Westwood High School Graduation Program

June 30, 2024

Designed for Westwood High School, Spring 2018, 2019 2020

See the Final Result

Modernize and templatize the graduation program for future generations to use.

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When tasked with this re-design assignment, I had to consider three things:

  1. How do we make a graduation program more modern?
  2. How do we make the program a keepsake for all students?
  3. How can we incorporate the Westwood High School branding and culture into the program?

This led to understanding the failures of the previous programs and how we could incorporate a new design for future years to come. The first step of the design process was identifying the failures of the previous program, and what the task was to assist in aiding a better language of communication and standard of cleanliness in the new program.


  • Enable the design of the grad program to be user friendly and accessible
  • Enable the program to be a keepsake for graduates (make it good design)
  • Templatize the program so future designers and/or staff can make edits and eliminate the guesswork of the design elements
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Some things of note that we wanted to change with the new program and fix from the previous program's design:

We wanted to change the way the program communicated information.

This meant that we needed to come up with a common design language and key that people would understand. In the case of the old graduation program, the key (left image) was confusing, and in most cases, didn't work to convey information. While some icons, such as the "e" and "%" for early graduate and top 10%, respectively, made sense, the rest of the icons made no sense whatsoever. We wanted to develop a way we could communicate this information without relying heavily on a key to memorize information. This also included research modern typefaces and understanding how we could make this design more effective and visually pleasing to communicate this information about the graduates in a modern manner.

We wanted this to be a keepsake for people.

The old program was something that was, for most, discardable. In initial research and discussion among graduates, most said that they didn't keep the program at all, and instead threw it away. It wasn't something that was worth keeping, for most. This meant overhauling the look, feel, and readability of the design.

We wanted this design to be easily accessible for others to use.

I wasn't going to be in high school forever, so we needed to create an InDesign template that people could use, with free or easily accessible fonts that people could access. It also had to be easy for someone to enter information into on a year to year basis, and it would have to be so easy to use, that someone who didn't know what InDesign was could use it.


In the case of the typography, we used Adobe Fonts, a free website for those with an Adobe CC subscription to access a wide variety of fonts for free download. All students and computers at the school had an Adobe license to use Adobe Fonts, so in this case, fonts were widely accessible for everyone, and also made it super easy to sync fonts between computers, rather than having files transferred between different computers for installing.

The research for typography involved first considering what we wanted from the program itself and what we wanted the font to be itself.

We wanted the font to be clean, professional, and to the point. In the case of previous programs (which used Times New Roman), the font was somewhat hard to read for those who had lesser vision (and in this case, since it's a graduation program, the majority of the audience reading this is older adults [parents, seniors, etc]). This meant choosing a sans-serif font that looked well in a small format, and was easy to read and digest.

Macho was settled on for the main paragraphs for it's direct nature of being a sans-serif font, but also for having some curvature and playfulness in some of the typeset. Europa Bold was used for select headings, as it's a very direct and blocked-off font that can convey key information to the viewer in a way that stands out.

During the Westwood rebranding, two fonts were added when the program was being made in 2020--Featured Item and Bookman Old Style. These fonts were utilized in the decorative parts of the program--including the header of the program as well as the order of events.

Macho was used for subheadings and body content

Featured Item and Bookman Old Style were used in-line with the new Westwood High School branding implemented during the 2019-2020 school year

Design System and Communication

We first needed to consider how the program communicated information. The sole role of the program was to tell people of all ages–grandparents, parents and peers–the order of the graduates and if they had any accolations, such as Top 10%, 4.0 GPA, or if they were graduating with an academy.

In the old program, an archaic and basic system of pre-defined keyboard symbols was used to convey this sort of information. Generally, the symbols used, at first glance, wasn't recognizable. This was a point of visual strain for the intended audience, generally involving people glancing up and down at the key and names (and sometimes, loosing their spot in the order of the graduates).

We wanted to work to simplify this system to help reduce visual strain and increase aesthetic. We used simple and self-explanatory icons to help reduce this, and also coordinated it to the school's academy patches.

The icons were updated in 2020 to match the new stoles that Westwood High School issued to allow for greater continuity.


The final programs allowed both modernity and sophistication. It also enabled future generations to use the template and quickly and effortlessly enter data to produce the program faster.

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