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Penn State Student Shares Inspiration Behind THON 2021’s ‘Rise And Unify’ Logo

During the annual 100 Days ‘Til THON celebration, THON revealed its 2021 “Rise And Unify” logo through a virtual livestream.

Penn State student Kimi Mate designed this year’s logo and sat down with Onward State to share the inspiration and process behind the design.

Mate is a sophomore and Stuckeman graphic design major from Glen Rock, New Jersey. The logo started off as an assignment for her studio class but quickly developed into something larger.

A THON representative spoke to her class about THON 2021, and from there, she and her classmates were tasked with designing a logo for the THON committee to choose from.

“I wanted to create a design that showcased the journey THON brings us on,” Mate said. “THON is about uplifting and supporting everyone as they embark their own journey. Together we rise to new heights and accomplish great things.”

Mate, a sophomore graphic design major, said her design took about four weeks to make.

Inspired by the “Rise And Unify” theme, Mate chose an airplane to symbolize rising to new heights. In her mind, the airplane’s passengers are unified on the journey to help support those affected by childhood cancer.

The logo draws on the idea of going on a journey together and experiencing new things on an adventure. Mate chose to keep the logo joyful and lighthearted like the event itself all while still highlighting the unity behind THON as an organization and philanthropy.

During Mate’s design process, she researched THON’s meaning behind the theme and what it means for the children and families that are a part of THON. Additionally, she pulled from her own experience and wanted to capture the excitement and joy of the event.

Mate headed over to the sketch board to get all of her ideas and sentiment on paper. As the designed progressed through discussions with her professor and classmates, she turned it over to a digital design. In total, the process took her four weeks.

Mate said she’s extremely appreciative to have her work displayed on so many different platforms and to have the opportunity to be a part of something so important and inspiring. She was honored to connect her passion for graphic design and THON, two things that have shaped her Penn State career.

“[It’s a] dream come true,” Mate said. “To be a part of this excitement is so special for me.”

Mate looks forward to exploring different possibilities within graphic design and believes it’s a privilege that her work is a part of a student-run philanthropy dedicated to helping the lives of those impacted by childhood cancer.

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About the Author

Aubrey Miller

Aubrey is a second-year Landscape Architecture major and a contributor for Onward State. She is from North Carolina, but can't stand country music. Aubrey is obsessed with her four cats, some would say too obsessed. Feel free to follow her on Instagram @aubreymillerr to see her cat posts.


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