Sputnik is CCA's in-house, award-winning undergraduate design studio. Vice President of Communications Chris Bliss founded Sputnik in 1995, and today the Marketing and Creative Services Team in CCA's Communications Office manages the studio.

How Sputnik Works

Sputnik is a unique model that simulates (and in many ways certainly is) a typical professional client/agency relationship, where the "client" is a CCA staff member with a project request. The "agency" is composed of the the following members:

  • Sputnik graphic designer(s)
  • faculty Graphic Design advisor
  • managing editor
  • design and production manager
  • director of marketing

Sputnik is a wonderful internship opportunity for Graphic Design students to extend their training beyond the traditional classroom environment and deal with real projects, real deadlines, and real limitations (of time, budget, and resources).

Every semester, Graphic Design faculty members nominate third- and fourth-year students to interview for Sputnik. Eight to 10 are selected. Sputnik may be taken as an upper-level elective or for internship credit.

What Does Sputnik Produce?

Sputnik produces 80 to 100 print and multimedia projects for the college each year -- everything from CCA's twice-yearly magazine, Glance, to posters, videos, brochures, advertising, invitations, signage, books, and more.

Under the direction of Communications staff and the faculty advisor, the students design each piece from concept to production, meeting with clients, presenting ideas, and completing the project.

Sputnik students have won design awards from UCDA, HOW, Print, among many other prestigious organizations for their projects.

View recent projects on Issuu »

Read an interview about Sputnik with faculty advisor Bob Aufuldish »

Student Benefits of Sputnik Design Studio

  • Produce actual projects from beginning to end: concept to design, prepress, and press check
  • Work directly with clients, both individually and in teams
  • Acquire skills in software and print production
  • Learn about best practices in marketing and promotion
  • Gain an understanding of the impact of paper selection, print costs, and mailing costs
  • Acquire actual print and multimedia pieces for your portfolio, many of which are produced in quantities ranging from 1,000 to 30,000 and mailed to students, alumni, donors, and the greater CCA community
  • Enjoy personal instruction from a faculty member, full-time staff, and a full-time editor in a small class of just eight to 10 students
  • Make a real impact by promoting the college's programs, events, and initiatives

Sputnik Design Studio Objectives

  • Make work under actual deadlines within limitations of time, budget, and resources
  • Design for audiences other than college-age graphic design students
  • Present your work to real clients who will not be swayed by buzzwords
  • Prepare mechanical files that will output correctly
  • Complete actual, effective projects that have real impact

Sputnik students leave each semester with strong skills, new confidence, professional experience, and a path leading to internships and jobs.

Prospective Clients

Scheduling Your Project

Sputnik is held during both the fall and spring semesters, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 3 p.m. in the Communications Office on CCA's San Francisco campus. Individual projects last anywhere from a few weeks to the entire semester.

Bandwidth is limited, so in order to have your project considered, you must contact our team 8-10 weeks before the beginning of the semester in which the project will take place.

Contact the Design and Production Manager to start the process, or if you have any questions or concerns regarding a publication or project you're currently working on.

Who Does Sputnik Serve, and What Is the Process?

Sputnik is a resource for CCA staff only. Sputnik cannot accept student, faculty, or class projects.

  • Clients must be employed by California College of the Arts
  • Projects must be tangible and promote the college at large, preferably to an external audience
  • Your project must be able to be completed within the duration of one semester
  • You must be available to meet with the students in person in class (Tues./Thurs. noon-3 p.m.) in San Francisco
  • Projects must have an approved departmental budget to produce and/or mail the project in advance of commissioning Sputnik
  • Vendors must be paid within 30 days from invoice date
  • You must be able to provide a mailing list and a quantity (when applicable)

Concepts & Revisions Process

Clients will attend an initial "kickoff" meeting with Sputnik to brief the team on the project. Shortly after this meeting, the client will review up to two rounds of concepts (in-person presentation) and, once a concept is chosen, they will have the opportunity to review up to three rounds of minor text and layout changes. Additional rounds are not possible, due to resources and time.

If your project runs over three rounds or past the end of the semester, the student will need to be paid a flat or hourly rate for the duration of the project. The funds must come out of your department's budget, and the arrangements must be made for this in cooperation with Communications staff, before the end of the semester in which the project should have been completed.

Working with Sputnik is intended to be fun and collaborative for everyone involved. Help us meet our goals and deadlines, and we will do the same for you!

Do you have a design project need that falls outside of Sputnik's purview? Fill out a Marketing & Creative Services Project Request to submit your design or printing project, and we will do our best to connect you with a designer who can help.