DONE BY DESIGN | Youngblood’s favorite graphic, “HOW TO BE BLACK,” educates viewers on the experience of being a black woman in America. Photo Provided by Avery Youngblood.
Avery Youngblood ‘12 received Beyoncé’s Formation Scholarship at Parsons School of Design in New York City.
HOW TO BE BLACK. The bolded words fill the cover of the graphic, which folds out into five panels, meticulously saturated with curated information and designs. Phrases like “WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW” and “A DAY IN THE LIFE” dominate and shape the words around it. Drops of color dance on the last two panels, the rest of the graphic in black and white. Designed by Avery Youngblood ‘12, this visual is one of her favorite graphics that she has created. Youngblood, pursuing a career in graphic design, currently attends Parsons School of Design in New York City.
In 2017, Youngblood received Beyonce’s Formation Scholarship, and in 2018, she was named a 2018 Student to Watch by Graphic Design USA, a news magazine for graphic designers.
“I always have a part of me in my designs, and if they did not start out with a message they usually always end up having some sort of perspective or opinion of mine in them by the end,” Youngblood said.
Youngblood was first introduced to graphic design at Hockaday from her time on Vibrato, Hockaday’s literary magazine, which she joined her sophomore year. During her senior year, she was the Literary Editor, which required her to direct and edit all submitted literature. However, she still worked closely in design by creating her own spreads.
“I started getting interested when I joined Mrs. Rosenthal’s class, Vibrato. And, design allows me to access a lot of other mediums. Graphic design isn’t just about being on a computer or having just one focus, like branding or advertising,” Youngblood said. “It can take many shapes and forms in terms of its visual creativity and the depth of fields it can be applied to.”
Student Publications Advisor and Mass Communications Chair Ana Rosenthal oversees Vibrato and the designs that the students create. Rosenthal herself is vastly experienced in design, so when she works one-on-one with students, she makes sure to guide her students to make the best work they can design.
“Paying attention to detail, giving a lot of information with the least amount of visuals, keeping it simple and keeping it elegant is what makes a good design,” Rosenthal said. “A good design communicates clearly, efficiently and fast.”
Youngblood, after her 14 years at Hockaday, attended Stanford University and majored in both Linguistics and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies. Despite studying topics that are seemingly unrelated to graphic design, Youngblood believes that her studies in these areas helped her to bring more perspective to her pieces.
“Design relates a lot to language and communication, so studying linguistics helps me in terms of creating dynamic designs that form on the basis of how we communicate and what we are trying to convey when we are communicating,” Youngblood said.
After graduating in 2016, Youngblood pursued graphic design and applied to Parsons. During her first year there in the 2016- 2017 school year, she received an email about a scholarship opportunity. However, this wasn’t just any regular scholarship.
The Formation Scholarship was established by singer Beyonce in honor of the one-year anniversary of the release of her album, “LEMONADE.” The recipient of the scholarship, a female student studying any topic related to creative arts, music literature or African-American studies, would receive $25,000 towards the tuition at her school.
“Beyoncé Knowles-Carter announces the establishment of Formation Scholars awards for the 2017-2018 academic year, to encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident,” the announcement read.
The scholarship was eligible for application for students at four institutions: Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Spelman College and Parsons School of Design. Though the announcement of the scholarship was public, the application process and the requirements were only released to the respective colleges and universities.
“Parsons sent out an email about the scholarship, and right when I read the description, I knew I had to apply,” Youngblood said. “That is the girl I want to be, and if I’m not her, I want to work towards being her.”
As the graphic design realm is becoming more and more competitive, confidence in one’s work is essential, especially when one is a woman of color. Mentor of Youngblood and Director of Talent at COLLINS Yocasta Lachapelle-Sawney advised Youngblood about being a woman of color in the design world, enforcing to Youngblood that her voice and perspective is important.
“I would say that everyone’s experiences and background and identity are worth being heard, and I think I get to be one of the few that get to tell their story in the design as a woman of color,” Youngblood said. “I’m thankful and grateful for that.”
One year after receiving the Formation Scholarship Award, revered news source and magazine Graphic Design USA named Youngblood a “Student to Watch in 2018.” This nomination names Youngblood, amongst other young designers like her, as an exceptional creator.
“I don’t feel a responsibility, but more of a motivation because this is only the beginning,” Youngblood said. “I’m completely humbled and honored to be around so many great graphic designers.”
Currently in her last semester at Parsons, Youngblood is studying abroad in Copenhagen. She is undecided about her next step, whether that be extending her education or entering the workforce, but for Youngblood, this is certainly only the beginning.
Story by Cheryl Hao, Web Editor