Penn Humanities Forum

Co-designer: Diego Rodriguez. Every year, the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Humanities Forum offers a symposium on a new theme. For the symposium on "Word and Image," I was commissioned to design promotional booklets to be distributed around Philadelphia and to the Penn community. I was also tasked with redesigning the Forum's website in collaboration with their coder.

I brought on Diego Rodriguez, a designer I'd worked well with before, to collaborate in the booklet design. Our main goal was to showcase the beauty of the original images the PHF had received permission to use, while still leaving ample room for readable text explaining each event in the symposium. Each two-page spread, shown at left, features text overlaid directly on top of a lightened image, with jumble of typographic imagery serving to unify the diverse images.

My goal with the web design, meanwhile, was to create something that would outlast the 2005–2006 academic year and be of use no matter what the Forum's new annual theme. I designed the visual interface and planned information architecture, working closely with the client through multiple iterations, and collaborating with a coder who worked on the back end. The PHF administration wanted the design to feel open and airy, with plenty of white space, but with clear reference back to parent organizations' logos and color schemes. The red and blue of Penn's colors offered a nice contrast between two different approaches to navigation, with key links in blue that the PHF wanted specially called out, and the rest of the site architecture accessible through red links revealing drop-down menus. The new information architecture made it easier to find information without delving several pages deep into the site, and clarified the PHF's distinct roles in providing fellowship funding, as well as offering separate forums for students and faculty, among other functions.