Kenneth Gragson ’16, the designer behind the Cheez-It Bowl logo, credits TCU’s unique graphic design program for preparing him for the big game
TCU’s Department of Graphic Design prides itself of career readiness. In fact, nearly 100% of its BFA graduates are employed at or before graduation. Paired with an emphasis on real-world experience in the form of internships and other hands-on projects, students of the program are well prepared for a variety of careers.
Recent alumnus Kenneth Gragson is an art director at Haygarth in Chicago, IL, and the designer behind the Cheez-It Bowl logo – the newest sponsor within the Fiesta Bowl family, replacing the Cactus Bowl this year. As the Horned Frogs prepare to take on the University of California, Berkley Golden Bears on December 26, Ken reflects on how TCU helped prepare him for this big opportunity.
How did you end up designing the Cheez-It Bowl logo?
Kellogg’s is one of our big clients here in Chicago. We were pumped to find out that Cheez-It was going to be the new sponsor of the former Cactus Bowl. All the Haygarth designers came together and made some really awesome lockups. I created an option that combined Cheez-It and Arizona that I thought would make a pretty cool bowl logo. The client thought the same, and now it’s the Cheez-It Bowl logo.
Why did you choose to attend TCU?
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, and near the end of high-school I wanted to experience a new city. After visiting a handful of places, I fell in love with TCU, Fort Worth and Texas. TCU had great sports teams, solid academics and some fun parties.
How did your TCU experience prepare you for your career?
The graphic design program does a fantastic job prepping students for the real world. I learned a ton from all my professors, but Bill Galyean’s class hooked me. That class was when I knew I wanted to major in graphic design. My parents weren’t too happy about the decision at the time, but now they think what I do is more interesting than their jobs.
My internships during college were crucial for my career. My first one was with Andrew Yañez at PytchBlack. I was creating designs for the Armed Forces Bowl and I learned a TON. It’s incredible that I started my career working on a bowl game at the [Amon G. Carter] stadium. It’s really crazy that I’m going to watch the Frogs play a bowl game where I created the logo. It’s a full circle moment.