The Texas State Communication Design Exit Review is a bi-annual portfolio showcase for graduating designers preparing to enter the workforce. The purpose of the event is to invite local design professionals to network, review portfolios, and for selected design professionals to identify Portfolio Award Winners. Students are divided into five committees to collectively conceptualize, produce, and promote the event, and each semester the event is branded with an identity system that uniquely reflects the skillsets, creative talents, and personality of the graduating class. Of the 36 graduating seniors, I was selected by faculty to both serve as Chair and assemble a select team of student designers for the semester’s Exit Review Brand Committee.

As part of the Brand Committee, our task was to conceptualize the Art Direction and Identity system for the Fall 2023 Exit Review. We centered the direction around Unparalleled, a system inspired by the wide array of individual design strengths and perspectives that make up the graduating class and the unique journeys these backgrounds will lead us on as we prepare for the next chapter. Unparalleled embraces the multifaceted identities that shape our design practice, and celebrates the various ways our paths interact and relate to one another as we become the next generation of designers.

Project Roles

Winding, overlapping lines paired with a dynamic and comprehensive color palette were conceptualized to serve as an abstracted yet literal representation of the diverse journeys our design paths take us.

An editorial typographic treatment and pairing was designed to give the system both a sense of structured legibility with an informal, humanistic touch–a testament to the ways we’ve learned, worked, and designed throughout our education.
Individual identities are celebrated through subtle pin-points along our lines/paths that highlight the multifaceted backgrounds and experiences shaping the way we see the world and approach our work. Specific directional vocabulary was chosen to compliment and further the system’s active and conversational tone.

We use the system’s distinctive color palette throughout the photography to further highlight our respective and unique identities. Headshots are given a warm, clear treatment to communicate professionalism and authenticity, while environmental shots inject more energized and playful representations of movement and individual personality. 

A comprehensive series of digital graphics were created to generate excitement for attendees, and to aid in the promotion of the event through lively Instagram posts and reels and email marketing blasts. 

All promotional pieces direct to the official Communication Design Exit Review website that showcases and links to each graduating senior’s design portfolio. Filters are included to help professionals and employers narrow their search to more specific designers with particular specializations or paths. 

Name badges were systematically designed to give each person a unique treatment while maintaining brand consistency. Lines were created to work with small, medium, and large name lengths for proportionality while a color system was established for Graduates, Faculty, and Volunteers to help quickly and easily identify prospective connections. 

Custom wayfinding was created for natural movement and flow throughout the event, and to ensure attendees are able to connect with designers spread throughout the event space.

Project Takeaways:
Unparalleled taught me how to effectively navigate an agile design sprint and how to quickly ideate, prototype and pitch to a large number of stakeholders. I was able to learn how to prepare a comprehensive identity system and art direction campaign with formalized design rules and specifications for hand-off to other designers to streamline collaboration processes and maintain consistency (and how those rules develop and change over time!). The project underscored the importance of working across diverse teams to maintain brand and messaging coherence for me, while highlighting the dynamic nature of conceptual ideas in real-world practice.
With More Time and Resources
With added time and resources, I would like to continue to explore refining the overall design system to avoid some of the "line overkill" we experienced, and introduce additional conceptual design elements for visual variety while ensuring consistency. I’d also like to enhance the system by introducing a more refined and energetic motion palette to better leverage Exit Review’s digital-first promotional strategies. I believe there’s also interesting opportunities to expand Unparalleled’s system to other print and analog mediums for a more engaging experience.
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      AUSTIN, TX