Vanderbilt University is located a few blocks from our studio. They have been a client for many years. When the Pandemic hit, university officials were scrambling to figure out how to keep the students, staff, and faculty safe without shutting down completely. Daniel Dubois, Executive Director Of Marketing Solutions asked us to help him develop a poster campaign inspired by the art created during WW2 to support our troops and win the war. We took a similar approach, combining humor and bold, attention-grabbing imagery to inspire, inform, and motivate everyone on campus to come together and flatten the curve.
We experimented with numerous rough concept sketches, each with a different emphasis. We tried various visual metaphors and iconic images. (The acorn is a classic Vanderbilt motif. Squirrels are everywhere on campus. “Anchor Down” is a common phrase inspired by The Commodore, Mr. Vanderbilt himself.)
The finished posters were a smashing success, by all measures—they stood out and got noticed. They were so popular, they were regularly stolen, ending up inn the dorm rooms and in the collections of local poster fans. They were printed with metallic gold and black (Vandy’s school colors).
The posters were so popular that a line of other merchandise was produced to help keep everyone motivated to wear masks, observe social distancing, get vaccinated, and pull together as a community to beat COVID-19. Our poster art was adapted to create collectibles like plush mask-wearing squirrels, stickers, metal pins, tote bags, face masks, and t-shirts. It was a fun project that probably saved lives, and definitely made the living in a Pandemic a little more enjoyable.