At IU Communications, we pride ourselves on hiring interns who can easily pass as seasoned pros. They’re talented, they’re ambitious, and they don’t miss a beat when it comes to what’s happening in the branding world. Sometimes we teach them, but most of the time, they teach us. That’s why we weren’t surprised when our design intern, Dylan Lowe, brought home a silver Addy for her work on the cover of the IU Kokomo viewbook.
I’ve fawned over this viewbook cover a lot since the day it landed on our proof counter. It stands out—not by being “bold and colorful” but by being bold and colorless. Its minimal design is a visual representation of the message: at IU Kokomo, your opportunities are limitless, like a maze with no dead ends.
Dylan received her BFA in graphic design from Southern Utah University and currently is pursuing her MFA in graphic design at IU. She also designed her first “typeface” at age 10. She sat down and let me gush about her work, while she answered my questions.
First off, CONGRATULATIONS! The IU Kokomo viewbook was one of your first projects at IU Communications. What was your biggest learning moment?
Thank you! Oh gosh, there were so many learning moments, but I think the most significant was the importance of iteration and working through ideas as a team. I wouldn’t have come to the final idea without it!
Talk through the design decisions you made on this viewbook cover.
We wanted to portray the “limitless” theme in a way that was different from other viewbook covers Kokomo had had, and also wanted to make sure the design would show up against the red tablecloth they often use for recruitment tours. To me the decision was between a white cover or a photograph, and later decided that incorporating hand lettering was something that would make it super unique. In the end, having a full white cover with the emboss/deboss, to me, told the message of “limitless” best.
Did the emboss/deboss come to you right away? What other iterations did you explore?
That idea didn’t come till a bit later! My original idea was to use the lettering on top of this beautiful photo of their campus, or use it in red on a white or limestone background, but ultimately the haptic interaction of the emboss/deboss won out, which I’m super happy with!
How did you incorporate the university’s branding initiative, Fulfilling the Promise, into the concept?
I decided to design echoes around the lettering to create the idea of “limitless” continuing forever, which to me ties in with Fulfilling the Promise because this is something that Indiana University will do forever. I think it was pretty successful!
Were there any challenges, from concept to design to the finished printed piece, that you needed to work through?
Finalizing the lettering and echoes around it! Getting the angles, styling, and weights exactly how I wanted was a big challenge, but ultimately paid off.
What are your favorite types of projects to work on?
I think like any designer, the projects where you get to try new ideas or techniques that push boundaries. This cover was a piece like that, and was super fun to create! I also love working large scale because I don’t often get to do that.
What are you working on right now?
Currently I’m working on some illustrations for Money Smart$ and some large-scale signage for some areas around campus. I’m also working on some stuff while I work towards my BFA that is the opposite of large scale design. My mini books are literally 1.5x2in.
Who are your design heroes?
Young Jerks, Jill De Haan, and Gemma O’Brien. I secretly want to be friends with all of them but feel super creepy trying to do it over the internet.