Last weekend was Imagine RIT. The designer behind the official poster of the festival was second year Graphic Design student, Tyler Somers. His design was reproduced hundreds of times and thousands of attendees to Imagine were able to take home a copy of the poster with his design. Check out as Tyler tells us a little bit behind his design for the Imagine poster in this week’s Campus Celebrity!
When did you decide you wanted to submit a design for Imagine? Why?
It was originally a project for my Typography II class with Lorrie Frear. Before this, I had no intention to submit a design. However, once I had spent a lot of time on creating the poster for my class, I decided I might as well submit it. My goal was to get into the top five designs that would go to President Destler for selection.
How did you come up with the design?
Once I decided on my concept, I played with ideas of how to represent diversity and collaboration. One of the ideas that I came up with was a maze. I started to look at different types of mazes such as corn mazes, video games, labyrinths, puzzles, and more. I really liked the shape and look of circular toy mazes. I then created a maze of my own involving the letters of "IMAGINE."
What were some of your inspirations behind the design?
There were two words that I used to draw my concept from; diversity and collaboration. These two words mean a lot to me at RIT. I have found that our campus is very diverse in disciplines. However, these disciplines are not kept separate from one another. Instead, there are many programs that encourage collaboration between students. This is one of the reasons why RIT students are so successful with innovation. Through collaboration, students can draw from many backgrounds to complete full-scale, incredible projects. I decided to show this off in my design through the maze-like imagery. Each path represents a college at RIT, and although they go in different directions, they meet together in the center.
What was the process behind the design? How many rough drafts, when was the piece finalized (were you working until the last minute or days before), etc.
The design is very simple, so creating it on the page did not take long. The tricky part was the structure and paths of the maze-like design. I created many variations and looked for which one had the most interesting and balanced design. After the design was created, all that was left was tweaking the design. This involved a lot of pushing forward and drawing back of ideas. Some of these were excessive such as radiating lines and textures. Others worked well and were kept such as the subtle gradient. I finished the poster well before the deadline, which made submitting very relaxing.
Were there any other designs before the final one? If so, how many and could you describe them?
There were a few. These involved the same concepts, just with different imagery. One of my previous designs had different elements to represent the different colleges and disciplines of each. This design was much more complex, however it also used a center point where everything came together. Another one of my designs was actually on the other end of the scale. It was very simple, and I chose to abandon it because it did not represent RIT enough. There were a few more designs that I sketched, but only one made it to the finish line.
Did you have any help? (Professors classmates providing critiques, etc.)
Yes, definitely. I received many useful critiques from my professor, Lorrie Frear, and from a lot of classmates. Our class was very supportive of each other during the project.
Did you ever feel like giving up? If so, how did you overcome that?
There was a moment when I was working on this design that I felt like it was going nowhere. I got frustrated with how the design looked, and I gave up on it. After a few days of playing with some other concepts, I decided to revisit the design. I made some changes, and the design seemed to come alive again. Everything past that point was smooth sailing.
What did it feel like to see you had won?
It felt great. I had put a lot of work into the design, so the anticipation for the announcement was tough. I was actually called and notified right before it was announced to the entire campus. At that moment, I was sitting in the SAU eating lunch. I had to try and contain myself from exploding with excitement.
Has the winning the competition opened any doors for you? (Connections, jobs, etc.)
Unfortunately, not many. The poster has definitely created some buzz from different companies. Some companies have been impressed, but I have not received an offer for an internship yet.
How did it feel seeing your poster around campus leading up to and during Imagine RIT? When they were giving them away to visitors, knowing they were taking home your work?
It was very exciting to see my poster around campus. I kept doing double takes when I would see the poster on campus or on Facebook. On the day of the festival, I got to sign some posters, which was a lot of fun. As I would walk around the campus, I could see who had picked up a copy of my poster.
What advice would you give to other designers who are working on final projects? Or clients?
See as much as you can. There is so much great design happening outside of RIT. Expose yourself to as much of this as you can. Good design can be and is taught here at RIT. However, great design develops over time. Take the initiative to learn more. We live in an incredible time when you can use the Internet to see what designers are making worldwide. Don't let these resources go to waste.