Conference Identity


"Made By Us" Fold-Out Poster - Designed by Brandon Marshall.
MADE BY US is three day arts and music festival based in Brooklyn, serving as a creative space that celebrates creative people of color.

"Made By Us" Logo System - Designed by Brandon Marshall.
MADE BY US is three day arts and music festival based in Brooklyn, serving as a creative space that celebrates creative people of color.

"Made By Us" Outdoor Banner Series - Designed by Brandon Marshall.
MADE BY US is three day arts and music festival based in Brooklyn, serving as a creative space that celebrates creative people of color.

"Made By Us" Swag - Designed by Brandon Marshall.
MADE BY US is three day arts and music festival based in Brooklyn, serving as a creative space that celebrates creative people of color.

"Made By Us" Microsite - Designed by Brandon Marshall.
MADE BY US is three day arts and music festival based in Brooklyn, serving as a creative space that celebrates creative people of color.

Duration: 14 weeks
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Bookmark Project

Project Brief

In visual communication, content is what primarily dictates or drives the expression. It is both the character of the information and the message. This project engages students in a semester-long design experience that centers on the development of an identity system, extended into a broad scope of communication formats.

Phases of the project emphasize and support the creation of meaning through word + image integration, visual synthesis and, self generated text and imagery. Each phase will take students through the evolution of an idea (concept), and critique its relationship to context (specifics factors surrounding your audience) to find the appropriate communication strategy & visual language to support their message.


To conceive, brand and promote a conference/convention/festival that examines/celebrates a topic of the student's choice. Through the course of four project phases, students create an identity system that will inform, connect with and excite their audience. This process of ideation, research and experimentation will extend through towards a final comprehensive and systematic body of work.

Learning Objectives

+ Utilize a systematic method of researching, collecting & organizing information.

+ Gain a comprehensive understanding of the principles and methodologies of communications design as means for problem solving in order to identify the relationships between form, content and context.

+ Further exploration of semiotic theory as it applies to development of visual concepts.

+ Continued study of various typographic grid systems in single page, short-form multiple page, and dimensional formats which might include: booklets, posters, signage, environmental design, motion graphics, interactive applications.

+ Practice various design strategies and processes that support organizing complex verbal and pictorial information.

+ Finesse independent critical thinking to solve communication problems through design.

+ Embrace and exploit technology to satisfy your message.

+ Build verbal presentation skills.

+ Refine your eye for detail and impeccable, appropriate visual presentation.

+ Learn how to properly document and present work.

+ Apply writing as a tool to strengthen critical thinking.

+ Make observations verbal by making use of the professional design vocabulary.


Phase 1 : Identity System

The visual expression of an institution, corporation, organization, product or event, should appear as one moment taken from a dynamic system in motion. Logos (which can be presented as wordmarks or symbols that can be fluid at times) are rarely utilized or stationed alone; rather, they are complimented by visual systems that enhance and support their visual presence.

The identity system is a visual language which defines the use of colors, corresponding/supportive typefaces, and other graphic elements (such as symbols/icons, patterns, textures, photographs, etc) that function as an encompassing, yet expandable system utilized to serve different communication needs and mediums. The identity program then, is the kit-of-parts that can be assembled at the discretion of the designer inheriting the program.

+ Understand the process of how to conceive a memorable visual system that helps clarify and empower the purpose of the brand to establish/maintain awareness about the event as well as impress the audience and guarantee attendance/participation.

+ Examine/investigate what defines a holistic and methodical identity system that will stand out from today’s visual clutter.

+ Explore the many possibilities used to build an accessible and engaging visual identity system.

+ Experience the whole process of research, content development, naming, creation, implementation and presentation of brand identity design.


1.1. Theme & Content Development

Conceive a theme for a Conference, Festival or Convention, based on your interests/concerns. Follow these questions to help establish your ideas: 


A formal meeting that typically takes place over a number of days and involves people with a shared interest, especially one held regularly by an association or organization: an international conference on the environment | the third annual National Wilderness Conference.

An organized series of concerts, plays, or movies, typically one held annually in the same place: numbers that are still heard at traditional jazz festivals.

A large meeting or conference, especially of members of a political party or a particular profession.
An assembly of the delegates of a political party to select candidates for office.
An organized meeting of enthusiasts for a television program, movie, or literary genre. (A Startreck convention)
A body set up by agreement to deal with a particular issue. (UN Convention)


1.2. Naming

When naming a product, organization/company, service, campaign or event, you should consider it as the seed that gives rise to your brand. It can reinforce the values of the brand and create an instant cognitive connection with your audience.

