I’m the Creative Director at the University of California’s systemwide, central office. Yes, I work in-house, with a creative team that is also, as it happens, in-house. When we all got here, there wasn’t much to work with. The official seal was used and abused, people thought that margins were nuisances that only impeded putting more words on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. The photography consisted of snapshots, most with a bad flash, of people doing….what? Hard to tell.

In graphic design, in-house teams are usually the underdogs, with most of the “worthwhile” work going out to agencies. But something sort of magical happened. We managed to build a brilliant team of designers who were excited about the possibilities, while the directors in our group started doing the arduous task of getting everyone to agree on what we needed to do next. And we did it with almost no money.

Now, we’ve got an amazing brand, that’s getting recognized.

I can say with certainty it has been the most challenging project I’ve done professionally — but right now, today, I feel like it’s also the most rewarding. This creative team is aces — really aces. Who else could have pulled off such a puckish, sly, witty and smart identity? Every truck, banner, stripe and video has been a step toward building something new — something memorable, iconic, relevant and — most shockingly, appropriate. I also love this team’s fearlessness…we’ve created what I think is a game-changing identity for a game-changing university.