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NewsMar 3, 2020

Alumna’s logo idea clicks with Photographic Resource Center

Julie Kirwin won a competition to give Lesley partner’s brand a bold new look

Julia Kirwin headshot and the Photographic Resource Center logo
Photographed: Graphic designer Julia Kirwin ’19 and the logo she designed for the Photographic Resource Center.

By Georgia Sparling

The Photographic Resource Center has a new logo designed by College of Art and Design graduate Julia Kirwin ’19.

Kirwin and three of her classmates spent a semester researching rebranding options for the nonprofit organization as a special topics course with graphic design adjunct professor Charlie Conn. The center partially funded the course and formed a design committee to work with the students.

“This was the first commercial branding experience that I have worked on,” said Kirwin, whose design was selected from among her peers. “It is extremely humbling to have my logo chosen, considering it was picked from a number of amazing concepts that my fellow classmates came up with as well.”

Founded in 1976, the Photographic Resource Center has championed photography by “advancing the art and the artists” through lectures, exhibits and programs. Boston University hosted the organization from 1979 until the center formed a new partnership with our College of Art and Design, followed by a relocation to the Lunder Arts Center in 2017.

Along with the move came a revision of the center’s strategic plan, hiring two part-time staffers, launching a new website and new programming, much of which is hosted on the Lesley campus.

“We wanted to rebrand to show that we are a forward-looking organization ready to embrace new ways of looking at the photographic arts,” said Photographic Resource Center Board President John Bunzick, who admitted that their old logo — a simple green square with the center's initials printed in white — was overdue for an update.

The students treated the center as a commercial client and consulted regularly with a group of board members. Since the course was also something of a competition, the students each pitched their final designs to the board members.

Of the students’ final designs, Bunzick said, “Their ideas were really great and selecting one was not particularly easy to do, but the PRC task force discussed each idea with the students and reached a consensus on what we thought was best.”

A graphic design and illustration double major, Kirwin wanted to create a logo that was “abstract but adaptable.” She called the center “an organization that is on the cutting edge of photography, and I wanted my mark to reflect this.”

Kirwin’s design features rays shooting from a bracketed frame. It can now be seen across the organization’s website. She is continuing to work with the center to roll out further branded materials.

A recent graduate, Kirwin is now a full-time graphic designer at the Richard Lewis Media Group in Watertown, Massachusetts, and said the course was invaluable for her career.

“The experience of working with a client definitely helped me to build upon the skills and confidence that are essential in the working world,” she said.