Exceptional, Always: Catching Up with Lyric Evans, 2022 Resonance Scholarship Winner - Signal Theory
Portrait of Lyric Evans, 2022 Resonance Scholarship winner, against a geometric background pattern.

As Signal Theory and The BrandLab KC prepare to announce the recipient of the 2023 Resonance Scholarship, Lyric Evans, the 2022 winner, is preparing for the next phase of her journey.

We checked in with Evans to get an update on her studies, plans for the future and views on diversity in marketing and advertising.

Navigating College Life

Evans is finishing her last semester at Kansas City Kansas Community College, where she’s studying studio art. During her time at KCKCC, she interned for Girls on the Run and served as secretary for her art club and her chapter of the American Association of University Women, keeping track of club activities and fundraisers and ensuring participation. 

Now, as she plans her transfer to study illustration and publication design at her dream school, Savannah College of Art and Design, Evans is focused on finding balance.

“I’ve spent so much of my time here hustling and working, and I’m so close to finishing this phase,” Evans said. “I’m just trying to take time to be dedicated to school and manage my time. I just have to remain consistent.”

Evans is also building an online brand portfolio to showcase her artistic style and illustrations.

“I want to be known in the advertising industry for a certain aesthetic or style that can add to a brand and be recognizable among my peers,” she said.

The BrandLab Beginnings

13 BrandLab KC interns pose for a group photo on the steps at Signal Theory’s Kansas City office.

BrandLab KC interns pose for a group photo on the steps at Signal Theory’s Kansas City office.

Evans didn’t always see herself going into marketing and advertising. She got her first taste during a field trip to The BrandLab KC with fellow students at her high school, Sumner Academy of Arts & Science in Kansas City, Kan. As a student in the graphic design pathway, she enjoyed seeing how teams collaborate on projects.

“As a creative, I don’t have to be the face of the idea we’re building up. I like to showcase the work,” she said. “That field trip really helped me see how working with a team allows us to use our strengths and weaknesses and bring them together to bounce ideas off of each other and build on them.”

Evans was also inspired to consider advertising as a career.

“I discovered drawing and illustration is a cool job to be in. But advertising, graphic design, marketing, I felt I could go to higher places and stretch myself to other categories and occupations,” she said. “So I looped back to The BrandLab the following year and applied – all thanks to a simple field trip.”

The BrandLab logoInterning with The BrandLab KC gave Evans the opportunity to work with two Kansas City agencies, including Signal Theory. She worked under an art director and learned a lot, but said she would like to see how design work connects with other creative roles when she returns to Signal Theory for a future internship.

“Photography and copywriting both seem interesting to me,” she said. “I sat right across from a copywriter last time and didn’t ask him any questions, but I hope this time I can break out of my shell and be more open to learning about new fields that I haven’t thought of or heard about before.”

The Resonance Scholarship’s Influence

During Evans’ BrandLab KC internship, her supervisor encouraged her to apply for Signal Theory’s Resonance Scholarship. Evans said winning changed her path.

“It gives me more ambition. For the longest time, after being let down so many times, I thought I would never have enough money to pursue my dreams,” she said. “I thought I would have to keep settling for lesser opportunities. But as soon as they gave the Resonance Scholarship to me I was like, ‘Wow. This is amazing. I really accomplished something.’”

Evans also gained a new sense of confidence. 

“People have always told me I’m extraordinary but not exceptional – that I’m almost there but not quite – and that’s how I’ve always felt,” she said. “But Signal Theory helped me recognize I’m exceptional, always.”

Inspiring Others

Photo portrait of Lyric EvansNow Evans sees herself inspiring others from diverse backgrounds to pursue advertising and marketing careers.

“I’d like to be a role model for other girls who have this talent,” she said.  “I don’t meet a lot of black women artists who are my age.” 

Evans said she, too, has been discouraged from pursuing her dream.

“I’ve always had to stretch myself thin. People have told me, ‘Yeah, you can draw, but you might want to consider another occupation because artists don’t make that much money.’”

But Evans is confident in her chosen path.

“I’m not going to push aside my God-given talent and try to fit myself into something else. I want to be a role model to other young girls and show you can use this creative talent that you have or want to look into, and it can be turned into something great.”

Changing the Face of Marketing and Advertising

“I don’t see many people in the industry that look like me or have the same ideas I have based on my experiences and where I live,” said Evans. “It would be good if there were an ad or a campaign that were just more personal to me, in a sense.”

Evans said most campaigns just don’t resonate with her.

“Sometimes when I look at a TV ad, diversity almost seems forced. Advertisers need to make it more natural and inclusive,” she said. “A lot of businesses didn’t even consider diversity a couple of years ago, but since the George Floyd shooting everyone is hopping on that bandwagon.”

Evans said the advertising and marketing industry needs to find more authentic ways to engage with its audiences. That starts by bringing new voices, like hers, to the table.

“I bring a different perspective that my co-workers wouldn’t relate to or wouldn’t know how to build upon or advertise to,” Evans said. “Sharing my ideas helps make the conversation more well-rounded, leading to that sense of diversity.” 

One company Evans feels is doing it right is Dove through its campaign focusing on the harmful effects of hair discrimination.

“Dove was showing how inclusive they are with a wide range of actors and actresses with different hair, and I thought that was pretty cool,” she said. “They included not just people of color but people not of color as well. It was well-rounded while holding dignity within their product and showing what they stand for.”

“Remain true to yourself and do what you enjoy. Don’t compromise as long as you know you still have something to put on the table.”

Connecting Others

Evans is doing her part to help others from diverse backgrounds make connections in advertising and marketing.

“I don’t like gatekeeping experiences. There are some people I know that want to be involved in this industry, and I know a simple link shared from me can do that,” she said. “My friend group and I try to share those opportunities, whether it’s scholarships, internships – we’re always communicating. It doesn’t hurt to be that type of friend and consider someone even if it won’t work for you.”

As she works this summer on building her personal portfolio in preparation for her next adventure, Evans has this advice for future Resonance Scholarship applicants:

“Remain true to yourself and do what you enjoy. Don’t compromise as long as you know you still have something to put on the table.”

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