Interview: CSULB BFA Graphic Design Senior Show Resonate

For CSULB’s BFA Graphic Design Show, the graduating seniors were unified by the word resonate. This theme culminates each of the students’ individual journeys, as well as the way they have been inspired by one another throughout their undergraduate design education. For the show’s primary typeface, the design team chose Beatrice Display. We chatted with them to learn more about the show and the design process.


Could you tell us more about your show and the concept “Resonate”?

Resonate show is the CSULB Graphic Design BFA Senior Show where our graduating class of Fall 2019 showcases the work that we’ve done throughout our time in the program. Our goals were to showcase ourselves as creative individuals to the professional world as well as to celebrate the growth and the end of our journey as students of the program. 

To ‘resonate’ means to bounce back and forth between two places. In sound, it’s a prolonged response to something that caused things to vibrate. It’s being able to evoke emotions that are full and deep in character from one place to another. For us, Resonate is our response to the progress we’ve made throughout the two years in the BFA program, becoming the creative individuals we are today. It’s about how we are constantly inspired by each other, bouncing off of one another’s creativity. It is the place where we, as designers with individual styles and personalities, come together to collaborate – where opposite extremes meet in the middle.


How did you decide on your typefaces? How do they speak to the theme of the show? 

We wanted our brand’s primary typeface to reflect our designers’ contrasting styles coming together. Beatrice Display speaks to our show perfectly with its high-contrast and experimental design. Upon finding its history, how it was created through exploring and combining various methodologies, built from the traditional into something new, our team agreed that it would be the hero typeface of our show.


Tell us more about your branding and creative direction process. What was it like developing an identity to capture a group of 25 students? What did you experiment with, and how does the final package fit together?

Since the show was entirely organized by our class, from raising funds to finding a suitable venue to planning out the whole event, we divided our members into different task teams. The branding team, consisting of eight members, executed the creative direction for the show.

It was challenging to design a system that would represent 25 diverse designers. From minimal to maximal, we had a wide range of personalities on the spectrum. With the chosen typeface and our concept of “resonate,” we experimented with a multitude of colorful gradients and contrasting elements. This was challenging, since there was not a specific color or gradient that would represent our spectrum of styles. Eventually, we decided on holographic vinyl. While the rest of the branding is dark and light grey duo-toned to represent the opposite extremes, the holographic was where we came together, with all of our different individualities, to ‘resonate’. 


The first version of our poster has one circle to showcase us together as one. The second version has 25 smaller circles to showcase us being our own person while still being inspired by one another. As students, we have a small budget, but a lot of helping hands so we got holographic stickers and placed them by hand onto our posters, brochures, flyers, etc. This worked especially with our concept because the circle could be placed anywhere and still ‘resonate’ with the rest.

After finalizing our brand identity, the rest fell into place. Our peers have different specializations, which helped us speed through the process of designing our assets. While some led photography, others designed print layouts, or took charge of our show website, social media, etc. Since we went through all the challenges of fine-tuning the brand guidelines, the rest was just us enjoying the process and creating something we all love together.