Students elect sophomore as Manifest 2015 creative director

Monique Doron's winning design and the brand of Manifest 2015. 

By Assistant Campus Editor

Monique Doron, a sophomore art + design major who submitted her artwork on a whim, has been named Manifest’s 2015 creative director.

Each year, students are able to submit designs that may determine the creative brand of the festival and then the student body votes on the winner. This year, Doron was selected.

Doron said she applied but did not expect to win because she was so young. After scrapping her original idea centered around a lotus flower, she said she landed on an image of framing hands modeled after the way photographers plan their shots. 

“I was sitting at my computer and I was like, ‘Well, what the hell do I do now? I really want to do something,’” Doron said. “So I created this really cool star with the lines and the hands. Our theme is ‘focus,’ and that just made me think about cameras manual focusing and the blur.”

Doron said she is excited to get the work done and see the final product. She said she knows her position as creative director is an important one. 

“Manifest is celebrating the graduating student work and it also is a way to reel in more admissions,” Doron said. “If it wasn’t cohesive, that would say a lot about our college. We want this to be a cohesive community and a family sort of—this amazing art family. That’s why I came to Columbia because I felt that sort of vibe that I wanted to be part of a family, but also part of something bigger.”

Doron, a Maple Grove, Minnesota-native, said she originally got into graphic design while screen-printing gig posters for bands and venues. She said she loves working with paper and said screenprinting is a very tactile way of designing because it is something that cannot be achieved with a computer design. 

“I have always been an intuitive kind of design person,” Doron said. “Graphic design has always made me very happy. It’s always been a way of communicating my thoughts to the outside world in a way that I was never able to phrase correctly.”

Besides doing screenprinting, Doron is also part of Student Programming Board, a student organization that plans, promotes and produces college-wide events, and Students in Design, a collective of student designers.

“It’s super important to be involved with on-campus activities because if you’re going to be here for four years, how are you not interested in doing something outside of your classes?” Doron said. “You can’t just go through your classes and that’s it. You have to grow and learn as a person.”

Betsy Odom, an adjunct professor in the Art + Design Department, said she taught Doron in her “Making I” and “Making II” classes. Both classes pushed Doron to go beyond her comfort zone and expanded her creativity, Odom said.

“One of the big breakthroughs that she had in the ‘Making II’ class was learning not to be quite so perfect and to let go,” Odom said. “You could see her learning to collaborate and work with other people.”

Although Doron is still a sophomore, Odom said she is a great fit for the position of creative director. 

“[Doron] always was a leader within the classroom,” Odom said. “She always seemed to have a really great impact on her classmates. I can see her taking on this responsibility and really flourishing.”

Matt Dunne, creative director for Manifest 2014, said in an email that he had a meaningful experience in his position. Although it was a lot of work, he said he had constant support from the college and the Manifest team. He said although the job may get stressful, being the creative director is a great experience for any designer. 

“It’s important for Manifest to have strong branding because it makes a huge impression on both the school and the event itself,” Dunne said. “If the branding is strong, eye-catching and informative, it will help get more people to come to the festival and help show the high-caliber level of talent that attracts people to Columbia College Chicago in the first place.”

Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Success, said Manifest is a way to put a spotlight on the body of work created by students and represents the talent of the college’s developing students in every way. Each year, students can submit designs expanding off the traditional Manifest star. This year, Doron will have the challenge of bringing new and fresh ideas to that image, he said.

“The Manifest star itself is to represent the solar energy that emanates from our community that sustains and inspires our students,” Kelly said. “The star represents the powered energy of Columbia. This star symbolizes who we are at our best.”