Designer and Alumni Spotlight
Behind every design is a talented designer with their own story. The Illini Store has had the pleasure of working with, Kwasi a designer and illustrator based in Chicago. Kwasi is a University of Illinois alum. He attended the university as an undergrad and earned a degree in Art History from the Liberal Arts College. Kwasi was exceptionally interested in Renaissance history. He credits iconic Renaissance artists for inspiring the way in which he creates designs. When asked to elaborate on his design inspirations Kwasi discussed the effect that mainstream media has had on his design style. He’s constantly inspired by movies, music, and even architecture.
Kwasi went on to study graphic design at the Art Institute and continued his education even further by attending the University of Illinois Chicago for graduate school where he earned a Master’s degree in graphic design. Kwasi mentioned that he didn’t take many drawing classes in school instead he considered drawing to be more of a hobby, he would spend his free time sketching and practicing. His hobby eventually turned into a career as he started to land various freelance gigs. Kwasi has created art for FiveThirtyEight, Disney, and Marvel among other companies. His work was recently featured on Disney Plus to celebrate Star Wars for the week of May 4th.
Kwasi has also started creating designs for The Illini Store. He explained that his method behind developing the Jake from SFC design for Jacob Grandison involved compiling aspects of artwork that he had saved from Pinterest and Instagram and picking out elements that he thought were inspiring. He then created a basic sketch to “get his thoughts down” and built upon that sketch until he was happy with the final design.
The Illini Store has enjoyed working with Kwasi not only because of his exceptional design skills but also his passion for NIL. NIL stands for name, image, and likeness; it’s the policy that allows college athletes to profit off their name. Kwasi was eager to talk about the importance of NIL. As a sports fan, he understands the complexity of the college athlete compensation debate. He praised NIL for allowing players to benefit from their contribution to their respective schools. The Illini Store is looking forward to continuing to work with Kwasi in the future.
Check out Kwasi’s art on his Instagram @kwasi81.