Naming Exercises:

During your naming exercises:
+ determine what your name needs to accomplish
+ decide how it will work with an existing product, service, belief, activity or skill
+ determine what kind of name to develop: descriptive, invented, expressive
+ develop objective criteria to evaluate the names you generate


1.3. Creative Brief

Briefs help keep projects running smoothly, prevent misunderstandings and delays by:
+ connecting objectives with creative strategies
+ building team consensus
+ aligning expectations
+ defining clear, measurable goals

Create a Creative Brief that includes:
+ Objective (To design the identity system for…)
+ Who are we communicating with? (Target Audience)
+ What matters to them? (Motivators)
+ What main message are we trying to convey? (Purpose/Value of event)
+ Why does this matter? (To the audience & the world)
+ Deliverables (subject to full campaign scope)


1.4. Target Audience Interest Research

Connect with your target audience. Through loose conversations and/or formal interviews, take notes and/or record conversation with their consent, collect data, gather touch points for visualization & identify conceptual and visual associations with the theme.

/ Audience Knowing
/ Design Thinking Mechanisms: Interviews
/ Human Centered Design Research


1.5. Visualization

A logo (or in some cases, a title lockup) is the nucleus of the visual identity system that an effective system includes. We all recognize mainstream products’ logos, but it’s the context of their identity system the logo lives in that creates the memorable experiences with their brand.

Students will design the logo or title lockup, as well as the supporting visual elements that create an identity system for their event. Students will consider their research, audience and the information expressed in their Creative Brief. They will establish brand standards and style guides, to allow for consistency throughout the various identity pieces that will follow.

Isolate the values / uses / services of your event to help you develop your central mark. Determine and generate, based on your event’s poetic attributes, the semiotics that will enhance and activate the presence and message of the event. Experiment with type, color, symbols, patterns, photography and/or text.

/ Code/Decode
/ Flexible Brands
/ Semiotics


1.6. Brand Identity Package /Presentation

Create an InDesign presentation of your Identity System including:
/ Cover Page (Event Name, Project, Project Phase, Designer, Date)
/ Brief description of project (based on research)
/ Target Audience information
/ Naming process
/ Competitive / Landscape Ecosystem of visual references
/ Identity Rationale (can include visual rationale but needs a description of your visual solution approach)
/ Logo(s) / Title Lockup in full color (if applicable) & in two sizes (a 3in & 1inch versions)
/ Logo(s) / Title Lockup in Black & White & reversed
/ Logo(s) / Title Lockup including descriptor word mark + variations/configurations  (if applicable)
/ Color palette
/ Supporting typeface
/ Identity extensions: supporting imagery, photography, handcrafted alphabet, backgrounds, patterns, textures, etc.
/ Possible application (if desired)


— — —


Phase 2 : Fold-Out Promotional Poster/Program

To announce & promote their event, students will design a fold-out poster containing information about speakers, activities, schedule, dates, location, etc., as well as a timeless, inspirational message about the value of such event. It will serve as a guide for the program, and will become the event’s ephemeral object.

The fold-out piece must:
/ Stay true to the brand.
/ Incorporate a defined grid system.
/ Be designed in InDesign and include character/paragraph styles.

– 18x24in Flat [basic fold template provided below, but you are welcome to expand/enhance folds based on text/storyline]
– Full Color / B&W / Duotone (based on brand guidelines)
– Full Bleed, Front & Back


— — —


Phase 3: Merchandise & Signage

The design of a comprehensive brand involves many moving parts from printed materials to merchandise, from environmental graphics to digital presence.

To promote their event, students will choose 3 pieces from a list of collateral signage and/or swag options. After selecting, students will research and plan out the specs and approach for each piece.

Focus on the communication goal of each piece and the context in which the audience absorbs its information. These items should be both engaging and informative.


ITEMS (Choose 3)

Entry tickets

ID cards

3-piece Digital Banner Ads

3-piece Outdoor Banners

Postcard series of 3 (collectibles)


Customized box

iPhone Case

Tote Bags

Cups/Mugs/Coffee Cups




Event Badge




Participatory Piece


— — —


Phase 4 : Screen based Media

To bring their promotional campaign full circle, students will expand their system onto screen-based media through motion graphics and/or digital & social spaces.

When designing for the screen, one must consider all the formal elements (line, shape, color, texture, pattern) and apply all principles of composition (balance, visual hierarchy, rhythm, unity & scale) in time and abstractly defined spaces. Each “frame” or “page” as well as its transitions, pace and flow, need to be examined and designed.

