Skip to Content

Creative Services

Home > Featured Project Archive

Featured Project Archive

Divinity School Dean Installation (Invitation & Program)



The elegant invitation and matching event program featured above were brought to life by a tight collaboration between Creative Services and its client, the Vanderbilt Divinity School. Divinity School staff came to coordinator Donna Smith in need of a sophisticated invitation to celebrate the installation and convocation of Dean Emilie M. Townes.

The solemn occasion called for a sophisticated and elegant invitation, so Smith teamed with senior graphic designer, Jenni Ohnstad to create a classic, yet memorable card that would stand out among a stack of mundane mail. Ohnstad purposefully selected a long rectangular shape for the invitation card, and the card’s visual highlight is undeniably the detailed gold foil etching of Benton Chapel, a longtime symbol of the school. The corresponding invitation envelope adds yet another flash of elegance with its textural character and subtle coating of gold particles.

For the subsequent event program, Ohnstad establishes consistency by once again using beige paper with black, burgundy, and gold text. In addition to replicating the invitation’s color palette, Ohnstad also reuses the timeless etching of Benton Chapel, which serves as a beautiful focal point yet again.

“The Calm Before the Storm” Football Schedule poster

Football poster

Bleacher Report ranked this design second in the “Top 50, 2012 Team Schedule Posters.” The design concept is a perfect example of what can come from a collaborative effort between photography and design. Presented with the task of coming up with a design that would communicate anticipation of something “big” on the horizon, photographer John Russell, and designer Mike Smeltzer, set to work. They felt that a strong, single, non-identifiable player would be most effective. They took a powerful and dominating shot of a player. Then they added photographic techniques to ensure that the model’s face would be unrecognizable and that the muscles on his arms would stand out. The anchor, an iconic image of strength, was used to further drive the point. The jersey with the number 12 was used to coincide with unleashing this storm in 2012. 



The Vanderbilt viewbook is the flagship publication for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Writers, designers, and photographers collaborate early in the year on the new direction to showcase the university to potential students and their parents. The same style and branded look are applied to other admissions office publications throughout the year.  In addition to the main viewbook, for example, there are more detailed brochures describing the College of Arts and Science, Blair School of Music, School of Engineering, and Peabody College.

Blair Concert Series

Blair Concert Series

As a direct mail promotional piece for music events at Blair, the Blair Concert Series book needs to stand out. Designer Julie Turner chose to create a unique, hand-crafted look for the cover, using opaque white, purple, and black inks on French Construction Fuse Green paper, and adding an overlay of pearlized foil stamping in a rhythmic graphic pattern. Characters from the font Hypnopaedia were used for the foil graphic, as well as for the smaller background pattern, and were repeated in a more subtle fashion throughout the interior pages. The book’s horizontal format allowed more variety in the layout of the featured artists' photos.

Open Dores

Open Dores 2012

Open Dores is the publication sent to accepted students each spring. You may have heard about the "stripping party" that happens each spring in Undergraduate Admissions. Stripping refers to the act of peeling off the adhesive strip from the envelope to seal the acceptance packet. Open Dores mails in March each year to approximately 4,500 accepted students along with the letter of acceptance and other material. It is designed to re-inspire the most highly desired of our applicants to say "YES!" to our offer of acceptance. Since not every accepted student will in fact accept the offer, more acceptances are sent than there are actual places in the first-year class. Through careful calculations, Enrollment Management figures on a "yield," which results in the final 1,650 students who will actually move in to The Ingram Commons in August. This particular publication is produced with a five-color process that includes metallic gold 873, Vanderbilt's official gold color. It also features a cover flap, a play on the concept of opening a door, a reference to starting a new journey. A pocket on the inside back cover provides a spot for several additional flyers that are tucked into the mailing, depending on the school that the student has been accepted to.

The video demonstrates more fully the 3-d quality of the printed publication experience.