Q&A with Rebecca Rebl, designer of the First-Year Reading Experience book cover

Rebecca Rebl is a Gamecock through and through. As an undergraduate alumna, current graduate student and staff member, Rebl is thrilled to share her story on designing the cover of the First-Year Reading Experience book Biased by Jennifer Eberhardt and what it means to her.

Q: First, tell us a little bit about yourself.

A: I'm a graduate student and employee at UofSC. I work as a graphic designer in Undergraduate Admissions and I'm pursuing my graduate degree in the School of Visual Art and Design. I live in the design world 24/7. After my graduation from undergrad, I was introduced to graphic design. I learned the fundamentals through a combination of reading, luck, trial and error, and took a leap of faith into the design industry.  Fun fact about me: I have won the lottery with my family — my rockstar husband, our fearless 3-year-old daughter and our two lab-mixes. 

Q: What does your background and experience in graphic design look like?

A: Before starting grad school, I was a self-taught designer. Working at UofSC has helped me refine my raw skills and has elevated my attention to detail. It taught me how to work on a team and build trust with my fellow creative producers. Graduate school was the next step in my growth as a designer. It helped me re-learn how to find inspiration from within myself and how to express myself personally.

Q: What was the design inspiration for this project?

A: The foremost element in this design is the lone dark umbrella that stands alone in a sea of light umbrellas. The way the light umbrellas part around the dark umbrella, veering off the designated safe path to avoid it, represents society’s subconscious impulse to alienate people who appear “different.” The words hidden under umbrellas mirror the way we try to hide our implicit biases, but they show themselves regardless of our efforts. Finally, blazing color into a black-and-white world is the title, illuminated in the traditional symbol for aggression and violence — red. Notice, it is also partially hidden under an umbrella, symbolizing society’s hidden anger caused by its own biases.

Q: How long did the cover take to execute? Did you run into any challenges or setbacks?

A: I probably sketched eight to 10 different ideas to represent this book. It is so challenging to summarize an entire book into one piece of art. The next challenge was working with technology to bring it to life. Graphic design is a perfect mix of art and technology — both are crucial to the project and come with their own challenges. My art was there, waiting to be let out. I just had to wrangle the technology into cooperation. After a few drafts and reviews, the Biased cover was finally born.

Q: What does it mean to you to be involved in this project?

A: It is so amazing to know that I’m a presence to the new freshman on campus and have a connection to so many fellow Gamecocks. It still feels surreal. I'm so grateful that I was chosen as this year's First-Year Reading Experience designer. 

Q: What are your next steps/future career goals? 

A: Above all, to keep learning. There's so much more to the design industry than creating art — whether it's learning how to defend a design, negotiate with clients or run a business. Those lessons are scary to learn. But when I’ve got my network of fellow designers here on campus and in Columbia cheering me on, those lessons aren’t so intimidating any more. 

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

A: Create something — anything. Putting your art out in the world is the scariest, yet most liberating and rewarding thing you can do. Be brave, and make something new!

Share this Story! Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about