During the Commencement Ceremony of the Class of 2019, we saw students with designed caps of various quotes and diagrams depicting their 4 years experience at the institution.
Since then, the tradition of designing graduation caps and gowns has grown.
If you were wondering who the creative genius was, then your search is over.
Kuulpeeps had the opportunity of asking Benedicta Gokah why she started this tradition at Ashesi, and what her inspiration was.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Benedicta Gokah: Anybody who knows me, knows and knows me well. I am comfortable in the arts and design space that hasn’t changed since I was little because my dad was an artist, I grew up looking and appreciating art and then going to school to study art and design. Coming to Ashesi doing Management Information Systems, which was great because I like to sponge a lot of information. Diverse forms of information. And through the design course which was an aha moment for me because I realised that was what I wanted to do. After that, doubling more in the design space, and now coming back to the art space with what I’m currently doing. It’s pretty much me being a 360 designer essentially what that means is, taking design as a field or a branch and then trying to touchpoints with all the aspects that fall under design. So interior design, branding, customer experience because I’ve done a couple of that. I’ve done design facilitation. I’ve done a lot of designs in the design space. So I am a 360 designer and an artist.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: What was your inspiration in deciding to design graduation caps and gowns
Benedicta Gokah: It was basically me finishing 4 years of bachelors BSC and realizing that ok, this is all well and good and great. So, what next for me? It’s graduation. And I tend to have a little bit of extraness to my personality. Everybody is going to look the same. Everybody is going to wear the same gown. Everybody is going to wear the same cap. How can I put a little bit of extra in there? That was one of the reasons. And so I was like… okay, fine. My cap. That is great. Okay fine. Can I do this? So I even asked Salomey, the retired Assistant Dean, Student & Community Affairs of Ashesi University, if I could do this. I just went ahead and did it. And I posted the picture of what I did to my cap unto my class group page and it just exploded. People said, “Oh, can you do the same thing for me?” ” Oh do the same thing for me, but I want this design.”
So it was basically me knowing that I didn’t want to look the same as everybody else on graduation day. I wanted a little bit of extraness to my graduation, and at the same time, I wanted a particular story to be told. Maybe of what my 4 years in Ashesi had been like in Ashesi and that was really important. For me, I feel like everybody’s story within the 4 years is different. But we’re all going to look the same way on graduation day and pick the same certificates. How do I tell the world what I am either anticipating after graduation or what my 4 years have been like?
And that is what I tell everybody who wants to have their cap designed and don’t know what to do. Tell us what 4 years of Ashesi meant to you or what your expectations are. Because if you realize, my graduation cap originally had, “The adventure begins”. That was symbolic of what I was hoping my years after college would look like. And I feel like, it actually lived up to that. It’s almost like you’re testifying into what you want your years would look like after school for me. And it was great.
Some caps Benedicta designed for her year group mates for Commencement 2016.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: What’s the weirdest and funniest design you’ve done on a cap?
Benedicta Gokah: Weirdest and funniest? That’s very hard to pick one that was weird and funny. I think in the first year, Nana Yaw Akonor’s will probably be the weirdest and funny for me. because he had summa cum laude check, something check, and the last one was world domination, and he had the creepy guy with his finger. That was weird and funny at the same time for me. I feel like that would cut it. On a normal day, you have people who want to say something poetic, something inspirational. I think over the course of the year, that has been the weirdest and funniest one for me. every time somebody looks at it, they laugh. They’ll be like ha.
Since then, Benedicta has been designing caps for students in other institutions across Ghana. Below are more graduation caps Benedicta has designed.