Get Back to What Matters

Merit Award 2015

Get Back to What Matters was an outcome of Cassie Hester’s thesis research for her MFA in Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The semantic elements of Get Back to What Matters evoke a simpler time, when drawing and being creative was a source of delight. Placed in the high-stress environment of the university’s design department in the midst of the last few weeks of the semester, the fleeting crayon installation was a reminder to students to get back to what matters: making with your hands, interacting with others, and exercising your imagination.

Installed guerilla-style in the middle of the night, the crayon letterforms were placed without instructions. Through handling and smelling the letterforms, residents of the hallway discovered their purpose. Participants often worked collaboratively. People drew together, responding to the contributions of others.

Jury Comments: 

“What matters is being able to engage your imagination and express yourself without the aid of technology. The project resonated in its overt reference to the lost notion of slowness and individuality.”

“I like the experimentation with materials: transforming the everyday crayon into something that has direct appeal to the design student audience. The fact that the title becomes the tool is great. It's a fun idea that could have been taken much further—in scale, in location, in audience, and so on. Let's see Phase 2.”

“Get Back to What Matters remind us of the value of simple ideas. It makes use of a strong concept, it feels fresh, and it is nicely executed. All the elements of this analog interactive installation seem nicely integrated. What initially seems like a sign or billboard becomes a playful installation.”

Design Firm: 

Cassie Hester


Virginia Commonwealth University

Location City: 


Project Area: 

60 sq ft

Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Cassie Hester

Design Team: 

Cassie Hester


Roy McKelvey, Sandra Wheeler, and Rab McClure (thesis committee)



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