Capilano University IDEA 2020


Capilano University’s IDEA Bachelor of Design and Visual Communication Program has gained a solid reputation for graduating effective, career-ready individuals. The annual IDEA Grad Show is the culmination of the students’ studies in the program, serving as an opportunity for them to share their portfolio and skills with industry peers and potential employers. The 2020 show has been moved to a virtual platform to coincide with the current social-distancing regulations, while still showcasing the hardworking graduates and their work.

Challenge and Opportunity

Carter Hales was engaged by Capilano University to develop the creative concept for the IDEA 2020 show, to be rolled out onto print and digital touchpoints. The Grad Show is exclusively about the students and their work, so the design platform for the show needed to support the student’s work without overpowering it. The goal of the design platform is to excite art directors and design firm principals about individual students, and the show overall. Since there are many different design programs out there with grad shows,the design platform needed to set the IDEA show apart from the rest by highlighting the reason to attend the show and consider hiring an IDEA student: local, energetically fresh, and ready-to-work, talent.


The design concept was inspired by the idea of employers having “first dibs at fresh and talented students”, imagining the students as grocery store fruit products perfectly ripened after their intensive program and ready to be “picked up” by the industry. The students collectively describe themselves as being “loud, sassy, and playful” so the solution has a bold and playful personality. Bouncing off the idea of classic fruit stickers and produce language, each student designed their own sticker, to be paired with their photo, that would sum up their personality. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Capilano U and Carter Hales agilely shifted the show to an online event accessed through the IDEA website, featuring graduate video reels and open Zoom meeting rooms to chat directly with the students.

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