Rhode Island School of Design
(RISD) Brand Identity Design

Founded in Providence in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design is one of the leading art and design schools in the world. Known for its cross-disciplinary approach to art and design pedagogy, RISD has always attracted students who are interested in making while critically engaging with culture and producing ideas that impact the future.

In recent years the school entered a transformation that involved deeper, structural commitments to evolve and open up—to a wider range of creative voices and practices, to the decolonization of histories and knowledge, and to new applications of design disciplines and technologies that would attract the next generation of aspiring creative minds.

Gretel partnered with RISD and research agency ON ROAD to build an identity framework that ties all parts of the institution together, amplifying the voices of this diverse and distinctive community.
Agency ︎︎︎ Gretel

My Role ︎︎︎ Design Intern & Freelance Designer

Field ︎︎︎ Brand Identity, Type Design

Typefaces ︎︎︎ RISD Sans & Serif by Ryan Bugden in close collaboration with the larger Gretel + RISD teams

Team ︎︎︎ DESIGN: Andrea Trabucco-Campos, Dylan Mulvaney, Lea Loo / ECD: Ryan Moore / STRATEGY: Kasia Galla, Sam Arabia, Nathan Frisch, Daniel Edmundson (ESD) / PM: Kerry Griner / MOTION: Cyrus Cumming, John Choi

Research ︎︎︎ ON ROAD Tarik Fontanelle

RISD Team ︎︎︎ Kerci Marcello, Huy Vu, Jordan Gushwa, Mary Banas

Published ︎︎︎ August 2022

Built with the RISD Community

We developed this identity openly with the RISD community, sharing every step on a microsite we designed & built, and through open forums where we would present to the community and have open discussions about the work. 

Click here to view the micosite

An Active Purpose

Our strategic aim was to capture the ambition of the school’s artists, designers and scholars to create a more just, fair, and sustainable society. We knew our purpose needed to resonate with these audiences while also being actionable for anybody within the RISD community—something they would naturally do every day. Together we co-crafted RISD’s new guiding idea: Question to Create, Create to Question, which captures the spirit of curiosity and drives everything RISD creators make.

Making Strategy Visible

An art and design education is never complete. A dynamic, constantly evolving process of learning, interrogating, making, critiquing, and starting again. The core visual concept of ‘Complete / Incomplete’ translates into a set of open, flexible tools and frameworks for the talented RISD community to use and evolve.

A Custom Typeface

The design system captures this endless loop in a simple and recognizable typographhic signature that ranges from complete to incomplete and ensures consistency while allowing for flexibility and expression. 

After an extensive exploration that yieled over 105 font prototypes, a custom super family of typefaces was drawn by a RISD alum, Ryan Bugden (GD 14), who worked closely with the RISD and Gretel teams throughout the development.

View the full case study  

All work on this website is property of Julia Grippo