YSDN 2021
Branding & Management
September 2020 - April 2021
Creating a brand for the YSDN 2021 Graduation Showcase: there∴fore. Held the title of Director of Branding (Strategy), and co-led a small team of 11 students.
Branding Our YSDN Experience
The major challenge was how to create an overarching brand that represents a unique experience? Our team went through multiple visual inspirations and names, until we settled on the name: Therefore.

Therefore, being a conclusive statement allowed us to represent the closing of our YSDN journey. We also used the symbol "∴" within the brand visuals and copywriting.
Representing our Individuality
A major value that the team decided on was making sure our individuality was shown throughout the brand. Due to the pandemic, the showcase was fully online, which made students worry about having the chance to show their own personality and flavour through a screen.

Our team came up with the idea of mark-making, where each student was able to draw their own individual mark with a custom-made Photoshop brush. The idea of mark-making also allowed us to bring a "printed" element into our digital showcase.
Showcasing our Journey
The use of the therefore symbol was used on our copywriting in our personal biographies, and on our social media posts. The statements allowed for copywriting to be consistent, as well as strongly related to the symbol and our brand.
Unlike past YSDN graduate showcases, we were unable to use the program facilities to take our portraits. Since we had everyone take their own portraits, we decided to use the brand colours to duotone the images to keep the look consistent.
To add in textures to our brand, we created a custom photoshop brush that is used for our mark-making symbols and other background elements needed. These symbols were used on top of, or in replace of the therefore logo.

Each student was also able to used the custom brushes to create their own mark-making symbol. The personal symbols were used in their profile on the website as a representation of themselves, while the brand-made symbols were used when representing the brand as a whole.
But how did we make it?
Click to see the full process & research
The Challenge
Create a brand that represents the journey of our time at YSDN
Co-lead a team of 11 students to develop the brand to be used for the graduation showcase
Each year, the graduating students from the York University and Sheridan College Program in Design (commonly referred to as YSDN) work together to develop and produce their year-end showcase. Students are separated into different teams such as Branding, Public Relations, Events, Content, and Social Media to work towards putting the show together. The students also elect student leaders to help organize each team.

I, along with Lindsey Jones were elected in the executive team to help lead the Branding team into creating a visual strategy to use towards our showcase. We were accompanied by eleven student members who all worked together to create the brand. They include: Vanessa Cassar, Tiffany Chau, Selina Chung, Sion Kim, Nicole Lee, Jan Ly, Ashna Ray, Mena Rimac, Hyunan Ryu, Tatiana Terenzio and John Yeon
Our Process
Usually, the annual showcase is held at a venue, and our work would be displayed in a museum-like format. YSDN 2021 is a special year, as we knew from the beginning that this would be our first fully online showcase due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Shortly after elections, our class of students would be given RFPs (Requests for Proposals), where each student had the chance to pitch their ideas for the gradshow. These proposals included ideas for the brand, website, and marketing strategies.

After receiving the RFPs from the students, Lindsey and I met to review each of the branding proposals. We took notes of each one, and strategized for our first meeting with the team.
Creating Moodboards
For our first meeting, we had each of the branding team members look at a proposal and make notes of what they liked from each. The team worked on a Miro board, where we put each of the ideas onto sticky notes based on Concepts, Key Words, Visual Identities, and Other Ideas.
After organizing each of the ideas, the team voted on which ones they were most intrigued by. We then took the highly voted for ones and organized them into three different concepts. The team was then divided into the three groups, where they would work together to make moodboards based on the three different concepts. These moodboards would be proposed to the class.
The three moodboards were proposed to the class, and after we provided a survey where students had the chance to voice their opinion on each one. The feedback was rather positive, and most suggestions were to combine all three of the concepts into one.
Determining our Strategy
After receiving the moodboard survey results, we realized that most of the class was satisfied with the concepts, but the feedback on the visuals were varied. Lindsey and I decided to focus on nailing down the strategy first, so we created a brand statement which is as follows:
YSDN 2021 is the annual event showcasing the graduating students of the York University / Sheridan College Joint Program in Design (YSDN). Throughout our time at YSDN, our community of students have adapted to many challenges and obstacles, creating a vast range of unique journeys and viewpoints. YSDN 2021 aims to encapsulate these experiences in the brand, therefore adopting the primary brand values of: Individuality, Connection, and Journey.
Our brand values were directly taken from the original three concepts the team made. With the brand statement in place, we worked with the team to strategize different names for the show. After about 25 different suggestions, we landed on the name: ∴ (Therefore).
Why Therefore?
Therefore, meaning “for that reason”, “consequently”,  “because of that”, reflects the end of our journey as YSDN students, and comments on how YSDN has shaped us as designers. We realized we could not be defined by one word, therefore, the team were interested in symbols and punctuation.

The therefore symbol caught our eye since it is very easy to recreate, manipulate, animate, and customize. Not only that, but the three circles in the symbol related to our three brand values, and our use of "3s" through the brand.

Lastly, the therefore symbol was chosen since it lends itself to copywriting. Commonly, the therefore symbol is used in logical arguments. We liked this format of copywriting, and used it as the main focus for the brand. For example, each student were able to make their own therefore statement (ex. Natalie Almosa ∴ Packaging Designer).

The final visuals were made based on the feedback of the class, as well as recognizing the strengths of the cohort.

Most of the class enjoyed the bright but warm colour palettes, so we went with a modified primary colour palette, with an off-white and black.

Our typefaces are Atacama and Antartica from Newglyph. We wanted to pair a serif and sans-serif font, and we stumbled upon these two from Newglyph. Both fonts are also variable, which was chosen so we can use its variable nature for the final website.

Lastly, a major element was the use of mark-making. We created this effect by developing our own customized Photoshop brush. For the brand, we created nine standard symbols to be used, but students were also given the chance to make their own mark-making symbol to represent themselves on their profile page.
Glad you enjoyed YSDN 2021!
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