Dempsey Ewan is a graphic designer living in Brooklyn. In her free time she moonlights as a floral designer and helps run a risograph zine, Big Mess. She enjoys classical works of fiction, fashion history, and fresh, McDonald’s hashbrowns.



St. Ambrose University
St. Ambrose University is a small, Catholic institution in Davenport Iowa. They came to SimpsonScarborough with a request to help broaden perspective students’ awareness. They lacked the verbal and visual tools to effectively communicate who they were, within their own campus and externally.

During our inital discovery, we learned that St. Ambrose was the home of long-time faculty, Edward Catich, a priest, calligrapher, stonecutter, artist, who famously, did important work on the typeface that later became the Trajan Serif. His artwork filled campus and gave a unique midcentury look to the signage and decor of many buildings.

Drawing inspiration from a unique visual precedent, we developed a visual and verbal style that paid homage to their special history while updating it to feel modern and new. 

St. Ambrose University

︎︎︎ Brand Expression
︎︎︎ Identity

Senior Designer

During our team’s on-campus discovery, we conducted interviews with various groups of faculty, staff, stakeholders, and students using custom visual and verbal exercises.

After this visit we compiled our notes and findings and shared them out with our team. Using this data we built an extensive Miro board where we collected further inspiration, shared in-progress work, and orchestrated the flow of tactical expressions for the concept presentation itself.

With such an ownable visual precedent, we created a system for SAU that incorporated Trajan Sans and included a series of modular icons inspired by Father Catich’s artworks. 

This carried the special midcentury feeling of campus through to the visual communication as well.

Created at: SimpsonScarborough
Collaborators: Emily Barriball, Katie Schwendeman, Jason Shough

Thank You