Asian Pacific American Heritage Week (APAHW) 2017 — Resonance
I led a team of 5 in developing the branding strategy for APAHW’s 25th anniversary. This year, we stood out from other campus events with a modern, cutting-edge image.
In its 25 year history, APAHW has both celebrated and supported the Asian-American identity at Penn. It holds a special place as one of very few school-recognized cultural celebrations in schools around America, and activism surrounding the week has lead to the creation of important Asian Pacific American (APA) spaces and community initiatives at Penn.
The celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Week (APAHW) has shifted over time with the interests of young APIDA adults both at Penn and across America. Political activists and officials such as Cheryl Lau and Angela Oh were notable speakers in Early APAHWs. Through the 2000s, however, YouTube performers and media personalities such as Clara Chung and Eddie Huang became the highest-profile names. With young Asian Pacific Americans becoming increasingly politically engaged in today’s age of information, our APAHW saw celebration as along and within the context of the fight for an AAPI identity and rights for minoritized communities as a whole.
Our theme of Resonance centered us on the importance of critical, dialogue-pushing discussion alongside the sights and sounds of Asian-American celebration.
Last year’s APAHW focused on a flat, minimal brand to match our theme of Clarity. This year, we wanted to stand out from other campus events with a modern, cutting-edge image. We took heavy inspiration from Museum-styled brutalism, heavily geometric art, macro textures, and minimalist psychadelic prints. We matched this with Resonance’s natural inclination towards sound, or noisy imagery. Waveforms and overlapping, multitudinous shapes came to the forefront of our style.
Most of Penn’s event marketing revolves around Penn’s dark blue and red or draws from darker and subdued color tones. We decided early that we wanted a gold or bright yellow to contrast this trend, and we built our palette around that color.
Next, we split into groups to develop the individual cover photos for each event. Combining each event coordinator’s vision with our higher level aesthetic, we were able to keep each event distinct both in marketing and execution while still maintaining a sense of unity across events.
To keep APAHW at top of mind, during the summer and early semester we populated our Facebook account with content with thought pieces and in-house infographics, along with relevant articles and videos. For upperclassmen, we featured their friends in a magazine-inspired photoshoot. For freshmen, we showed up at orientation events and spread the word through cultural groups on campus.
Below are the cover photo and visual results of our work! Overall we brought out over 500 people to our events, which featured keynote speaker Anna Akana, panels on Art as Activism and Islamophobia, and celebrations of food and talent from across the school.