2024 UNI graduate leaves her mark on campus in a unique way

2024 UNI graduate leaves her mark on campus in a unique way

Jacy Werning /
Kaina Geetings on UNI campus

Each student at the University of Northern Iowa leaves their mark on campus in one way or another, and spring 2024 graduate, Kaina Geetings embodies this tradition wholeheartedly. As the creator of the new custom UNI spirit and spirit script fonts, her mark can be seen from the Alumni Magazine, to the campus TC statue.

Kaina Geetings posing with statue of TC

During her time at UNI, Kaina could often be found doodling, writing or drawing on her iPad, but she explored her creativity well before her time here. “I have always been just super creative, ever since I was little. And when I came to college, I kind of started exploring digital design,” she said. 

This creative side is what led Kaina to her most recent adventure, handwriting fonts that are currently in use by the University of Northern Iowa. 

“I love that I got to work on this project, it was really special. I get to leave part of who I am at UNI for them to use. I really enjoyed getting to know the team here and the office that I worked in for a while,” remarked Kaina in reference to the project. 

Sam Schmiesing, a senior graphic designer at UNI noticed Kaina and her beautiful handwriting through a request received at the marketing office.

"Go Panthers" written in spirit font

“I had the request for a promo item come through, and it was a very cute little athletic logo pin that Kaina had designed,” said Schmiesing. “After I saw it, I thought to myself, ‘I wish I could do that, how do we get something like that over here.’”

As Schmiesing learned more about Geetings and her artwork, she also started to envision how the fonts could enhance the university's branding strategies.

The first official project for Geetings was designing hand lettering (soon to be the font) for the cover of the 2024 Alumni Magazine. The magazine had a photo of the Campanile, adorned by lyrics to the UNI fight song handwritten by Kaina. 

Creating a typeface takes time, repetition and critique. This process spanned out over the course of nearly nine months, but after seeing the success of the magazine cover, Schmiesing knew that officially hiring Kaina to create a font for UNI was a great idea. 

Creating a font that can be used by anyone with a keyboard involves measurement, understanding of line and width, and even a little math.

Variations of UNI spirit font

Kaina Geetings poses with Alumni Magazine with cover using her custom font

“For me, it was kind of challenging figuring out how to make the individual letters because usually I just naturally go and draw something,” Kaina said. “It's very natural to me to just write, but I had to actually figure out how I wanted the font to look, and then I had to create a design for each letter individually.”

Collaborators learned a new skill through this process. “It's been a really good process and really challenging for me to kind of dissect what a word is, and then each individual letter is. I would say definitely I am more knowledgeable now in typography, things like line height and width, and just really analyzing a single letter,” said Geetings. 

Woman wearing UNI t-shirt with custom spirit font

Now that the fonts are in their final stages, ready to be published and used by UNI, Geetings has been reflecting over what the opportunity really brought to her. 

“I think since doing this font project now with UNI, I would love to make my own font too, for myself and my personal brand,” said Kaina. She currently uses her creative Instagram page to highlight school projects, but she hopes to transition it to a business in the future. 

The Pella, Iowa, native graduated from UNI in 2024 with a degree in interactive digital studies and a graphic technologies minor. 

Geetings knows that the opportunity to leave her mark on campus in this way brought her countless skills, relationships and memories. She will be seen, in the form of a font, around campus for years to come.