Instead of buying a commercial holiday card, UF President Kent Fuchs and his wife, Linda Fuchs, set out to find the perfect one designed by UF students.
Fuchs said his office contacted the UF School of Art + Art History to see if anyone was interested in making the card design a class project. Jarred Elrod, a UF assistant professor who teaches a course in typography, divided one of his classes into five groups who competed to create the card.
UF graphic design junior Kendal Jones, a student on the winning team, said her team wasn’t sure if they would win because they used the laser cutting lab and foiling — two expensive and time-consuming techniques.
“It was really nerve-racking and exciting,” the 21-year-old said about the brainstorming process. “We spent a lot of late nights in the studio making sure it was flowing.”
When she found out they won, Jones said she felt honored.
“It was definitely rewarding,” she said.
The winning card features 32 icons which represent categories that make UF unique, cut out on white paper over gold foil. Jones said these include Century Tower, the bat houses, a stethoscope and a butterfly representing the Florida Museum of Natural History. They also included symbols to represent school spirit, including the Gatorade logo and the Albert and Alberta statute.
The message inside reads “Warmest Wishes,” which Jones described as a play on words about Florida’s hot weather.
The project simulated a real-life clientele process for the students, who had three weeks to craft their designs. A representative from Fuchs’ office presented the purpose, goals, objective, theme, audience, budget and timeline of the project. One of the main requirements was to make the card non denominational, Jones said.
The groups presented their ideas to the Fuchses, got feedback and then submitted their final designs.
“They were all great,” Fuchs said. “I would have been happy with any on them, but both Linda and I liked how the one we picked was both simple and elegant.”
As a token of their appreciation, the Fuchses sent each student who participated in the challenge a ballpoint pen and a thank you note. They also donated $1,000 to the art program.
Fuchs spent Monday afternoon signing about 300 cards by hand to send out to alumni, donors and elected officials. An electronic copy of the card will be sent to all students, as well as faculty and staff members, by the end of the week.
“I love that it was designed by students,” Fuchs said. “It makes it so personal.”