I don’t know what students usually receive these days from the colleges and universities that accept them – a team pennant and a financial aid form, no doubt. But Sarasota, Fla.’s Ringling College of Art and Design makes that acceptance a celebratory affair with an acceptance package that’s not only fun, but instills in the recipient a sense of joining a close-knit, creative family.
Part of that collegiate feel stems from the fact that the acceptance package itself, as well as all of its contents, were designed by a student – Olivia Strohm, Class of 2017 – in the college’s in-house design studio, with guidance by faculty member/creative director Jennifer Mumford Brady. (Illustration department faculty member Katy Betz created all the whimsical illustrations you see here.)
For years the Ringling College acceptance package has been saved and cherished by the students who receive it, and this one is sure to continue that fine tradition.
For starters, the mailing box is alive with alligators, birds, umbrellas and other Florida sights, all rendered in whimsical cartoon form just begging to be colored in – the student’s very first opportunity to practice their creativity as a full-fledged Ringling College student. (Bonus points for the phrase “Snap & Share” positioned above the jaws of the aforementioned alligator :-)) Zipping open the box along the side unleashes even more fun, all against a Florida-appropriate green interior.
Packaging designer Olivia presented several concepts to the dean of admissions for this bundle; the one that was chosen had two main ideas to express.
The first was to celebrate the accomplishment of the student who’s just been accepted. This is reflected in the phrasing throughout the package: everything from the cartoon-laden acceptance letter envelope that proclaims “Yay you!” to an assortment of goodies bundled together with a black belly band that gives you a rousing “Oh yeah Oh yeah Oh yeah.” I wasn’t accepted to the school yet I STILL can’t help but feel my ego being pumped up by all of this adulation.
The second idea, explains Jennifer, was “to involve the recipient in the celebration. The acceptance package includes a sketchbook, a lanyard, an enamel pin, and color pencils. Also a very exciting component is the poster, which is an interpretative map of the state of Florida, showing off cool places to go, and distances in miles from the college. (126 miles to Orlando, 225 miles to Miami, etc.) Obviously Ringling College is at the center of it all!”
All of these items are boosted from good to great thanks to their printing on Monadnock Astrolite Vellum Text 100 lb. White. After all, nothing cries “school” quite like vellum.
My favorite detail, though, has to be the single card at the very bottom of the box containing two personal notes addressed to the new Ringling College student – one from Olivia, the other from illustrator Katy – complete with cartoon portraits of each. The former poignantly points out that four years ago she was in the exact same position that the new student is now. And, as Jennifer explains, she “got her dream job after graduating this May, and is now working in Disney Consumer Products and Interactive as a designer!”
In other words: Oh yeah Oh yeah Oh yeah!