A UTD student designed the winning entry in the contest for the American Southwest Conference championship logo for the second year in a row.
Fayna Zeng, an ATEC and EMAC sophomore, became the first student in the history of the competition to be chosen twice with her win this year.
Zeng first found out about the competition last year through Twitter while riding the bus on a trip with the UTD volleyball team, of which she is a member. She viewed it as an opportunity to add to her portfolio and resume.
“At first, I didn’t really think much of it,” Zeng said. “I was bored on the bus and I thought, ‘I’ll just do this for fun since I have nothing better to do.’ I made it without even thinking I would win. I just did it for fun and for practice.”
While designing this year’s entry, Zeng said she used design principles and aspects that she learned in classes over this past year. She also pulled inspiration from social media by following the accounts of famous graphic designers and learning from their styles.
During the decision process, she spent time reflecting on her last year’s design and analyzing what made it a winner in the eyes of the judges.
“I pulled it up and thought, ‘Okay, this looked good on last year’s shirt, so I think people will like it on this year’s shirt, too,’” Zeng said.
Another source of inspiration for Zeng were the previous shirts she had from other athletic events.
“I’ve noticed common designs, like how they incorporate elements,” Zeng said. “For example, banners and ribbons to signify winning or crossing the finish line, or a circle shape to represent medals or trophies. It was really helpful over the years being able to be exposed to all those different designs in a graphic design sense.”
The winning logo design for this year is a star with the ASC logo in the center, wrapped in a banner saying “conference champions” along with the school years.
Every championship winning team in the ASC, which included UTD’s women’s volleyball team and men’s soccer team last year, is awarded shirts with that year’s winning logo.
“That’s such a great feeling, seeing your design on things outside of the computer and seeing it on people, wearing it in their everyday lives, seeing how it could affect someone’s life,” Zeng said. “Even that small of an aspect, it’s pretty cool.”
Zeng said the competitiveness she learned as an athlete played a role in how she approached this competition.
“Sports and athletics made me want to win this contest. It helped me be motivated to put time and effort into it,” she said. “The feeling of watching other people wear it really motivated me to have that same feeling this year again.”
Marci Sanders, the volleyball coach, said she was impressed with Zeng’s initiative in entering the contest.
“The thing, I think, that has made it more special than anything is she’s taken all of this upon herself to do it,” she said.
Zeng designed the regular t-shirts for the volleyball program this year, but Sanders said her championship logo is on the team’s mind.
“I think it’s a little extra motivation again for our team this year to earn that shirt again,” Sanders said.