The Things We Take for Granted


Kean University Graduate Denyse Mitterhofer (RBSD 2013) recently won How Magazine’s 2013 Design Award for best poster series.  Mittehofer’s project “The Things I Take for Granted” was featured in the March 2014 edition of HOW MAGAZINE.

Inspired by the stark contrast between life in America and the sometimes harsh realities of her native Peru, “The Things I Take for Granted” is an ode to life’s little luxuries.  “One day as I stared at my closet full of clothes, I caught myself saying I don't have anything to wear,” Mitterhofer recalls.  It’s certainly not an uncommon occurrence for a woman in this part of the world to bemoan her lack of clothing options. Nevertheless, the moment spurred an uncommon awakening for Mitterhoffer. “I tell myself I am not spoiled, that I have earned each thing that I currently have but truth is—I have taken my privilege for granted,” she said.   

That pivotal moment in front of the closet inspired Mitterhoffer to compile a list of the things she takes for granted on a daily basis and that list became an award winning series of posters.  Among the items depicted in the series are electricity, coffee, the artist’s blow dryer and her bed.  Mitterhoffer’s work underscores the banality and beauty of each object in spare drawings full of vibrant color. 

Mitterhoffer had the highest praise for Kean’s Robert Busch School of Design.  “The Graphic Design program at RBSD is truly unbelievable. When I tell people that I had 5-6 hour design courses they think I'm joking.”

She also appreciates the practical experience and professional opportunities she received at Kean.  “I got to work on real design projects at the Design Studio (an amazing in-house internship with Professor Dawnmarie McDermid) such as the campaign Seaside Park Strong. ( We were asked to design a t-shirt to be sold at their events and concerts, which money would help the survivors of Hurricane Irene; something very rewarding.” 

Mitterhoffer is now a designer at We Are Social, an ad agency in Manhattan. Her job entails creating everything from funny animations to digital ads and illustrations.  It’s evident that the passion Kean’s community of designers and educators helped to nurture still burns.  When asked about her career Mitterhoffer replied, “I absolutely love it.” 

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