Dannell MacIlwraith

Fiona Kane-Salafia Addy Awards

350 is a “bold, creative and strategic organization that embraces new experiments and solutions, recognizing that [the climate] crisis requires new ways of solving problems.” 350’s new campaign will prove a fresh approach can take on the challenge of shifting the mindset from fearful or desensitized.

Photo frames mockup

Fiona Kane-Salafia Flex Competition

This event branding reflects the tension students face between what they think internally about their work and how they approach criticism. The reference to old-fashioned phrenology is modernized by vibrant colors and simplified imagery. A stamping process and hand-drawn typography emphasizes the intimate and frenetic energy of the portfolio review experience.


Madison Woodruff

Transitioning from one gender to another is uncharted territory for most of us. We are content to conform to the gender we were assigned at birth and operate under the norms attributed to it. For transgender people however, navigating gendered norms is a little more complicated. To help alleviate the stress that can come with exploring and expressing gender identity, I designed a subscription skincare service tailored to a transgender audience. As a part of this project, I created a brand identity with a distinctive logo, a meaningful color palette, and gender-neutral copywriting. I also designed packaging, a series of ads, and a brand guide/view book to capture the core nature of the brand and how it should be implemented. By addressing trans people’s concerns for both their skin and their identity, we can gain a deeper understanding of how someone may transition into a more authentic self and how the skincare industry and the design industry can make it easier.

Thomas Messina SPD Competition

The Society of Publication Designers is dedicated to promoting and encouraging excellence in editorial design.

Virus causes festering creativity

By Ann Lemon

As my graduate school professors constantly reminded us, designers are “artists, first.” Our intuitive response to life is to observe it, imagine it, and record it visually.

Around the world artists, musicians, writers, illustrators and designers are responding to and documenting the Covid-19 pandemic. These artifacts are accumulating as a collective journal and will become part of our American (global) historical record.

I wanted to give our students in Historical Survey of Graphic Design (B) a chance to process and express their thoughts, opinions and emotions about the crisis we are all living through.

For their final assignment I asked students to collect facts from credible, scientific sources such as the C.D.C. and W.H.O., and identify a favorite specific piece of design discussed in the course. They then replicated their chosen artist’s style to create a poster that deals with some aspect of the pandemic.

The practice of trying to dissect and match a designer’s style (I call it “match the hatch” – as in fly fishing) gets students to discern small differences in typography, color, and other design elements, and discover the principles used by their predecessors. Dissecting and then replicating the elements of another designer’s work expands our design vocabulary.

I believe that if a student REALLY understands and identifies with the work of just one or two artists they hadn’t heard of before this class – really deeply integrates them into their consciousness – the course is a success.

A designer friend says she will never forget the exact place she was sitting in a classroom when she first saw the work of William Morris. I still remember the student project I did as an undergraduate, about Alexey Brodovitch. To this day, when I come across his work, or a reference to it in a contemporary piece, I feel like he is “my” guy.

The resulting posters delighted and amazed me. I honestly did not expect this level of ingenuity and creativity. Some of them are funny, some are deeply insightful, others convey important facts in surprising ways.

I hope that by “standing on the shoulders” of these design giants, these students will never forget the spring of 2020, or the artist they learned about in the middle of the strangest semester in history.

See if you can identify their references!


HERE IT IS! Your KUCD Yearbook!

A giant THANK YOU to Rebekah Fair for her hard work. She designed the cover and many of the interior pages. Thank you to her internship mentor at First Generation, Liz Harer (KUCD) for overseeing the project. Thank you to the faculty and students who contributed pages. It has certainly been a labor of love.

Download Yearbook!

If you would like a printed copy, there are two options available on Blurb, a hard cover version (
and a soft cover version (
We are making $0 on this.

Congratulations to all of you who are graduating!

Meet Rebekah Hanover Pettit —MFA student

Hello. My name is Rebekah Hanover Pettit.

After a previous life in audio visual production, I went back to school to become a designer. I’m an obsessive learner, and now work as a senior graphic designer at a D.C. cultural site and non-profit.

Why I decided to go back to grad school…

I decided to go to grad school for two reasons. I’ve taught as an adjunct and LOVE it. But I also believe in design and designers. Because design is experience and perspective and interaction it has the potential to bring positive change to individuals and communities.

I wasn’t sure I’d ever get the chance to pursue my MFA. Most programs require you to go full-time, uproot your family, or take on astounding amounts of debt. Finding KU is helping me fulfill a dream I didn’t think would ever be possible.

Tell us about/describe your KUCD MFA journey thus far…

So starting, actually starting, has been and emotional rollercoaster. I already had a full life with work and family, and the week before I started I was given some big, additional responsibilities at work. So I really questioned if I should perhaps delay another year, but I decided to not let circumstances and surprises derail my plans. It’s going to be a lot of work, and I’m carving out every minute I can find. I’ve also discovered a lot of support, from coworkers who share research or offer to assist with editing to artists I’ve commissioned who just provide that extra boost of encouragement and reassurance.

Honestly, Journey Week might be a little bit of a blur. It’s a lot of work. It’s exhausting, and it’s a bit of a shock to the system. But it’s also about getting your head in the game at the level you want to be and pushing each other to dig deeper and go further. I just need to remember to bring a much larger refillable mug for my coffee refills.

What has been your favorite project to date? Please tell me why.

I’m currently examining how experiential design can include or exclude cultural diversity, as well as taking a deep dive into non-Latin-based typography. Both are topics that are important to me and immediately relevant to my day job.

Fun fact about you.

  • I can’t whistle. Although I try, frequently, when working out a problem. I’m surprised none of my co-workers has complained…yet.
  • I have far too many interests for any one individual: I like to pretend I have a green thumb, and so far the blueberries have survived to year 2. I’ve tried to make most everything from scratch at least once. The crackers still need some work. I’m great with bread. Yogurt continues to be a complete failure.
  • I also play or played several instruments. Although those skills have been getting a bit rusty prepping for this program, they have served me well. I am able to make up silly songs for my preschool daughter on command.

  • And I don’t care what anyone says, the “old fashion” or “cake” donuts are the BEST. I consume a fair amount of coffee (don’t we all!). I prefer it black and keep a remarkable amount of equipment at home to make it…none of which require electricity.