Team · Victor Szeto - Creative Director ·  Robert (Alexander) Weitzel - Art Director/Project Manager · Rubial Fusigboye - Graphic Designer · Suyoung Joung - Graphic Designer · Andrew Rizzi - Graphic Designer
The project involved branding the 2025 Excellence in Canadian News Media Gala (ECNMG). It’s a hypothetical non-profit organization celebrating journalists, media organizations and sponsors supporting Canadian news reporting. The designers were tasked with conceptualizing the brand identity and implementing deliverables that demonstrated the identity across various analogue and digital touchpoints.  
Project goals and objectives: 

This ECNMG brief is based on a real-world project provided by the Creative Director. The group needed to create a unique solution that differed heavily from the real-world project's results, while upholding the client's objectives as laid out in the creative brief.  
Showcase the organization as a serious force of influence and truth to Canadian households. 
Highlight award recipients and how their work impacts public opinion and policy. 
Underscore the value of sponsorship and donations to allow the work to continue, especially at a time when Canadian news media is being scrutinized, underfunded and compromised. 
Implement a design that packs in emotion and ease of understanding. Event attendees and the public need to understand the concept without having background knowledge or academic access. By the end of it they should feel compelled to take action.  
The team had weekly in-person or hybrid meetings with agreed upon milestones and set goals guiding their progress. Notes and ideas were captured on a group Figma board, communications were documented on Slack, and files were shared on OneDrive. Since all the visuals were created from scratch, the team began by researching benchmarks and references independently from similar media and journalism fields. Next, the group shared their findings and initial visual explorations, and lastly decided on the most realistic deliverables that could be completed within the limited time frame. Finally, we collectively agreed on which visual direction to move forward with.   
Group photo (Rubi off camera)

Group Photo! (Rubi off-camera)

Left to right: Icebreaker activity: what's on your desk! Followed by screenshots from the world of Figjam.

There was a laundry list of deliverables for the designers to take leads on. We ambitiously attempted to have each person choose two to start—one demonstrating their strength and one that would challenge or improve on their skill set. We landed on finessing one output per person so that each deliverable could be completed with care. These included the general brand identity, program booklet, web page, social media posts and a sponsor activation. 
Throughout the brand ideation process, the group generated a set of compelling identity concepts that factored in ECNM’s unique project goals and objectives. Many excellent concepts were generated during this phase, but some were deemed too specific to one particular field of reporting or the other. The final solution would have to effectively represent the breadth of reporters and reporting that the Canadian news media ecosystem has to offer. Through careful refinement and iteration, the team was able to effectively distill many of the disparate ideas chalked up during ideation into one final compelling and inclusive brand identity with the promise of longevity. 

