Every year, American University puts on an exhibition showcasing student design work, and in our branding design class we were tasked with designing the theme for the show. Before considering visuals, I thought about what unique aspects of design could be celebrated that were also specific to AU. I landed on the concept of collaboration, as the team atmosphere is one of the things I love most about design, and in my classes here in particular. No project is truly made alone—critiques, feedback from peers and professors, outside inspiration, and input from friends and family are all integral to the design process.
I considered how the concept of collaboration could be conveyed visually, and landed on photography as the main medium to create semi-surreal scenes where objects made for one person are adapted to be shared by many.
This concept has been chosen for the Spring 2019 Design Show—more work to come soon!
Peer Beer is a variety pack of beers where each flavor is inspired by an archetype in a friend group. There’s the Irresponsible Friend (beer spiked with tequila), the Pretentious Friend (a craft IPA), and the Uptight Friend (a sensible lager), and the descriptions on the labels are all written in the points of view of these individuals. To add personality to the packaging, I created illustrations of the characters and hand wrote all of the typography.
Visual Identity: Practice Art Supplies
Practice is an art supply store with a focus on education and the idea that the brand can be beginner-friendly while still maintaining professional levels of expertise. The target audience is anyone who is interested in learning about and making art, whether they are just starting out or looking to deepen their practice.
I began with a logo and color palette that are based in the fundamental elements of art while still remaining friendly and experimental. I then included examples of the brand guidelines in potential practical applications.
Bringing Art to Life
Project brief: Through photography, replicate three works of art. Create a practical application for your photos and plan the photoshoot in advance in a way that best serves your purpose for the final design deliverables.
My plan: I decided to paint directly on models and photograph them to create a “Bringing Art to Life at the MoMA” poster series, replicating two-dimensional portraits on real people. After looking for well-known portraits that used expressive brush strokes, I planned the shoots and painted the backgrounds, clothing, and models with tempera. The final application for these photographs is a series of three posters (each 18” by 24”) advertising a fictional event at the MoMA. Replications are based on works by Picasso, Matisse, and van Gogh.
Russian Bears & Puckish Glares
In Fall 2017, I completed a semester-long project at American University that involved the production of an original book. Three of our five group members (Olivia Blomstrom, Alexis Cooney, and Stephanie Williams, with guidance from faculty member Anton Fedyashin) conducted original research on the topic while I, in collaboration with Jordan McCormack and with guidance from faculty member Anna Leithauser, designed the 72-page book. This design included all of the content spreads, chapter introductions, index/introduction sections, endsheets, a cover, and an original full-spread timeline. The copy of the book shown was hardcover perfect bound by my partner and I, and additional copies were made at Springfield Printers in Virginia.
Our focus was on designing a cohesive book with dynamic spreads that did not distract from the illustrations, but instead made the images and book structure more clear to the reader while still remaining visually interesting. Significant emphasis was placed on type hierarchy and creating and breaking rules for ourselves regarding grid and composition.
Project brief: Implement a visual identity system for a restaurant that encompasses a menu and to-go packaging, including a logotype and considering functionality.
My plan: I created Con Prisa ("with haste" in English), a fast-casual tapas restaurant intended to serve to-go style food in the DC area. With a focus on fun and variety, I began with a hand-drawn logotype of mismatched letters that could be used in eight color combinations. I incorporated the style of the logotype further by creating a hand-drawn typeface in a similar mismatched style for each menu section, accompanied by a pattern of rectangles in the restaurant's color scheme. This pattern carries on to the to-go box which unfolds to reveal stacked mini containers, sized to fit small servings of tapas. The interiors of the box and container are lined with a hand-drawn pattern, and were constructed to be held together by stickers of the rectangle shapes and the yarn that is also used on the menu.
Monet at Katzen
Project brief: Produce large scale and cohesive exhibition signage for the building exterior, museum entrance, and gallery entrance that reflects an exhibit at the Katzen Museum.
My plan: Basing my signage off of a Monet exhibition, I decided to focus on light, as it is so integral to Monet's work and often considered his true subject. Since a defining aspect of Impressionism is the changing nature of light, I reflected this in the exhibition signage by planning my designs around materials that change in varying light conditions. On the building exterior and gallery entry, a photochromic ink will be painted over the signs that will be transparent in the shade but will transform the color of Monet's work in the light (as shown in the photo mockups, where the signs are seen in different colors in the light and shade). For the museum entry, I took advantage of the huge glass doors to play with reflection, placing a translucent print of Monet's painting on the window that will reflect onto the floor when light comes through the door.
Architect Book Series
Project brief: Find a series of book covers that you feel could be improved and redesign two of them. Create a cohesive brand while keeping each individual cover unique and surprising.
My plan: I chose to redesign a series of Taschen books on architects. Type and image treatment would remain consistent throughout my redesign, but composition would vary. For the imagery, I cut white paper to create the architects' iconic building shapes, using space and depth as the driving theme for this series. The images would be unique to the individual architect, but always in white to remain consistent, with one color being used for the spine and title.
Caravaggio Symposium Branding & Collateral
Project brief: Create a proposal for visual branding to be used in invitations, posters, etc. for a symposium on identifying original Caravaggio artwork. Present ideas to the board of the symposium, and work on applications for the brand identity if chosen.
My plan: This symposium is geared toward young art conservators who are detail oriented, ethical, and passionate about using forensic evidence to decipher whether a work of art is an original Caravaggio or counterfeit. Focusing on "detail-oriented", I decided to use extreme close-up detail imagery from Caravaggio's paintings, looking as closely at the work with the design as the conservators do. The title of the symposium, "Evidenza" ("Evidence" in Italian), will always be slightly covered by the artwork and set in a neat, scientific type.
After presenting my concept to the board of the symposium, my proposal was chosen and I then adapted this design to be used in a brochure and press release/invitation.
The Devil in the White City
Project brief: Using typography and original imagery, create a book jacket for a work of literature that you are familiar with. Consider that a book jacket is the first interaction that a reader has with the book and should be representative of the story.
My plan: The Devil in the White City is a nonfiction novel about a string of murders occurring during the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. To convey the book’s major theme of “hiding in plain sight”, I chose to create the Chicago skyline by punching holes on the white book cover. In addition to creating a subtle and hidden visual element, this brought a tactile element to the design. This book cover is 6.5” by 9.5” with a .75” spine