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Junior Academy is an intensive Thesis program at Suffolk University, including Research, Studio, and Documentation. My project of a brand identity, Junior Academy, is created to bring soccer, education, and community building to refugee children.

Personal Project

Deliverable(s): Visual Identity and Marketing Materials

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When collaborating, sports communities can create a social movement to change the lives of refugee and immigrant children across the globe. This movement can be understood as mental health therapy. Mental health therapy not only can enrich moments of being fully engaged but also can foster active learning behaviors and team-building skills among children. Ultimately, it can reshape humanity.



The central question for this thesis research is the question of how design can facilitate social change utilizing sports communities. To seek the answer to the question, we need to break it down into smaller components.

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Sports Can Make Money

What is beyond sports or physical activities that can make people go crazy? It is money. The financial aspect of the sports industry has been humongous. From the most expensive sports leagues to the most well-paid players, it all comes as a form of currency transaction. Through findings, the sports industry is famously wealthy for not only those who directly interact with the sports but also those who invest in a long-term portfolio.

Sports Can Save Lives

In contrast to financial wealth, sports can save lives and stir up a social movement. Based on raw data and rough case studies, the storytelling element in sports emphasizes the incredible force of a community or a group of individuals coming together to make history regardless of hardship. Sports stories are vital to impact various life domains such as political intervention, religious beliefs, gender discrimination issues, terrorism, and many more. They are an essential piece of transforming people’s perspectives.

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Sports Can Mean Different Things

By understanding that notion, people can perspectively look at sports in a variety of customizable attributes. In other words, sports can be a hobby, a lifestyle, a personality, a competition, a charity, a pure joy, or just a natural play. Most importantly, sports can be a community where it places a strong foundation of physical and mental education that can empower individuals to build up the values of life.

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Poetry Book Project
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Looking for Patterns

As I shuffled through previous designs that I had created at NESAD, designs that stood out the most were often related to the ongoing humanitarian crisis or social unrest. They are an awareness that I would like people to pay attention to and be informed about. In this case, my focus of awareness is on children. More specifically, it centralizes refugee children and those in the chaos of immigration instability.

The Poetry Book project (top left image) was an interesting hands-on project. It allowed me to exercise my craft of making a booklet, a chair, and photography. The goal was to create a well-delivered, touching message about the Syrian crisis. Conceptually inspired by the movie The Schindler’s List, the black and white photos with red highlights demonstrate the horror of wars and how brutal they impact innocent children. I proudly remember the time I spent at the woodshop to make the red chair and set up the teddy bear in wounds. It added a whole lot of meaning to the final piece. Visuals speak very loudly.

Using the 10 Amendments as an anchored focus to explore the concept of comic books through Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, I learned the relationship between words and images in multiple methods. One of them was Additive which I used to explain how words could loudly express the meaning of an image. By combining digital design and hand-cut composition, the Sandy Hook shooting incident spoke volumes to policy change against gun violence. "We the Victims" (bottom left image) strongly emphasized the message of gun violence in the U.S. towards victims regardless of their age. 

Owning My Story

It all started when I was just 17 years old. Leaving my friends and family and everything I had known so well about where I grew up was the hardest thing I had to do. Plus, it was my first time being on a plane by myself flying half-of-the-earth away from home. The first time is always the most difficult and scariest. A mixed feeling of overwhelm and excitement stayed in my head and multiplied on a daily basis. I wondered why everything happened so quickly and what would lie ahead from here.

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Me playing soccer with friends in a tournament | Photo Credit: Unknown

Now that after many seasons, I still endure and stay alive. As a matter of fact, I grow stronger and wiser amid all these changes. Life is so strange that it puts you in a hard condition just for you to develop yourself and learn as much as you can to survive. It certainly continues to go on like that for many years to come and it will never end. One thing I've learned after those years is that getting myself involved in playing soccer and keeping my physical health in check with regular exercises have helped me through tough times and developed in me graceful gratitude. It is, more or less, a therapy for a state of mind. When I play the game of soccer, my mind and body agree to engage with the moment and those around me. All of the expressions such as screaming, yelling, and cheering and all of the physical movements including the injuries create an incredible human being experience in me. Ultimately, I find myself surrounded by like-minded folks who become a community or friendship. Soccer just happens.

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Hatching the Concept

At this thesis studio stage, I'd like to develop a brand identity that touches multiple points on physical activity, educational learning, and community building that will significantly support the refugee children.

The soccer academy idea is a non-profit that will recruit experienced coaches, accept volunteers, and receive soccer pieces of equipment from other non-profit partners to drive its core values–physical activity, educational learning, community building. The academy is committed to building a safe play-environment for refugee and immigrant children across the state of Massachusetts. All the charitable donations and equipment will proceed to the youth development program. More importantly, to keep the organization running, all the staff and communities need to collaborate effectively and efficiently.

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Junior Is Born

The identity – His/her name is Junior. Junior is born in a loose drawing gesture that represents children in various attributes.

The color choice – Orange carries a wide range of meanings including vibrant movement, positive change, enthusiasm, happiness, joy, and encouragement. It also profoundly represents the swimming vests that help millions of refugees cross the ocean to the promised land.

The tag lineFresh off the egg emphasizes children that are innocent and in need of care, love, and education.

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C: 75  M: 68  Y: 67  K: 90 #FF9953

R: 255  G: 255  B: 255

C: 0  M: 0  Y: 0  K: 0 #FFFFFF

To provide opportunistic moments of full engagement in playing the sport of soccer, Junior also hopes to create an environment that fosters educational learning and community-building aspects. 

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There are several typefaces used for Junior Academy identity. Specifically, in the logo, a graphic-drawing font is created for the brand name and the tagline. Bold Oduda typeface is for titles, subtitles, and emphasizing words. Lowercase Bariol font with a regular weight used for body content and headlines in marketing materials such as print ads or flyers. As for heavy body copy, Baskerville enhances readability.

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Junior Soccer Academy will build teams, form different divisions, develop competitive levels, train and certify referees, coaches, and volunteers to meet required criteria, and provide convenient transportations for those who are part of the program. Besides, Junior will frame a concrete community fan base that supports the teams and strengthens families in need. Ultimately, Junior Soccer Academy will be run by its communities.

What more the academy visually carries? Soccer kits for competitive leagues, casual T-shirts for kids, match tickets for proceeds, magazine ads, social media presence, a webpage platform, and an application for coaches, volunteers, and fans.

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Kid 2
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