Ashwara Pillai, a B.F.A. Design Senior, won the inaugural Travis County “I Voted” sticker contest with a design featuring a bluebonnet in the shape of a checkmark. The new sticker, inspired by her own annual encounters with the Texas state flower while growing up in Austin, will be available at all Travis County voting locations for the November 8, 2022 election.
When asked about her decision to participate in the contest, Pillai said, “Now more than ever, it's important to vote in the November Texas election. Our generation has made so many strides to make change for our future, but it shouldn't all be put on us. We have to keep everyone accountable and vote. There is a lot of tension for this upcoming election, and I'm hoping this sticker provides some ease.”
Associate Professor of Design Carma Gorman sent a note to all design students about the contest this spring and several University of Texas at Austin students entered, including the winners for second and third place. Meredith Bowden, a Design Senior, claimed second place with a design featuring the State of Texas and the phrase “I Voted Y’all." And in third place is Sebastian Trevino, a Sophomore Design student, whose entry included the Austin skyline.
“I thought it was such a rare and amazing opportunity to reach many people through design. Specifically, students in graphic design aren't given many chances to show their work to a large audience, so for the city to give this chance to any college student in Travis County was very enticing,” said Pillai.
The Travis County Elections Department hosted the contest which was open to all students attending college in the county. Entries had to include the phrase “I Voted” and contestants were asked to incorporate themes of voting and elections in Texas or Travis County. A panel of judges selected winners based on criteria of uniqueness, artistry, and connection to the theme.
While getting the vote out is important to the designer, it isn’t her only motivation. “Another very important part of this is representation on my part. Indian women graphic designers are pretty rare, and I hope that if anyone sees my name they realize that there are Indian designers out there and we're making our way,” said Pillai.
Congratulations, Ashwara! We look forward to wearing our Longhorn-designed “I Voted” stickers with extra pride this next voting season.
B.F.A. Design Student
The University of Texas at Austin
Junior, Class of 2023