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UWC-USA students create graphic, website design team

Four United World College-USA students and a 2020 graduate have teamed up to offer free graphic design services to nonprofits. Upon returning to campus in August, the students hope to offer their services to entities in New Mexico.

Since its start in March, Castillo Design has worked on logos, websites, advertisement posters, and general commercial design work, said founder Jon Yeung ’21, Hong Kong.

“We have already worked with 10-plus clients,” Jon said. “Right now, we are in talks for one project with an art society in Hong Kong and working for another retail trading organization.”

Jon wanted to create an experiential education program on the Montezuma campus to handle the international high school’s design needs, including flyers, event posters, social media posts, and so on. He recruited classmates Taisei Yokoshima of Japan, Neelabh Kashyap of India and Dumjachiki Umeh of Nigeria in addition to recent graduate Aryan Laad of the United Arab Emirates and a friend who attends Cornell University.

“My friends and I noticed that there is a lack of coherency and consistency in terms of design work,” Jon said. “Yule Ball, TEDx, culture day shows all require designers, and I thought it would be a good idea to group all the designers in an ExEd and then allocate the work amongst the group, instead of each of these events having to recruit their own designers.”

The spread of COVID-19 across the United States resulted in the mid-March evacuation of UWC-USA students. Back home, Jon realized he could still put his design skills to use to help start-ups and businesses struggling through the pandemic.

An artist and aspiring architect, the 17-year-old has done internships with three architectural practices in Hong Kong. That’s how he learned the basics of graphic design.

“I consider myself to be a creative person, and hence, dabbling in the arts of graphic design and web page design doesn’t feel foreign to me,” Jon said.

Castillo Design’s first job was to create an advertisement for a non-profit that offers tutoring to minority groups in Hong Kong.

Clients have expressed amazement after learning that Castillo Design is made up of high school students, he said.

“I don’t think they have ever worked with teenagers, as some of them were competitive companies in their respective industries,” Jonathan said. “However, after each proposal we made, they were stunned by the professionalism that we exhibited.”

One project involved designing a website.

“We provided the client with several options that our design could lean toward and intended animation for each and every entity on the website,” Jonathan said. “They were amazed by our level of dedication.”

Taisei joined the team because of his interest in industrial design.

“I have not done a lot of design work yet, so I decided to acquire experience,” he said.

The 17-year-old is pleased with client interest thus far.

“Any work we do will allow us to enhance our senses to produce higher quality aesthetics,” he said.

The name Castillo Design was inspired by UWC-USA’s historic castle.

“This idea was talked about with my friends during our daily meals in our own Harry Potter-themed cafeteria, and with a spice of Spanish from the local New Mexico culture, hence, Castillo Design,” Jon said.

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