In Awards and Achievements, Department of Design

Designers explain the thought process behind their project “Unity & Division”

Four BYU professors in the Department of DesignBrent Barson, Douglas Thomas, Eric Gillett and Linda Reynolds — won the Juror Award for their project “Unity & Division” in this year’s Design Arts Utah 2019 exhibition.

The Unity & Division book is a response to conflicting ideologies in society. (Photo Courtesy of Douglas Thomas)

“We’re hopeful that this project doesn’t end,” Thomas said. “We made a book and posters which were designed to be both pages in a book and also posters by themselves, and we hope that this will go into more shows and exhibitions.” 

Their design project began in response to conflicting ideologies and division in today’s news and social media. From the beginning, “Unity & Division” opened the doors for enlightening experiences and dialogue between the group of professors.

“It was exciting to interact with my colleagues on so many different levels,” said Thomas. “Sometimes we were able to work late at night printing the book and binding it together. Other times, we were working together to make the exhibition materials. We wanted to see if we could come up with a visual format that honored the kind of communication where ideas could come together, clash, juxtapose and mix with each other.”

Different designs united to form new messages the designers had not considered. (Photo Courtesy of Douglas Thomas)

Throughout the project, each designer would explore questions like, “What is unity?” and “What is division?” supplying prompts for the faculty members as they united in their common beliefs in the importance of allowing people to experience new ideas — learning from them and recognizing the importance of respectful dialogue. 

“Some of the most exciting things were when we approached issues differently,” Thomas said. “We would put our ideas together which would form new compositions, allowing us to come up with different ways of thinking about information we hadn’t thought about before.”

The unique approach to the project symbolized the impact peaceful collaboration has in finding new ideas and solutions.

Learn more about the Design Arts Utah exhibition at sltrib.com

The introductory paragraph to Unity & Division describes the processes behind the project. (Ben Williams)

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