Ligature 31


Art Direction
Exhibit Design

The story of Ligature 31 is long and complicated, so allow me to break it down as best I can. In short, Ligature is an annual design symposium run by students in UF’s Graphic Design Program. During the 2021 – 2022 school year, I had the honor of serving as Co-Chair with Valerie Muzondi to bring the event to life for the 31st year. Ligature consists of a weekend of lectures, workshops, gallery exhibitions, and portfolio reviews. It's a way for our program to reflect on the work it’s done and showcase it to the broader UF community of students and alumni.


Before going into the extensive process that was Ligature, here are some of the final visuals, merch, and environmental designs from the gallery space.


One of the biggest challenges and considerations during the development of Ligature 31 was its 30-year legacy. Beside the pressure to live up to these events, they also provided plenty of precedent for us to base ours off of. We used past branding and organization to help structure our event.


When approaching the branding for this event it was important to us that it not only grabbed viewers’ attention, as all branding should, but that it was also a reflection of the skills and interests of the current Senior class, along with having the ability to be pulled back for the exhibition portion of the event so as to not distract from student work.

When considering how the Senior class would inform the brand, we considered the individual interests of each student in the class. We looked for overlaps and outliers, considering the types of design they wish to pursue and the aesthetics they prefer.

The part of the branding where the students are seen the most is in the shapes chosen. Valerie and I sat down and associated shapes with each student in the class. From these shapes, we pulled the ones we found most engaging, balancing those chosen between angular and organic.

For color, we explored a wide variety of color palettes from past Ligature and real-life events to find the ones that worked best. We decided on a simple primary color palette with the addition of a green.

For secondary assets, such as small logos, stickers, and other materials, we designed a speech bubble that would be filled with shapes to suggest conversations about design, relating back to the theme of the event.

Final Branding


Speaker Selection

Choosing a speaker for an event is much easier said than done. Valerie and I began by looking through designers that inspired us personally. We considered the value of reaching for high-platform speakers like Paula Scher and Jessica Walsh (two personal favorites). We were gifted a list of past considerations from former chairs. These people had either shown interest but had to decline due to schedule conflicts, or were not invited.

This list gave us a few names, one of which we found particularly engaging: Elizabeth Goodspeed. Elizabeth struck all of the right cords for our event, as she focused on new ways of approaching design in today’s world and worked in areas that would interest students in our program.

After inviting Elizabeth to be our keynote speaker, along with being one of the jurors and workshop hosts, we wanted to find more influential design voices that would be willing to help out. With the goal of adding one more workshop, we invited beloved former Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at UF, Jarred Elrod. We also needed another judge for the selection of exhibition works, so we reached out to active alum and designer Kaitlyn Irvine.

So much more went into the project than can be contained on this page. Ultimately, the endeavor is a prime example of collaboration, design ability, communication, and perseverance. If you helped on this project, thank you. It wouldn't have been possible without you. Finally, massive shout out to Valerie Muzondi, my partner and collaborator on this project. You're an inspiration and it was an honor to work with you.
Copyright Kevin Ward 2023 ©