Thanks Day

University of Texas at Austin

UT Thanks Day is an annual celebration, hosted by the Donor Relations Team, honoring donors who create opportunities for UT students. The goal is to encourage as many students as possible to come out to help say, "Thank you" to the UT donors as part of stewarding their gifts. This attitude of gratitude helps with donor retention.


CASE District IV
Gold Award for Design - Special Pieces


CASE District IV
Silver Award for Stewardship


CASE Circle of Excellence
Silver Award for Stewardship

project scope

brand identity

event materials

video production


brand identity


original branding

The original look included the University of Texas Tower, which has served as the University’s most distinguishing landmark for years. Client liked this graphic identity that they had previously used, but wished it to be a bit more “humanized.”


updated branding

I updated the color scheme to be more bold and match the university's latest branding guidelines. This gave a much more bold look with plenty of contrast to make the elements pop.

I agreed that they already had a strong look, but felt the tower - and corresponding campus buildings - should be a secondary brand, not the primary identity.

Having years of experience in higher education, I have always felt that a school's mascot should be one of - if not the most - visible figure on a college campus. Presidents, athletic directors, and coaches come and go, but a mascot is typically there to stay. Students and alumni particularly have a strong affinity for their school's mascot.

Enter Hook 'Em, the mascot for the University of Texas at Austin. Easily one of the more nationally recognized mascots, he was perfect.

I created several versions of Hook 'Em in different poses, which were used for various materials (noted later). I decided the primary look would be Hook 'Em throwing up the famous "Hook 'em horns" hand gesture.

event materials


field guide

The purpose of the Thanks Day Field Guide was to provide details to table staff/volunteers about how to run their table:

  • What they should have at the table

  • How to walk a student through the process

  • Common questions from students

  • How to process the thank you messages once completed




thank you card

Thank you cards were provided to students upon arrival to the table. There was a general message at the top, but the bottom of the card allowed students to craft a specific message. Each student was given a name so they could personally address the donor to whom they were writing.


event tent banner


other table materials

Stickers, pens, t-shirts, table signs, and placemats


social media files

Digital images were provided to help spread the word about Thanks Day on social media.


video production

In addition to the various print materials, I was tasked with developing two videos for the project. Seeing as I reside outside Charlotte, NC and not in Austin, TX, it was more efficient - both from a time and budget perspective - to have a local Austin videographer film the interviews. I provided some direction/suggestions on the preferred footage and questions to ask and then completed all the post-production work: touching up the footage, selecting audio tracks, and stitching together the final products.


info video

The first video was simply an informational video to promote Thanks Day to the UT students. The goal was to encourage as many students as possible to come out on Thanks Day to help say, "Thank you" to the UT donors.

We wanted to drive home the importance of the why students should come out without dragging it out, so we focused on the quick facts and gave it a rapid-fire pace to keep the viewer's attention.

Since this event is all about student saying, "Thank you," I wanted to focus on the students talking to their peers, but also wanted to add a little more credibility behind it, so adding President Fenves at the end made the event feel more official.

impact video

In contrast to the info video, the second video was crafted directly for donors.

UT's motto is "What starts here changes the world." The message of this video was to show gratitude to the donors and give a glimpse into the various ways donor gifts can make a big difference in the education - and lives - of various students, which could change the world. We wanted to drive home that the gifts directly benefit the students and don't simply go to unknown, unseen administrative costs.

Though the two videos went to different audiences, I wanted to give this video a similar pace to the first (though not quite as rapid-fire), so I again chose an upbeat track and focused on the quick messages from each student, bouncing back and forth to help keep the viewer's attention.