Olivia Brandow, a sophomore Graphic Design major, is responsible for creating three new Mercyhurst t-shirts that are now being distributed by the Admissions Office.
Brandow was a freshman enrolled in Introduction to Graphic Design when the Admissions Office approached her professor, Jodi Staniunas-Hopper, associate professor of art and the Graphic Design Program director, to propose that the class participate in a contest to create three t-shirt designs.
Previously, the Admissions Office and the Marketing Department make the designs for the shirts, but this year admissions decided to have students create the design.
“We wanted to show students that they could ‘get the experience,’” said Andrea Grady, associate director for the Admissions Office.
The assignment was to create a series of three gender neutral t-shirts. The t-shirts had to be coordinated and had to be Mercyhurst themed. The design and concept for the shirts also had to be original.
“Olivia really took the practice of type as art seriously and used her skills to create a unique design solution for this multi-layered design challenge,” Hopper said.
Once the t-shirts were finished, each student presented their three designs to Grady and Dana McMillin, assistant director for the Admissions Office. The presentation consisted of an explanation for the design, and why the students did what they did.
Grady and McMillin took the designs back to the Admissions Office and the department as a whole voted on the set of three that were going to be made to give to students.
“We were looking for creativity, uniqueness and something that would appeal to undergraduates. It was very hard to pick one set, they were all great designs,” Grady said.
Brandow’s designs were strictly typographic. Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed.
“My theme for the shirts was based on word jumbles and concrete poetry or typography, which was something we learned in class,” Brandow said.
One of Brandow’s designs will be given to high school students who visit for campus tours, another will be given to those attending open houses and the third one will be given to students attending events next spring for accepted students.
When asked about the assignment when it was first announced, Brandow said she felt confident at her chances of winning, but that she was nervous because there were a lot of other good designs in the class.
“I’m excited that I won and I can’t wait to see people wearing my shirts next year,” Brandow said.
Both Hopper and Grady hope that this new partnership between the Graphic Design Department and the Admissions Department continues, and that students from upcoming years enjoy the t-shirts all the more because of it.