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Department Of Design

The Curation of Identity: Two Design Students Explore the Ways That We Document Our Lives Through Narration and Collection

Graphic Design Students Eva Jarman and Brynn Squires Present their BFA Capstone Projects at Gallery 1313

How do we document our lives? How do we curate identity? Graphic design students Eva Jarman and Brynn Squires explored these questions in preparation for their capstone exhibition this month at Gallery 1313.

While preparing to graduate from BYU’s graphic design program, students have the opportunity to complete a capstone project. The capstone incorporates research, writing, history, presentation, marketing and business in a project that students then exhibit at Gallery 1313. For Jarman and Squires, these projects began during the 2022 fall semester.

While researching, the two classmates discovered that their projects both had themes focused on how our identities can be preserved, developed and documented. Given circumstances that led them to be exhibiting their projects at a different time than their classmates, the two designers decided to show their projects together. “We never collaborated on projects, which I think is fascinating,” said Jarman. “You get to see two completely different takes on similar themes, and we both have such different styles and aesthetics so our designs complement and contrast each other well.”

For her project, “Nest,” Jarman researched why people accumulate and hold onto certain items in their lives. Following her initial research into hoarding and extreme minimalism Jarman was eventually inspired to focus on individual accumulations and how these collections develop and preserve one’s identity. With this focus she interviewed people and took photos of their collections. These photos and quotes were then incorporated into her designs. Jarman said, “I've always really been interested in the idea of accumulation and the way that people collect things. When I started researching more about the topic, my eyes were opened to this whole range of diverse experiences that people have.”

With her designs, Jarman aims to explore how the things we accumulate and collect tell stories and bring meaning to our lives. “I wanted to spark curiosity,” said Jarman. “I wanted people to reflect on why they collect things or don’t collect things and consider why they might hold on to some things and not others.”

Squires also explored where meaning is found in our lives. Using her journals as the central motif of her project, Squires used what she had recorded to create meaning in her life. She incorporated pages from her journal, as well as recurring questions and themes from her entries, into her project titled “The Meaning We Make.” “I've been super passionate about keeping a journal,” said Squires. “Over the past five and a half years, I have filled eight journals—pretty big ones. I wanted to really look into my past and think about how I've made meaning in my own life.”

Through reflecting on her own life, Squires was inspired to think about how recording and remembering moments in our lives allows all of us to create meaning. She said, “I wanted to impress upon people that we're not only the main character of our lives, we're narrators. We are a part of the process of creating meaning in our lives.”

Although their pieces and projects are different, the overlapped themes of life and meaning are what bring the two projects together in this unique exhibition. “It’s interesting how interrelated the messages we're trying to get across are,” said Squires. “I feel like it was fate that we would end up doing it together.”