Q&A: Devin Parker, Harrington Design Student & Winner of the Society of Typographic Arts Design Competition

April 8, 2013 Ian Forbes General, Awards & Competitions, Graphic & Comm. Design 2 Comments

Devin Parker Harrington College

We spoke with Devin Parker, a student in the Communication Design program at Harrington College Design, about the inspiration behind his winning design for the Society of Typographic Arts competition, his current internship and plans for life after Harrington.

What was your motivation for entering the Society of Typographic Arts student competition?

They had a Facebook page and a couple of my friends are members of the society, and so I liked their Facebook page. They said they were having a student competition and it was only $10 to enter, so I was immediately turned on. They posted that about a month before the deadline, so I knew I had some time to set aside to design something for it. So I worked about a month on it and then submitted.

How did you go about creating the winning piece - what was the thought behind it, and how did you go about doing it?

The theme was “Typography as Meta-Communication” (see a close-up of the piece above and the full piece below). At first,when I read that I was like, “What’s typography, is that communication?”  So I looked up the definition and for about just a week I just pulled information on the definitions of typography and communication and did word webs from that to just understand what the topic was, what they wanted me to do, and how I could illustrate that. Then I started sketching. I did a lot of sketches and I did a lot of sketches in the computer. I knew I wanted to do something that illustrated the thought of typography and kind of the process of it, because I learned that “meta” means information about the subject that it is, you know?

Devin Parker Harrington College

My conclusion was that I really wanted to show the experience of designing a typographic message. I took all of my typefaces in my computer, which is 2,616, and I put it in a grid for the whole poster from top to bottom to show the catalog of typographic choices that type designers go through before they make a decision so it shows the experience through it, and that’s the first layer.

In the second layer, I took a typeface and just put all the letters of the alphabet and the numbers 1 through 0 on top of each other to show that letter forms work as an individual, they work by themselves, but we don’t read them like that. The message is that it all forms together: When we read a sentence, we just read the whole sentence - we don’t see each letter.

Devin Parker Harrington College

How did you come to decide that communication design was what you wanted to study - or has it always been something you’ve wanted to pursue?

Actually, I had no clue what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to go into art. I went online and looked at design schools and Harrington was one of them. Just checking out what they had, right when I got there, everyone was so nice, the program was so great. That’s what brought me there. Once I saw the Communication Design program, I knew that it was what I wanted to do.

Were you always into art? Where does this artistic leaning come from?

I was always in bands my whole life. I was always designing, I was always drawing; I would design logos for my bands and other bands. I would design posters and flyers and stuff like that, but I never really knew it had a name and you could actually go to college for it. I went to Harrington and saw one of their projects was designing a CD cover and I went “Holy Cow! I can get paid for that. Wow. Sign me up.”  So I fell in love with communication design right from the start. And once I found out that’s what it was, I started making connections to my past, like, “Oh, that’s what I was doing all these years,” so it was fun.

Are there any specific programs, websites or other affiliations that you use to keep pushing yourself further in your field?

I’d say my biggest motivation to keep pushing me to keep learning and to grow is my family and my friends around me. I try to be a really good example for them. I always try to give 150% in whatever I do, whether it’s design or the dishes.

Are you involved with any work-study? 

I’ve been doing an internship for the past three years with a company called Project Osmosis.  I’m a designer there. I design event identities for events that they have. I brand events, create logos, do posters, signage, different things like that.

Once you’ve gone through the Harrington experience, what are you hoping to pursue?

I’d like to join a bigger design firm here in Chicago and continue to do graphic design/design of all forms, print and web. I’d like to get more into web design, keep up with the times as always.

Obviously web design is big right now and technology is pushing it. Is that some of the fascination with it, that this isn’t a field that you learn everything and you’re done, there’s always going to be something to keep you going?

That’s what I love, love, love about communication design. Every client, you’re pushed to learn about that subject and you’re continuing to make new relationships and you’re continually forced to keep up with technology. 

See more of Devin's work at


david parker April 12, 2013 at 09:13 PM

grt job boy. col.3.23 in everything u do do it with all ur heart as unto the Lord! always proud u my son!future so bright! 2 God be the Glory!!!

Patrick Parker April 09, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Hey Dev! Great job brother! You worked extremely hard for everything your whole life, keep it up! Proud of you and the design rocks!

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