For the 2020 MFA Thesis Show at Boston University, the branding team (Wei Yun Chen, Krystyn Wypasek, Julian Parikh, and I) created a holistic and participatory system that is meant to fully represent all graduating Masters students from the programs housed in the School of Visual Arts. Due to the pandemic, the show turned into a virtual exhibition and a few adjustments were made to the original plan.
We built a custom 20x20 square grid with three layers of concentric circles layered on top that visually indicates the 40 students graduating from the three distinct programs, Graphic Design, Painting, and Sculpture.
We chose a diverse set of colors to represent our diverse program. And decided to use brighter colors to add a joyful and energetic touch to our brand.
The grid became the base for every part of the system. It was given to each student and they were asked to create a unique identifier. These 40 unique shapes come together to represent each student across print and digital media
The grid also became the basis for a set of custom typefaces we created for the shows. With such a complex grid, we were able to make dozens of different letterforms. From them, we chose three letterforms we liked best and developed them into three sets of full alphabets. The layering of these three alphabets references our three programs housed in one school. 1. Chunky is the heaviest weight of the three, so it always appears on the bottom. 2. Fishy This is the transitional typeface, featuring heavier terminals and thin strokes. This alphabet always appears in the middle of the layering. 3. Narrow is the last alphabet that has the thinnest weight of all three and always appears as the top layer.
We chose Tisa as our secondary typeface. Tisa is a serif typeface created by Slovenian designer Mitja Miklavčič in 2006. It has a large x-height, which offers excellent legibility, and it is an excellent choice for setting long passages of text on the web. It also has a sans serif version that pairs well both with Tisa Pro and our complex 3 layered typeface.
With the shapes that students had made and the three typefaces, we created a thesis catalog showcasing student’s thesis statements and relevant works. The first two pages of the catalog are printed on a translucent paper, enabling readers to see the typefaces, and the list of students in each program, individually as well as together.
Due to the pandemic our thesis show moved online, and another part was added to our branding project. We designed a website to be able to hold an online show and still give the students a chance to showcase their thesis projects.
We made an instagram page to showcase work of the students. Because of the 2020 pandemic, it was helpful to have this virtual platform to continue showcasing work, while being consistent with our branding. Every student has a post with their shape, and for those who submitted for instagram, images of their work follows their shape.