Consider what elements of the brand can be interactive, movable, flexible and take advantage of the medium to exploit those attributes.

From the list below, students will choose one screen-based medium to formalize their brand and expand their communication:


A. Motion

Screen-based media can support graphics & text that move and incorporate sound. Screen-based visual communication set in motion has strong ties to storytelling. Generate a concept that allows for your brand to communicate its values by moving gestures, transitions, rhythm and overall messaging. As always, consider function, form, aesthetics, composition and meaning, but through the ability to sequence narrative and storytelling. Think about the different perspectives the medium has to offer. Decide if your motion piece will serve to advertise and drive attendance to the event, or will serve as environmental applications.

/ Full Screen 1080p
/ (1) 30 Second Duration or
/ (2) 15 Second Teaser

/ Create an in-brand motion experience
/ Incorporate a call to action
/ Consistent visual elements
/ Pace
/ Legibility
/ Movement/flow of the spectator (audience walking, driving, etc)


B. Social Media

For a successful Social Media Campaign, it is essential to truly and organically convey the feel, excitement, energy and value of your event’s

raison d'être. Assemble a narrative that speaks directly to your demographic. Show them why the event is worthy of attending.

Consider what aspects about your identity can be expanded to engage the audience’s participation and how it can sometimes secure a long-lasting relationship to the event: designing how to preserve the existence of the event after it’s happened through social engagement.

Think about how your brand can expand visually, emotionally and technologically, into various social media platforms. Consider the nature of each platform in the way it connects with/to people and how each one induces engagement/participation.

/ (2) Facebook Social Media Ad
/ (1) Boost Ad Content Posting (facebook)
/ (2) Cover Image per platform (Facebook, Twitter)
/ (2) Profile Image per platform ( Facebook, Twitter)
/ (1) Instagram Feed with min of 9 postings
[ Mockups ]

/ Text developed in sync with the event experience
/ The purpose of the mockup is to show your design work in the digital environment
/ Use supportive images to enhance the experience


C. Website

Define what aspects about your brand narrative are conducive to on-screen and online interactivity. For example, static and dynamic elements of the brand can help support the message through responsive design, meaning that visual elements can react to users’ interaction (movement of the scroll, clicks, rollovers) to manifest the values, mission, communication of the brand to create hype and stir up emotions.

Make use of the information you gathered for the fold-out poster and make necessary edits to compartmentalize and/or focus the communication based on the type of expose, structure and time conditions of the medium.

/ Single Page Scroll Landing Page
/ Microsite with 3 interior pages
/ 1920×1080 pixels



GD Textbook Chapters

Typographic Design: Form and Communication
Chapter 6: The Typographic Message
By Carter/Day/Meggs/Maxa/Sanders

Graphic Design Solutions
Chapter 9: Branding
By Robin Landa

Making & Breaking the Grid
Chapters 1 & 2
by Tim Samara



Brand New Worlds
By Andrew Blauvelt

The Persistence of Poster
By Andrew Blauvelt

Good Design is Good Will
By Paul Rand



The Art of the Leave Behind
By Adam Wagner

Is this the future of conference branding?
AIGA Eye on Design
By Madeleine Morley

Shira Inbar on the Power of Motion Graphic Design
AIGA Eye on Design
By Liz Stinson

Designing a Photography Festival Campaign with Screen Shots
AIGA Eye on Design
By Justin Zhuang

What Does it Really Mean to Brand a Festival
AIGA Eye on Design
By Emily Gosling



Briefly (Video)
By Bassett & Partners


This project provides students with a comparable experience to client-based work in terms of content management, timeline and scope. It also introduces them to self-driven design work, conceiving of their own event based on a personal interest, taking agency of the communication strategy and messaging, coming out of the class with a well rounded, and properly packaged, brand identity campaign. 

At Rutgers University-Newark, students that take on this project are in the first semester of their Junior year. They are versed in Adobe software, have been introduced to Motion and Interactive Design tools/mechanisms, and are able to work with prototyping tools. The struggle and wonderful challenge comes in the conception of the event and the initial phase of visualization, for which \\\"Phase 1: Identity System\\\" goes through various steps in much more depth than the following parts (applications) of the project. Writing and understanding how to research and synthesize that content, is also a challenge that requires the first phase to take over at least half of the semester. 

I designed this project in collaboration with my colleague Medina and we noticed some problems arise for those students who feel less confident about technology and would require more time towards the end of the semester to prototype and/or fully produce their screen-based media. Depending on the level, it might be worth providing additional guides and/or initial content to shorten the the time allocated to Phase 1 and extend the time for Phases 3 & 4.

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