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Designs by ASU alumni on display for Hispanic Heritage Month

ASU football helmet on football field spray painted with Mayan designs
September 29, 2022

Three Arizona State University alumni had their designs featured by Sun Devil Athletics and Sun Devil Campus Stores in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month this year.

The alumni — Michael Torres, Justin Gilbert and Ivan Delvasto — collaborated with ASU communicatorsLindsay Kinkade, senior director of creative and Enterprise Brand Strategy and Management, and her marketing team won a Circle of Excellence, CASE award for the project. , Trademark and Licensing, and Los DiablosThe Latino chapter of the ASU Alumni Association to create the designs, which were featured during the Sept. 24 ASU football game against the Utah Utes both on the field and on Sun Devil merchandise.

Prior to the game, the designers visited Sparky’s Stadium Shop and the numerous pop-up shops where their designs were printed on T-shirts. One had an "El Sol" design created by Torres, and the other had a “Forks up, Los Diablos” design on the front that was created by Delvasto with Gilbert’s “Diablo’s Tail” design on the back.

At the game, the corners of the football field were painted with Mayan-inspired patterns created by Gilbert that came from his “Diablo’s Tail” design, while Delvasto’s “Forks up” design could be seen underneath the field goal in front of the Inferno student section.

Torres and Gilbert also had a private box for the game where they got a birds-eye view of their work, painted by Ground Manager Josh Lenz.

“We’re representing our culture in a way where a lot of people don't get a lot of recognition,” said Torres, whose logo was inspired by memories of the artwork and figurines he saw around his mom's and grandparents' house growing up.

Torres, who works as a digital designer at an inflatable pool company, said his visual communication design degree taught him essential graphic design skills that carry over into his career. He emphasized how the support from his family led him to his success. 

“(My grandfather) literally put me through school and took care of me, like my grandma did,” Gilbert said. “And when I said I dedicated that graphic to them and my mom, those are the main people in my life that had a very, very good, profound, proud impact on me. And you know, without them I don't think I would be here, to be honest.”

Gilbert, who had difficulty finding a job post-graduation due to the pandemic, decided to create his own company, Kuvua Design, which helps Native American-owned businesses create brand identities. He identifies as Hispanic, Italian and Native American.

Gilbert said he recalled the stories his family told him about Mexico and decided to incorporate Mayan hieroglyphics in his design as a way to link his culture to the project.

“I think Hispanic culture ranges a wide variety of different cultures,” Gilbert said. “I thought about the Mayans and seeing like, how can I portray that, and I figured like the glyphs would be something that was ... important as far as Hispanic culture.”

Delvasto used his Colombian heritage as inspiration for his design. He teaches courses in the visual communications program at Northern Arizona University, where he focuses in editorial photography and design. 

Torres said he's excited to leave his mark at ASU.

“To be a part of something and then realize, 'Oh my God, it's part of ASU’s history now.' I'm being recognized for something that I'm a part of,” he said.

“I'm leaving a little legacy behind at the school. And no matter what, I can tell my friends, my family about it and say that if I can do it, you can do it.”

The Hispanic Heritage Month merchandise is still available at the ASU bookstore. A portion of the earnings from the merchandise sales will go toward ASU cultural initiatives.  

Top photo by Pete Vander Stoep

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