BFA Senior Thesis

Thesis Statement —
Years after I gave up on the work that went into upkeep and painting my long natural nails, I discovered I could order fake plastic nails on Amazon, cut them to my desired length, and paint them off of my nails, saving myself the hours I would typically spend painstakingly trying not to smudge wet polish. The ability to paint the nails off my nails gave me the freedom to dive deeper into nail art. Over the past year and a half, nails have become a more and more prominent part of my identity, in the way other people see me and the way I see myself.
Through my thesis, I want to find a space to exist between nail art and design, a sweet spot where neither overpowers the other. Fake nails are historically an ornament worn by women so I think there’s a valuable opportunity to use nails as a vessel for informing people about the often-forgotten women in graphic design history. With this goal, I’ve created a series of nail sets inspired by these women, as well as a poster with further information to better tell these women’s stories. When I set out to begin this project I quickly found how difficult it is to find information about women designers. Through my thesis, I’ve made nails that not only look great being worn but also allow these women to receive important recognition.


For this project I created 6 sets of nails inspired by the work of 6 women designers. With each set I deeply considered the important visual elements of the original work and how to transfer them onto a nail while still maintaining the integrity of nail art as a medium. The final nail sets come in packaging depicting their original work on the outside of the box and a quote by the designer behind the set of nails.

Research —

The research aspect of this project was really important. I made sure that I chose a range of designers from different backgrounds. A vital resource was Baseline Shift by Briar Levit. After I narrowed down my search to these 6 women, I started to compile the information into these 8.5x11 sheets. The sheets were completely for myself to organize the information. I used them to select the piece I would eventually create the nail sets off of, as well as show the designers’ other work to contextualize the pieces I chose.  The information on the sheets eventually made it into my thesis book.


Final Nail Sets

In addition to my thesis book, I also created this A1 poster to provide context and background information for the sets of nails. 

Since completing this project in May, I transfered the skills I learned around painting press-ons as well as the visual identity I developed, to launch a press-on nail business under the same name!