Terra is a branding exploration which utilizes the format of a natural history museum, The Terra Institute, to conceptualize and design a dynamic identity and set of printed collateral. My inspiration for this project came from a personal love of engaging with plants, animals and our natural environment. I wanted to combine my personal love of nature with graphic design, and a natural history museum provided an intersection of the two ideas.
While my love of nature inspired the subject matter of my project, my personal motive was to develop and explore branding more throughly than I was previously able. Through Terra, I created a publication, a magazine insert, an exhibition catalog, postcards, tickets, and a museum brochure. Creating a variety of pieces was a great way to explore the applications of my branding, and discover elements that could be utilized differently across pieces.
1. Don’t hesitate to ask people for help or resources, even if you’ve never met them in person. The worst they can do is say no. I really admired the photography of David Littschwager who photographs for National Geographic. I was daydreaming about how amazing it would be if I could use his photographs for my project. However, there were only a few images online, so I sent an email to David Littschwager. Ten minutes later, he asked me to tell him which collections I wanted, and sent me hundreds of high-res images. People are amazing, but please make sure to send thank you cards!
2. Combine work from your other courses into your thesis project. I created a magazine for my project in a publication design course with Isaac Gertman. Combining courses is a great way to insure that you get more feedback from a variety of classmates and instructors.
3. It’s okay to stick to a “traditional” design project. I spent a lot of my brainstorming time trying to invent a project that no one had ever done before. Once I let go of the idea of it needing to be a new idea in the field of graphic design, I was able to have a ton of fun focusing “just” on branding.
4. Narrow your focus. Although I created a lot of pieces for my project, I only designed print pieces and let go of all web and digital designs. It was hard not to try to design across mediums, but making the scope of the project slightly smaller enabled me to fully enjoy the work I was creating, and left the project in a place that didn’t feel exhausted.