During an advance graphics course in her final semester at Missouri State University, Rachel Backs received a unique assignment.
Her class was challenged to create designs for the Be a Bear T-shirt contest. Now, Backs is one of three finalists in the contest.
“I’m stoked to be up against some of my classmates,” Backs said. “They are amazing designers and people.”
A Bear Today, Tomorrow and Forever
Backs thought she was all out of ideas until she came across a photo with a stamp in it, sparking her design idea. This turned into the concept of a Be a Bear Forever stamp.
The minimalist design imitates a Forever stamp with a bear as the main focus. Contained in the distinct perforated outline, “Be a Bear Forever” is written at the bottom with the intentional details “MSU” and “2020” in the top corners.
The letters in “forever” are stretched out as a representation of the word itself and the spirit of being a Bear.
“This is inclusive of all audiences including alumni. Because once you’re a Bear, you’re a Bear forever,” said Backs.
Backs found the assignment refreshing since the design would be going out into the real-world. She feels the best preparation she’s received comes from real-world experiences.
She was a junior graphic designer for MSU and continues to do freelance graphic design in her free time.
Beyond being a Bear
After graduating with her bachelor of fine arts in graphic design in December 2019, Backs started a full-time job as a web designer for Bass Pro Shops.
Working with the practical part of design has helped Backs to learn more about herself as a designer.
“Sometimes my creativity can get burned out, so it’s been refreshing to design websites that have a clear objective of making the user experience as easy and enjoyable as possible,” she said.
Going forward, Backs aspires to create quality work that makes a difference. This is something that the MSU graphic design program instilled in her.
“Knowing that my design is fulfilling its purpose to communicate something or look pretty inspires me,” said Backs. “Whether it’s something like this contest or a project or my job.”
About the Be a Bear T-shirt Contest
The annual Be a Bear T-shirt promotes Missouri State University spirit and helps support the student SAA Degree Completion Scholarship.
Rachel’s design collected the most votes to win the 2020 contest. You can buy her shirt at the Missouri State Bookstore.