Writing: Description

College of the Mainland’s GCIC Academic Symposium needed cover art for their event with the theme Translating, Reframing & Embracing Contradictions.

About the annual symposium: The intention of the symposium is to enable students and their supporters to think more deeply than they’re able to in the classroom while sharing in formal and less formal networking opportunities. College students submit 150 to 300-word abstracts aligned to the event’s annually-changing theme.

Copyright 2023 College of the Mainland.

With a deep and thought-provoking theme, I spent some time exploring my thoughts on the subject and began jotting notes and phrases. Once I had a general idea in mind, I took a metaphorical approach exploring an interpretative and symbolic design direction. Many pieces of various photos were merged together forming the unusual image I conceptualized. The theme title was extremely long and I intentionally left it very bland as far as a typography element to draw focus on the balloon and anchor. The piece would be open to interpretation by the thousands who would see it. However, I provided the event organizer, who was also a professor, a written meaning behind the design to gain approval to move forward.

We reach for answers to life’s complex issues which if resolved could provide profound growth from preservational, societal, cultural and economic perspectives.

Strip away the complexities of our issues and we may expose a simple uncomfortable truth that at some level we are lazy, comforted with good intentions and idealistic self-perceptions, but tied instinctively to pursuing paths of least resistance as we sit anchored in our comfort zones avoiding involvement in someone else’s battle. Passively resisting opportunities to eliminate our contradictions paints a desolate landscape for hopes of growth and survival. However as a study called the Effort Paradox unveils, making an effort is costly but valued. Once we commit to exerting energy towards an effort and the goal is achieved, it results in a greater inherent value placed on the accomplishment. What was once avoided now becomes a sense of pride.

In the end, we must cultivate the unwillingness to let go so that we may plant new seeds for involvement. We ideate a world in which our circumstances improve but ignore the weight of our contradiction that presents reality. What will it take to cut the string so that we may align idealistic intentions with the value we discover in our efforts? The hope to move forward resides in you.

The design was approved for use on posters, programs and other collateral. The March 2023 symposium event at College of the Mainland went on to have its largest attendance since its inception in 2015.

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