University of Pennsylvania: The College of Arts & Sciences

When The College of Arts and Sciences at University of Pennsylvania was looking to update their student brochure and materials for prospective students, we were glad to lend a hand. We worked with the art direction of Eastern Standard, who wanted the imagery to reinforce the sense of pride students have at the institution. We were guided by the themes of “Education for a Lifetime,” referencing how learning at Penn will stay with them forever, and “Make It Your Own,” referring to Penn’s flexible curriculum.

All talent were actual students and faculty, so our small creative team (an assistant, two Penn staff, and myself) had to work within ideal times in terms of student schedules and also keep in mind how the ambient light affected buildings. After scouting more than a month prior to the shoot, we were ready for our shoot days, only to encounter some unexpected difficulties. Because graduation was approaching, tents were now set up all over campus – seriously, everywhere. For our outdoor shots, it didn’t bode well as we were forced to alter our planned angles. In situations like these, preparedness and experience are key. Thankfully, we were able to quickly shift some elements around and still able to show desired buildings and elements on campus, while avoiding graduation setups.

Our client and the design team were overjoyed with the pictures. One of their senior designers had this to say:

Working with Dave was great!

He was able to accurately capture both the cropping and emotion we wanted through his photography. It was obvious he paid careful attention to the notes provided, and in many cases we found that he improved on our original ideas for shots. The assets we received were production-ready, with no additional work needed to be dropped into the brochure.

Highly recommend!

-Brian Huddleston – Senior Designer, Eastern Standard

Here are some of the original delivered images. As you can see, plenty of room for copy was left for flexibility in layout for the designers. Ultimately, many of the images were cropped into and/or flipped. You can see some of the final spreads further below.

UPenn student discusses his major and education in the library
The client originally wanted to show the reflection of the city skyline to showcase Philadelphia, so we had to wait for a time of day when the sun was hitting the Philly skyline in the reflection and also Van Pelt library in an ideal way. Ultimately, the photo was cropped in (see further below).
Penn student and advisor discuss materials in a hallway at Levin Hall
We had to shoot this lifestyle photograph at this time of day due to the beautiful way the light flooded the hallway at Levin Hall.

UPenn students relax on the quad at Penn
We wanted to show some of the classic architecture on campus and show the myriad of green spaces at Penn. Unfortunately, our planned angle was a no-go. We managed to sandwich our talent on this small patch of grass and had to get creative with our angle to avoid the never-ending stream of tents. There were [graduation] tents lining the quad immediately to the left of frame, and a building about a foot to our right.
Here are some of the final spreads for the brochure:

Penn students talk outside a building
This image ended up as the back and front cover of the brochure (left side: back, right side: front cover). Fun fact: the students walking in the background are the same as the ones in the foreground.
Penn Student and Advisor discuss material in Levin Hall
A Penn student discusses opportunities with her advisor in the hallway – College of Arts and Science
Penn student stands in front of LOVE statue
Student stands in front of the LOVE statue at UPenn – Education for a Lifetime. We had to work around the many students that were taking graduation pictures in front of the statue.
Penn student works in lab with a petri dish
Penn student using a petri dish while conducting an experiment in the lab.
UPenn student discusses his education
University of Pennsylvania student meets with his advisor to discuss resources at school.
Penn students relax outside on the quad
Penn students relaxing outside on the quad in between classes. This image was flipped and cropped for the brochure usage (see original image above).
Penn student handles ancient artifact
A University of Pennsylvania student examines an ancient artifact.
UPenn student discusses educational experiences in Biology and Spanish
UPenn College of Arts and Science student discusses his education and major at school.
University of Pennsylvania student explores the Penn Museum
Penn student explores the Penn Musem – Egypt exhibit


Philadelphia Branding Agency Eastern Standard worked on the design of the brochure and new website and provided overall art direction through the process. You can read their case study here.

Because we wanted to use authentic stories to weave those messages throughout the viewbook, we commissioned one of our esteemed photography vendors to conduct a photo shoot to capture imagery of current Penn CAS students in action. Providing art direction throughout this process, we conveyed the team’s vision, suggested photo edits to ensure that the images conveyed uplifting feelings of optimism and hope, and oversaw the final results. In the end, we were able to incorporate the photos on a large scale with a nice rhythm throughout each spread, and included personal quotes to lend an additional element of personalization to the project. – Eastern Standard Case Study

And here’s what our client at Penn had to say:

We knew we wanted to take the approach of storytelling – real stories coupled with photographs of actual students to convey a genuine and relatable message. This photo-rich approach required we go beyond our usual stable of in-house photographers. It also put us a little bit out of our comfort zone in defining what we were asking for. Dave really took the time with us to explain the process and help bring the concept together. This evolved into a true collaborative relationship from initial development to scouting locations to the photo shoot itself, and finally the delivery of some really gorgeous photographs.  Dave took a complex assignment with multiple locations, personalities and time limitations, and made it feel effortless (and fun)! We are very happy with the final product and the experience.

It was great to work with both University of Pennsylvania and Eastern Standard on this project, and the results of everyone’s teamwork resulted in beautiful brochure and materials.

Dave Moser

Philadelphia Photographer Dave Moser is a commercial and editorial photographer who specializes in advertising, portrait, and corporate photography. To see more of Dave's work, visit

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