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To generate interest in their senior design show, the students at the University of Tennessee decided to capture the idea that their education was coming to an end with a witty visual pun. “Our location in the evangelical Christian South lead to the apocalyptic signboard,” explain Jeff Baxter and Paul Schlacter, recent graduates of the University of Tennessee’s design program, who came up the concept.
“Our class is a small, tight-knit, funny group of people, and we knew this was the right idea from the beginning,” they say. “Plus, wandering around with a sandwich board on is pretty fun.”
“It’s got a really good concept,” says judge Peleg Top. “That’s one of the things that was really missing from a lot of the show.”
Plus, the poster succeeded in attracting a crowd to the event. “I think people especially liked the double- sided poster,” says assistant design professor Deborah Shmerler. “Confronted by the statement ‘The End is Near,’ it was satisfying to see people smile after reading the other side. And even when the event is long past, it’s still an interesting poster to have on the wall.”
Design student Jeff Baxter snapped the shot of fellow student Paul Schlacter wearing the sign.
The original sandwich board created for the photo shoot eventually became the signage for the event.
The designers chose a non-standard format for the poster to give it extra punch. “We wanted the poster to feel life-size, but not be so big that it couldn’t find space on a door,” says design instructor Deborah Shmerler.
Title: The End is Near 2005 Student Senior Show Invitation
Firm/Client: The University of Tennessee Design Center, Knoxville, TN
Art Director: Deborah Shmerler
Designers: Jeff Baxter, Paul Schlacter
Printer: University of Tennessee Graphic Arts