A silver medallion with a silver ribbon trailing behind it. There's a building flanked with rays of light.

Transforming and honoring the University of Idaho President's Medallion


Redesign the President’s Medallion, which is awarded biannually to those who have notably made Idaho a better place. Make the medallion feel more momentous.


I redesigned the medallion around my illustration of the Administration Building.

When I redesigned this medallion, I created a medal that feels like an honor, not like a cheap memento, that effortlessly fit within the University's visual history.

I addressed this challenge by designing after deep visual research, adjusting the design to fit the medium, and emphasizing the importance of form.

A mockup of a laptop with an Evernote research dossier of medal designs.

Olympic-level research

When I began this project, I didn’t have experience with medallions or the Office of the President. So, I compiled a research dossier documenting different types of medals, coins, and UIdaho imagery. This helped me understand what would be successful and informed my 5 conceptual pitches.

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A close-up photo of the medallion
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"V" for vendor and victory

Because I hadn’t designed for metal before, I worked closely with the manufacturers and advisor Delphine Keim. My illustration transferred to metal seamlessly, thanks to its line weights. The type, however, wasn’t legible through the rays of light. So, we revised the design to include a banner where the words could breathe.

The medallion in a velvet, elegant box.
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The design release was celebrated at commencement and at a private celebration with president C. Scott Green, his team, and the medallion recipients.

Going for gold (well, silver)

A chief reason for the redesign was that the medallion felt flimsy and cheap. I knew that the medallion could still feel that way, even with revived imagery. From the get-go, I emphasized how a thick and heavy medallion would have a higher perceived value. When the medallion was produced, it was heavy and stored in a velvet-lined, cherry box. That preciousness emphasized the award’s significance and honored its Spring 2021 recipients, UIdaho’s COVID-19 response team.

The president’s medallion needed to honor its context: within university history and as an award. My design did just that because I conducted visual research, collaborated with our vendors, and communicated my holistic concept.