Believe Gala

The Seattle Central Foundation is an organization dedicated to advancing the mission and impact of Seattle Central College by keeping life changing education within reach for all who seek it. They provide scholarships for students who would otherwise be unable to afford the opportunity to attend college. Every year, the Foundation hosts a gala fundraiser where the majority of the money for scholarships is donated. As a class, my studiomates and I were excited to have the chance to elevate the brand atmosphere for their 50th Anniversary event.

More than $393,000 was raised that night, which the Foundation team considered to be a tremendous success; so much so that they’ve opted to use our same branding for this year’s sold-out gala.

Timeframe: 9 weeks

Collaborators: The entire SCCA class of 2018

My Roles: Branding, Layout Design, Production Coordinator, Installation Pieces, Gift Items.

Skills/Tools: Illustrator, InDesign, Worked with printers, Produced physical items for event space and gift takeaways

Project Goals: Create a cohesive brand suite that can be applied to a wide variety of design elements to create a memorably impressive event space and experience, capable of inspiring attendees to give money to this worthy cause.

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The branding team was guided by brand character traits that had already been determined by SCC. Because the list was long at ten words, we decided to focus on the ideas of community, centrality, and connectivity for this particular event. Using these traits, we created a moodboard and style guide for our studiomates to work with.

We used geometric polygons and circles to represent the community connecting around the central hub of the college, and created a design system that could be used for print collateral, video, event signage, and installation art.

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After the event brand guidelines had been distributed, I worked on designing and producing gift items for event attendees and assisted with an interactive installation art piece. The gift item was a set of branded pins that represented the whole of SCC’s character traits, giving each seat at a table a unique item that could be traded between guests during dinner. Pearl Stoermer and I created ten unique designs that worked with the brand, but weren't overtly branded, so that the pins would have aesthetic appeal on their own.

For the cocktail hour and silent auction, I assisted my classmates Jules Smith and Tricia Bui who created the interactive Believe Chandelier. Guests were asked to write what they believed in on a branded tag, and tie their tag onto one of the ribbons strung to the structural hoops. Some of the beliefs were funny, some were serious, and many were motivational or deeply touching messages to inspire SCC students.

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As a studio, we presented our ideas to the Seattle Central Foundation’s board and SCC’s president, and were met with unanimous approval (and even a few emotional tears), so the project moved into production, at which point I was hired as Production Coordinator, working with the Foundation directly and acting as a liason for the rest of my studiomates.

Most of this work was dedicated to creating wayfinding and informational signage, print collateral (menus, programs, table cards, nametags, and more), and gathering finished files and built installation items. I worked with different printers to have all of the event collateral proofed, printed, and delivered on schedule, and participated in setup on the day of the event at Freemont Studios.

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