As we wrap up the event planning stages to begin implementing communication plans, sending out the invitations, and preparing to host the first annual Bright Idea Symposium, I reflect upon the nature of the event from conception through the planning stages, noting how effective the exchange of ideas can be when difference meets to find the common thread of interest, shared purpose and value in the bigger picture.

Founded in research by GSL faculty adviser, Dr. Tim Davidson of the Human Relations program, Bright Idea is a never-before-seen event aiming to bring graduate students from all corners of campus together for a fun and energetic Friday night, developed in collaboration with the Graduate Student Life team and Graduate Student Ambassadors, a diverse cohort of graduate students equally interested in representing and supporting the interdisciplinary graduate student body at OU. Aside from the live DJ, free wine, and hors d’oeurves, this event will be headlined by eight key presenters. All of the presenters will be current OU graduate students that will engage attendees with fast-paced presentations in four different areas: wellness, time management, money management, and balance of life. For example, a student in business might present some easy tips on forming a budget, or an art student could present some ways in which art relieves stress.

Within a large campus forum setting, we are transforming the academic lecture context into a fun, energetic, yet chill environment where students from all backgrounds can enjoy sharing their Friday evening mixing, mingling, meeting new people, and hopefully learning something new along the way. To enliven the atmosphere, we chose a festive neon color palette, incorporating show lights, and glowing neon bistro tables and chairs. And to add a touch more energy and movement throughout the dimmed space, we will distribute neon glowing bracelets and necklaces to attendees upon entry.

To brand and help market the event on campus, I began conceptualizing the visual identity with the aesthetics of neon lights, signs and glow accessories in mind. Sketching concepts based on neon signs, a coworker shared the idea of capturing the commonly identifiable style and colors of a neon Open sign to convey that we are open to new ideas. I loved this concept as it paralleled with the open sign suggestion an establishment makes when it is open to outside business, but couldn’t refuse the buzzing call of the ubiquitous light bulb symbol. Committed to the challenge of effectively merging the light bulb symbol in a fresh way with the neon Open sign and other typographical elements to work in tandem and read as a single neon sign, I am confident in chalking this one up to a success and branding the event with a single brightly lit neon sign flashing like a beacon, “Bright Idea”.