Image of African American student sitting at a desk with his back to the camera with the quote "Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today." by Malcolm X on the right side in a dark blue half circle.


Utah State University’s STARS! GEARUP program requested digital displays that would motivate middle and high school-aged students to pursue higher education in the future. The GEAR UP program is a federally-funded program that helps guide parents and students in high-poverty school districts through the often confusing next-steps after high school graduation.

Design Considerations


  • White text on a dark blue field (sampled from Utah State University’s official website colors) in a decorative typeface. Lighter blue text sampled from the USU STARS! official logo.
  • Image desaturated restricting all but yellows in the HSL corrections tab


  • Strong right alignment of the text elements.


  • Yellow in the quote attribution is sampled from the yellow of the student’s t-shirt.
  • Light blue and dark blue sampled from the official logos that are to be applied before distribution.
  • Typography choices repeated for every highlighted word.


  • Text and attribution grouped together on right side of image.


  • Decorative font choice (Capture It) combined with lighter weight sans-serif (Avenir) for readability.
  • Adjustments to kerning and line spacing.

Software Techniques

Camera Raw: Original image manipulation to decrease saturation of all hues except yellow, increase texture and adjust exposure and viginette.

Photoshop: Multiple layers with layer effects and an embedded smart object utilized. Blending effects between layers, simple shape creation for the blue field along with effects for outer glow and drop shadows applied. Kerning and line spacing adjustments on the text block to increase readability and clarity.


Original Image (Left): Credit Julia M. Cameron, Pexels



Long Billboard Mockup courtesy of RawPixel via Mockup.Photos