In Memoriam: Jackson “JZ” Zechnich, BFA Design

a young person with a black ball cap talks on an older style phone with a corded handset

We want to celebrate the life of recent BFA graduate, Jackson “JZ” Zechnich, by featuring some of his work during his time as a design student.

It is with great sadness in our hearts that we must announce the premature passing of Jackson. Jackson came to Western from Portland, Oregon, and became a design major in Fall 2017. In Winter 2020, he was accepted into the BFA sequence, and successfully completed his design degree in June 2021.

Jackson is remembered by the Western Design community as a genuine soul, someone who was effortlessly both gentle and super cool. His work reflected his creative attitude towards life. Jackson was noted by the faculty as having a special talent for pushing the assignment briefs to the limit, and ending up producing innovative and unexpected design solutions that fulfilled their purpose beautifully and expressively. He aimed to create moving and impactful work through storytelling and emotion, and was inspired by zine culture, quirky typography, and analog methods and experimentation.

The Design faculty and students are deeply grateful for having had the privilege of interacting with Jackson during the past four years. His joie de vivre and wisdom are best described in his own words:


“We are always on the clock. As each second goes by, we make choices on how to spend it. Someday the clock will run out and we will have to be satisfied with how we have spent it. It is a constant battle to spend our time with significance—yet not to live too fast. This makes me realize how I would like to govern my life. It makes me realize that, when I create, all of those seconds are well spent.”