Graphic Design Students Design Panda Express Murals

Three Department of Art, Art History, and Design students have designed murals that are now on permanent display in the newest Panda Express restaurant, located on Grand River Ave. in East Lansing.

Malarie French, Graphic Design and Packaging double major, and Will Mianecki, Graphic Design and Professional Writing double major, were awarded first place design. Their mural is installed on the feature wall in the restaurant. Second place went to Chloe Jennings, Graphic Design major, and is installed on the return wall in the restaurant.

French and Mianecki’s design was inspired by the competition’s theme, American Chinese told with Spartan Spirit. Panda Express wanted original artwork that infused the MSU community spirit with the Panda Express values fueling moments of happiness, optimism and school pride. Using a minimal color design, French and Mianecki were able to take MSU imagery, school motifs, and Chinese cultural symbols to create a cohesive and exciting large-scale piece of art.

A woman (left) standing next to a man (right). They are standing in front of a colorfully painted wall.
Malarie French and Will Mianecki stand in front of their 1st place winning mural design inside Panda Express 

“It’s extremely exciting to have our work installed in a space that is so visible,” Mianecki said. “We’re grateful to have had the opportunity to work with an organization that’s interested in engaging in and collaborating with the local community.”

Jenning’s idea for the mural came from her childhood love of fortune cookies with each cookie on the mural having its own fortune, ranging from “Sparty will soon enter into your life” to “leave your mark on this world,” a sweet reminder of the community here at MSU.

Woman with brown hair standing in front of a red wall with fortune cookies painted on it.
Chloe Jennings stands with her mural inside Panda Express

“[Fortune cookies] are the epitome of Chinese American food and I grew up always itching to crack one open. To combine the positive, self-growth that many students feel as Spartans, it made perfect sense to portray that spirit through fortune cookies,” Jennings said. “I’m excited to have my work installed in such a publicly visited place in such a big scale. This is the biggest thing I’ve designed yet.”

Both murals were installed using heat infused vinyl.

I’m excited to have my work installed in such a publicly visited place in such a big scale.


The contest was open to all current undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Art, Art History, and Design (AAHD) as well as AAHD alumni from the last two years. The first place winners received $1,000, while second place was awarded $500.