Valerie Damen

Illuminate Magazine Rebrand

Client: Communications, Faculty of Education, U of A
Services Provided: Graphic Design, Brand Development,
Website Design


The Faculty of Education invited students to participate in renaming their online magazine by holding a contest — the winning name would create the foundation for its entire rebrand.


Illuminate Magazine Rebrand

Client: Communications, Faculty of Education, U of A
Services Provided: Graphic Design, Brand Development, Website Design


While working in-house for Technologies in Education, I was approached by Communications to give Illuminate Magazine (formerly known as bEdition) a brand new facelift — inclusive of logo design, website development, and customized article illustrations.


I faced three main challenges during the production of this project:

1. Developing an entire parent brand from the ground up — the Faculty of Education as a whole did not have an established identity at this point in time, so Illuminate was the kickstarter for the entire Faculty's brand.

2. Creating an identity that would serve both a student-based and Faculty-based audience.

3. Designing a dynamic, yet functional website within a constricting template.


When I was approached with revamping the U of A's Faculty of Education online magazine, Illuminate — inclusive of logo design, website layout, and illustration — I chose to pull inspiration from Education's most iconic element: their mural, West and North, by Norman Yates. Illuminate's target audience was Education alumni, students, staff, faculty members, and educators, so I felt that sprouting visual direction from this iconic mural would be the smartest way to approach the project.

After thoroughly researching and studying the history and artistic nature of the mural, I decided that the brand's visuals should follow a geometric treatment. I started the project off by tackling the logo first. While thoroughly studying Education's mural, I sat on the grass and began forming an array of logos out of stylized prisms using various tones. One strong concept resonated with me most. The concept illustrated a dimensional cone constructed out of connecting polygons — I thought this concept most successfully tied to the mural while also symbolizing the act of illumination and interconnectivity. This dimensional cone logo ended up being one of three that I chose to bring to life digitally. I first developed the skeletal frame of the logo and thereafter I selectively chose swatches from the U of A color palette that was similar in nature to the colors within Norman's work.


Once I had a set of three strong, refined logos, I pitched the concepts and accompanying design rationales to both my manager and Communications. As soon as they both set their eyes on the dimensional cone concept. they each perked up with interest. They requested a few minor color alterations but essentially approved the concept on the spot.

I then extended the visuals from the logo itself and applied a similar aesthetic to the website design proof. When all the moving parts of the website design were accounted for and approved by Communications, (colors, image treatment, typography, header and footer layout, etc) I worked closely with the programming team and he brought the website mockup to life. 

The end result of the website ended up being a wonderful transformation. Not only did we all collectively work together to create a beautiful platform, but we successfully revamped the website into a functional place that both students and Faculty good easily access.

The geometric graphic aesthetic ended up becoming the kickstarter for the development of the entire Faculty of Education's identity. All materials created for the Faculty and its subunits stemmed its visuals from Illuminate Magazine's identity.


The Illuminate logo was used strictly for digital applications such as website and social media platforms. A similar approach using stylized prisms was used to develop the Illuminate website banners. Working directly with the programming team, I helped design Illuminate's logo, website layout, and customized article illustrations.