Portfolio Night is the culminating event for the College of DuPage Graphic Design program, and every year the Design 4 students compete to create the logo and identity for that year. I’m thrilled to announce that the department has chosen my identity for Portfolio Night 2010. This is a huge honor for me, and marks a turning point in my design thinking (not to mention a boost for my confidence).
Previous portfolio night identities had heavily relied on the image of a traditional portfolio case as a primary design element. I felt that this was too obvious and overdone, and not representative of what a portfolio even looks like now. I wanted the logo to connect to high school students (read: prospective graphic design students) who live in an increasingly digital world and may not even have any point of reference for what a portfolio case is supposed to be. I felt that it would be more appropriate to create something that represented what graphic design meant to me, so I began with typography and a grid.
I created a custom typeface in three weights with a modern, modular approach with a dash of pixel art thrown in. The type follows a strict grid system, but still displays a lot of character in its little quirks and idiosyncrasies. I chose a bright, enthusiastic color scheme that reflected the excitement that surrounds portfolio night.
The modular nature of the typeface gives the logo a nice rectangular shape, which can be reconfigured for a vertical banner…
…or even patterned…
…infinitely. (This was a little gag on fellow design student Alex Yaeger who has a penchant for displaying his designs in faux-macro perspective. I kid because I love.) This pattern of the logotype can be read horizontally and vertically, and creates an interesting diagonal colored stripes.
Graphic design school is intense. We regularly spend long nights pulling our hair out agonizing over concepts and bleeding our imaginations dry for the best work we can muster. Portfolio night is a celebration of the fruit of our labors, and I wanted to acknowledge and even celebrate this struggle in the promotional poster.
The poster reads “Blood Sweat and Graphic Design. See the top COD Graphic Design students and the work that nearly killed them.” Playful, tongue-in-cheek, yet honest.
You can see the typographic pattern on the close-up. (The date is not official, don’t mark your calendars quite yet.)
The back of the poster is a brochure outlining the details of the event.
It’s portfolio night tradition to print t-shirts emblazoned with the logo, so I mocked up some possible designs.
Notice the logo pattern appearing again as a subtle grey-on-black in the background. This version could be used throughout the actual night of the event, giving it a more refined, classy feel that may appeal more to guests from the professional design world.
The logo looks pretty slick on a dark shirt as well.
And finally, because there is a custom typeface to work with, all supporting materials match and support the identity and stand as unique and unmistakable pieces of the whole. For instance, a slide in the actual Portfolio Night presentation might look something like this:
I’d like to thank my teachers, family, and classmates for all the encouragement and support. I put a lot of myself into this design, and it feels amazing to hear how much other people like it. This was a big step forward in my personal relationship with design, not just because of how it turned out, but how I thought about it, and I couldn’t have achieved it without all of you.
Thanks for everything.