An artist is hard at work in her studio, sketching her latest creation.
Another sits by the window of a sunny coffee shop, typing away at his computer. EDM music builds in the background as other artists take pictures and draw on their tablets.
With its minimalist font and use of dramatic lighting, these scenes wouldn’t be out of place in an Apple commercial.
At least, that’s what senior Jack Kersey wants you to believe.
This is a commercial for Birrama Creative, a student group devoted to marketing, branding and advertising events on and off-campus. Launched as a rebrand of the Taylor Student Organization’s design and marketing team (DMT), Kersey said the group’s goal is to build excitement for their clients’ events.
“Let’s say if Airband happens but then all the advertising surrounding Airband is little to none, (or) it doesn’t exist, or it’s just awful,” he said. “People are still going to go and it’s still going to be a good time, but the hype and the buildup to (Airband) and the overall atmosphere is going to be depleted. Whereas if it’s something really professional and really, really high class, people are going to see that and say, ‘Whoa, that looks sick for Airband.’”
Kersey is a film major who creates video content for Birrama. He has been with the team for two years, making videos like the rebrand commercial.
But Birrama isn’t limited to videos. They are responsible for many of the posters found on campus, advertising events such as intramurals and Fabrica, a student-run fashion show. Their work can be found on the walls of the Student Center, on social media and even on T-shirts.
Birrama was the vision of former president Liam Brettenny (’21), who saw a need to give the DMT a new identity.
“No one knew who we were … (the DMT) was like a weird thing in the background that produced great work, but no one knew where it was coming from,” Brettenny said.
He reimagined the DMT as a place where art students could gather to make high-quality work and be taken seriously for it.
Brettenny said that the name “Birrama” is really a combination of two words – “birr”, a word with Old English roots meaning “a force, energy or vigor,” and “rama,” split from the word “panorama,” which means “spectacular display.”
Smashing these two words together gives us “Birrama”, which means, “The power of seeing things that others do not to create something visually spectacular,” Brettenny said.
Kersey said the biggest change to the team under the rebrand was an expanded clientele.
“Before (the rebrand), all of our work was restricted just to Taylor, for other cabinets and the TSO and all the events that happen on campus,” said Kersey. “Now we can do different work for clients outside of TSO, whether that’s for departments here at Taylor or clients outside of Taylor.”
To announce the rebrand, Brettenny worked with Kersey on the Apple-style commercial. The duo began filming the 2 minute, 33 second ad at the end of January in time for Airband in March.
Kersey finished editing the video an hour before the show started.
He said the promo was his favorite project despite the time crunch. While the video advertises Birrama’s services, it also features some recognizable Taylor locations, such as a cameo from the Modelle Metcalf Visual Arts Center.
Kersey, who is used to working solo on film projects, also enjoys the support of fellow creative team members.
“Just being able to be with other creatives in the group … it’s nice that you have someone who can relate to you on the same level,” he said.
Of the many jobs on Birrama’s team, graphic design may be one of the most prominent. Senior Avery Anderson is one of these designers, creating unique fonts and color schemes for projects like the “Meet the Prez” posters.
While most kids want to be doctors or firefighters when they grow up, as a child, Anderson wanted to be a graphic designer.
“My mom was a counselor at my elementary school, so she talked to me about career possibilities back when I was younger, and she told me about being a graphic designer,” Anderson said. “I had no idea what that was, but I thought, ‘I like computers, and I like art, so maybe this is something I would want to do when I grow up.’”
She was hired on the Birrama team to work on Collide, a magazine published by the Integration of Faith and Culture (IFC). The group’s president, junior Audrey Masters, knew Anderson from their work together on The Echo and recognized her skills of layout and design.
Anderson encouraged underclassmen graphic designers to take all the opportunities they can get, including designing wing gear and working for The Echo.
“I know it’s scary to be an underclassman and feel like there’s so many other designers out there who can do a better job than you, but really, that may be you one day,” Anderson said.