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Davis, California

Saturday, March 2, 2024

ASUCD debuts potential Aggie Card designs for incoming students


Design options to appear on fall ballot

During this fall’s election, UC Davis students will be able to vote for a new AggieCard design. On this quarter’s ballot are four possible designs that students can choose from.

Designed by Melanie Zelaya and Juliana Luna, student staffers under ASUCD senator Alex Lee, all designs feature one or more key parts of the university’s identity. The first three designs feature UC Davis’ mustang mascot, while the fourth design features UC Davis landmarks such as an egghead, a Unitrans bus and the water tower.

All four options also have variations of the university’s blue and gold color palette. Additionally, the back of the card visually separates information using bolded and unbolded text, spacing and other differences, allowing for crucial information to be quickly identified.

Landing on the fall ballot was one of the first major steps for Lee and his staff in ensuring that AggieCards will be available in time for next year’s incoming freshman and transfer class. During their Oct. 13 meeting, senate passed Ballot Measure #1, allowing the designs to be voted on this fall.

This was a critical step for Lee and his team. By voting this quarter, there will be enough time for the card’s production company to manufacture cards for next year. The quick passage of this measure represents a rigid and time-sensitive year-long process, which started before Lee’s induction into office.

The idea of new ID card designs originated from two students: second-year design major Melanie Zelaya and second-year communications major Juliana Luna. Both first-years at the time, the two were heavily dissatisfied with the current Aggie Card. In their perspective, not only did the card fail to be visually appealing, but it was also unable to effectively convey crucial information.

“I came here to UC Davis, a freshman, and I looked at my ID card and they were ugly and there’s certain information on the back that’s important but you don’t even realize it,” Zelaya said.

Luna specified the problems with the design on the back of the card.

“[The back of the card] is a huge block of text and it’s all the same color,” Luna said.

The new cards will be distributed to incoming classes. For current students who are interested in changing their card, they will have to pay for a new card. Additionally, since the university already orders cards regularly, this new design will not raise student tuition.

After both joining Lee’s staff, they began to pursue the idea of changing the card’s design. Between then and now, Zelaya and Luna operated under a strict timeline of designing cards and communicating with the administration.

Luna, Zelaya and Lee first met with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Adela de la Torre. According to Zelaya, the vice chancellor was excited about their initiative and referred them to several helpful contacts.  

“[Torre] liked the fact that we as students came up with an idea and wanted to pursue this,” Zelaya said. “I guess it’s not [common] for students to approach administration and facilitate a project.”


However, collaborating with the administration presented its own challenges. In order for it to be approved by UC Davis, the design needed to coincide with the university’s design standards. Just recently, the university rebranded itself, including a change to its tagline. What was once the “One UC Davis” campaign shifted to a new campaign with a tagline “One of a kind, just like you.” Along with the rebranding came a change in the university’s design standards.

Under that transition, Zelaya and Luna utilized Marketing Toolbox, a free resource offered by the university for individuals interested in how UC Davis relays itself visually and textually. The toolbox was used to ensure all design choices coincided with the university’s creative direction. Zelaya and Luna took into consideration certain factors such as text, font and spacing.

As of now, Lee and his staff are awaiting the results of next week’s voting. However, for Lee, the project does not end there. There will be a process in certifying that new Aggie Cards are official UC Davis identification.

“The process won’t end just at the vote. […A]fter that, we’re going to have to work on the details of how it’ll be implemented then look at the ripple effect,” Lee added. ”For instance, [we need to predict] how different units, like Unitrans, take the change.”

The change will not only apply to incoming undergraduate students. The university’s incoming graduate students will also be receiving newly designed cards as well. For Lee, this is a massive university-wide change, a change that goes beyond updating a card’s appearance.

“If you think about it, [an ID card] is one of the first things you see when you come to Davis […] that really validates you as a student.” Lee said. ”It’s school pride [on] a large level. When you vote on November 9, you’re voting for a bigger [concept] about school spirit and what [students] can identify to.”

Students can vote for their favorite AggieCard design this quarter at elections.asucd.edu. Online voting will be open from Nov. 9 to Nov.11.

Written by: Katrina Manrique – campus@theaggie.org


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