In spring 2022, Bard Graduate Center’s art director, Laura Grey, reached out to Jessica Wexler, chair of the undergraduate communications design program at Pratt Institute, in hopes of establishing a graphic design fellowship similar to one that BGC’s Department of Research Collections had successfully developed the previous year with Pratt’s MA program in library science. The graphic design fellowship aims to promote diversity and inclusion in the field, providing mentorship to emerging designers interested in working in museums, galleries, publishing, or academia.

From a competitive pool of applicants selected by the Pratt faculty, Jacklyn Wang, senior communications design major, was selected as the pioneer of the program. Her interest in design within museums and galleries drew her to apply for the BGC fellowship position. She has always been curious about the relationship between curators and designers: their collaborative work executing an exhibition and producing the visual materials surrounding its ideas. Grey stated that “Wang’s refined design sensibility, interest in the museum world, and facility with motion design made her stand out” among an impressive pool of applicants.

Wang got her start in graphic design through photography in high school. She learned Photoshop to manipulate her photos into surreal images and collages. From there, her interest grew to include the sequencing and design aspects of creating image-based projects. To complement her communications design degree Wang is earning a minor in book arts and museum and gallery practices.

Wang spent part of her undergraduate experience learning remotely, due to the pandemic. When the design program pivoted to a heavily online approach, physical resources such as print labs and hand-made maquettes were put on hold for their slicker, digital counterparts. Wang became more curious about physical design and printing processes and increased her appreciation for the physicality of book arts. She is inspired by the “DIY” spirit of independent publishing practices that use techniques like Risograph printing (which produces a layered effect, similar to screen printing, that is commonly used to reproduce work in large quantities). Many of the materials that inspire her include self-published art books and zines.

While Wang has not worked at BGC for very long, she has already made her mark. “It has been a wonderful experience to mentor a talented emerging designer,” Grey reflected. Wang has designed printed pieces to promote the Wednesdays@BGC and Tuesday Lunch series produced by Public Humanities + Research at BGC. She also works closely with designer Jocelyn Lau to create materials and graphics that are used on BGC’s campus and online—from event posters to gallery takeaway cards to social media posts.

A highlight of her time at BGC has been a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with BGC’s marketing and design team to see The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England. The visit focused on studying the visual identity and installation of the exhibition; examining the differences in design between exhibitions of various scales at the Met; and discussing how the design of title walls, the choice of fonts and sizes, and accessibility concerns could impact the visitor experience.

Jacklyn’s fellowship ends in August, shortly after she graduates from Pratt. The fellowship has given her an understanding of designing for an institution with an existing design identity, learning best typesetting practices, adhering to style guides, and honing her technical skills with programs in the Adobe Suite. You can see her work outside of BGC on her website. She has also been designing a new BGC store product featuring objects from the BGC Study Collection. Please look for it coming soon!