. 

Before Samford, Thomas said, “I really had no reason to think that I could be a ‘creative’. I just wanted to try to change the course I was on, and Samford allowed me that opportunity.”  With her recent success, it seems like she has chosen the right course.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.