For each deliverable, the Creative Director provided the written content so the designers could concentrate on conceptualizing the deliverables. Each week, the group would share their progress and offer critiques to support and improve on what they had. The general brand direction happened organically as it wasn’t a pre-determined element, and the CD wanted to offer as much creative freedom and boundary-pushing as possible. This doubled as a challenge because the team had to discover those edges on the fly, but the flexibility allowed everyone to try new ideas so that what we ended up with was never going to be predictable or expected. 
Lead by Alexander Weitzel 
The logo is inspired by photojournalism, celebrating bravery and uncovering stories. The primary lockup is symbolic of a camera’s viewfinder with a stylized Canadian flag placed in the center. Conceptually, the camera is turned towards those Canadians who typically wield the lens and sensor. The typography conveys a combination of seriousness (due to the nature of the organization) and glamour (for the Gala event), using Ivy Presto for the wordmark and Neue Haas Grotesk for the year. Because of the length of the name, variations of the logo were created to suit its context – one with the full name, one using an acronym, and one with the icon only. The brand’s signature Midwestern black and Canadian red are the brand’s high impact primary colors, with Royal Gold serving as an accent. Imagery is almost exclusively greyscale and focuses on Journalists in the field. The red viewfinder bracket from the primary icon is a graphic element that is implemented in various ways throughout the branding. 
Sponsor Activation 
Lead by Alexander Weitzel 
This deliverable was an anomaly by design. The objective was to create a sponsorship activation that connected both visually and conceptually with ECNMG, while offering a tangible benefit to the sponsor. After lots of ideation and reference research, we decided to use Reddit as one of the event’s top sponsors and build a unique and memorable maze experience. Attendees would be provided with an empty sticker card which can later be filled in by answering gala-themed questions throughout the maze. At the end of the journey, participants received an invitation to an upcoming Reddit service targeted at journalists and media executives with the goal of driving sign-ups and engagement to the platform. Deliverables include the maze design, signage and graphics for the wall exterior, invitation envelope that housed the punch card and stickers. The maze could be easily reworked and repackaged for future events and experiences.  
Web page 
Lead by Rubiat Fusigboye
This web page was centred around providing journalists and the public with information about the Gala in the clearest and most user-friendly way possible. The information included details about the event date and time, where to get tickets, what the organization is about, award winners, past photo galleries, and sponsors. The page interactively expands on the brand, integrating details like the viewfinder icon as the cursor, and treating the different sections in a manner that connects to the visual language of the other event deliverables. 
Lead by Andrew Rizzi 
A program booklet is an essential takeaway for any robust event. This Gala specified a 28-page program that required pagination planning and a grid-system page layout to maintain reader interest and to curate of the plethora of content. The layout, font choice, and colour palette were designed to portray a serious tone. The finished size was 3.9” x 8.25” which had a production practicality while coming across as elegant and unexpected. The event brand was supported by the use of black-and-white type and grayscale images. Gold was used as an accent throughout.  
Social media 
Lead by Suyoung Joung 
A content calendar was created to determine the posts required for the event from its initial announcement to the post-event recognitions. A total of 11 Instagram posts were created that included three Reels. The brand comes alive in motion, reinforcing its news media tone while ensuring key details are communicated clearly and quickly. A design system was developed to differentiate between various post categories, whether it’s a recognition of sponsors, award winners or making a statement. 
Alexander Weitzel 
I joined the RGD Mentorship Program because I wanted the opportunity to learn and lead in a design-oriented setting, and I got that chance when I was appointed Art Director. I’m a recent graduate with little leadership experience, but with the support of my Creative Director Victor Szeto, I was able to become a much more effective leader and designer by the end of the 8-week program. Since I have not yet had the pleasure of finding work post-grad, the RGD Mentorship program has been a grand opportunity to keep doing what I love while on hiatus. One element that I felt I could have improved upon would have been creating more finished assets for the style guide, providing clearer visual direction for the team early on. Proud of the work, happy to have met with such wonderful people. 
Rubiat Fusigboye 
As a design student, I spent a lot of my time working on my own with no external structure and I feel as though this mentorship program helped me a lot with working in a team, coming together dividing tasks, creating cohesion between our different designs and learning to take and receive feedback. Victor was a great lead understanding that we are all different kinds of designers and adapting to make the team work well together. Overall I had an amazing experience. 
Suyoung Joung 
Through this program, I had a profoundly meaningful experience that extended beyond the confines of a traditional academic setting and what I could have achieved on my own. Collaborating with Victor and other team members, each bringing unique perspectives, allowed us to develop and design various concepts that aligned with my core design value: creating designs that resonate with and satisfy everyone. This experience reinforced the crucial importance of communication within the graphic design industry. I am deeply grateful to all my team members for their continuous honest feedback and support. 
Andrew Rizzi 
I thought the RGD mentorship program was a great experience and would highly recommend it to other students. This program provided a great opportunity to build my portfolio and gain experience with the creative process while working in a team. Victor and Alex (CD & AD) were able to provide great feedback about our work and point us in the right direction to produce a number of deliverables that function as a cohesive whole. In comparison to an academic setting, I found this mentorship program to be more dense in terms of the feedback you receive, and ideation and design insight. You get a lot more 1 on 1 time than you would in a classroom with numerous students. Great for the resume, great for the portfolio.