by Kylah Thompson
The newly formed U.Design Club held The U. Design Student Logo Competition on December 3, 2021, in partnership with Google’s Shape Co-Lab.
Small Tallahassee business owners completed a preliminary survey to qualify for the event where graphic design students raced to create a design compatible with their “client’s” needs. Graphic design students who took part in the competition had a thirty-minute window to plan and design a logo for their assigned business.
Senior Graphic Design student Briana Yewell created the winning design for the brand “Support Local Artists.” Yewell described the experience as exciting, crediting her continuous training throughout the semester for her success in the competition.
“Research is the most important step when designing anything,” Yewell said. “I researched the three words: support, local, artists, and combined them all within a logo.”
After spending 10 minutes on research, Yewell spent the rest of her thirty-minute window on designing.
“To add a little flair, I added a paintbrush to emphasize the art concept. While I wish I added other mediums of art, I’m still satisfied with my results.”
One major benefit all students received was feedback from the judges: Rick Johanson, Google UX Program Manager, Angelica McKinley, art director of Google Doodles, and Donald Swain, senior product design on Youtube.
McKinley said it was difficult to choose a winner.
“What stood out was a strong use of color choice. Color can be difficult to work with,” McKinley said. “I also like the idea of leaning into the support part, icons used throughout to connect.”
At the end of the competition, Johanson awarded all participants google smart audio speakers from the Google Devices and Hardware team. He stated that the goal of the partnership is to provide students with access to supplemental resources, course instruction, and unique opportunities to interact with Googlers.
“Design is fundamental to solving some of the biggest world and social challenges,” Johanson said. “The industry needs more designers.”
Dean Mira Lowe of SJGC expressed her appreciation for the partnership.
“Having Google designers and artists critique and mentor SJGC graphic design students in this way is really powerful,” Lowe said. “This partnership is going to take the quality of work produced to the next level.”
Creation of the U. Design Club
In an industry like graphic design where less than 3 percent of all designers are black, programs such as this at an HBCU are a big deal.
Since its founding in 1982, the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication has garnered a reputation for producing talented journalists. Student-oriented organizations such as the Public Relations Student Society (PRSSA) and The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) have served as integral resources for SJGC students for years, exposing them to industry trends and necessary skill sets for the workforce.
Now, SJGC’s graphic design program, which is also touted for its award-winning students is being spotlighted for its top-notch talent showcased in the U-Design club at FAMU founded in September 2021, which is an extension of the Shape Co-Lab program by Google.
Emmanuel Childs, the founding President of the U.Design Club, explained why he is so passionate about the formation of this organization.
“U.Design Club is developing the skills of graphic design students,” Childs said. “We do this through portfolio reviews, and outreach to high-schoolers, by sharing the insights we’ve gained from not only Google but also other companies we receive feedback from.”
Childs also spoke about his own maturation as a designer through his experience with the club and what he envisions for the future of the organization.
“It’s helped me to grow by forcing me to develop my leadership skills,” Childs said. “By going through the process of creating a solid foundation and initiating projects”
Anosh Gill, interim graphic design department chair and U. Design Club advisor worked to create the partnership with Google over the last few years, calling on Google contacts to teach courses.
“This is an ideal case where a company has spent hundreds of hours investing time and talent to support the program,” Gill said. “I don’t think there has ever been a multinational company building up graphic design students and enhancing their educational experience in this way.”
Nadia Tsegga, the founding Vice President of the U-Design Club, echoed this sentiment while also emphasizing how beneficial it was to partner with Google.
“Students finally have the opportunity to break into the tech industry and pioneer the space of design and innovation for our future,” Tsegga said. “With the guidance of the Google UX teams, FAMU students will now be able to build new experiences that impact the world in a positive and meaningful way. Our Rattlers are ready to strike again!”