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News Bites: Graphic Design Class Helps Shape the Spirit of Grand Rapids

Posted May 4, 2015 in StudentFacultyNews BitesGraphic Design

On May 15, a celebration of more than 100 local World War II veterans will become the first major initiative undertaken by the Spirit of Grand Rapids, a new organization that aims to create regional and national awareness of the region’s vitality and viability through marketing and promotion of local heritage, culture, products, services, and events. The high-profile organization, co-founded by Dick and Betsy DeVos, is quickly gaining momentum thanks in large part to collaborations with a number of other local organizations, including KCAD. 

Graphic Design professor John Koziatek’s Branding I class recently embraced the opportunity to help promote the organization and its mission. Through a class-wide logo design competition, the students had the chance to use their talents to help give the Spirit of Grand Rapids a visual identity that showcased the vitality, energy, and essence of the city and its people.

“Our goal for The Spirit of Grand Rapids is to engage the community in ways that honor the past, promote the present, and inspire the future,” said David Byers, Executive Director of the event.

Front row, left to right: 2nd-place winner Brittney Rieck, 1st-place winner Tamara Rosendall, and 3rd-place winner Nicole Hinton
Back row, left to right: Spirit of Grand Rapids Executive Director David A. Byers, Local artist and competition judge Kathleen Mooney, and KCAD Graphic Design instructor John Koziatek (credit: Emily Franklind)

Students were given a design brief that, among other things, asked them to create a logo that captured the Spirit of Grand Rapids’ core brand values of innovation, passion, entrepreneurship, integrity, and ingenuity. Over a two-and-a-half week period, the students designed and refined their logos before submitting them to a panel of judges that included Bill Brennan, general counsel at Bissel, Inc.; Elissa Hillary, executive director of Local First; and Kathleen Mooney, a local artist.

Tamara Rosendall won first place with a clean, functional logo that utilized a script typestyle and an orange color palette to convey ideas of interconnectivity, compassion, and vibrancy.

“In my opinion, the one thing that makes Grand Rapids different from other cities, is its overall commitment to make this a better place to live, learn, work, and play,” Rosendall wrote in her designer’s statement. “In designing the logo for the Spirit of Grand Rapids, I felt that there wasn’t one specific symbol that could tell all of Grand Rapids’ stories in relationship to its past, present, and future. Instead, I wanted to emphasize and focus upon the word “Spirit” in both shape and color.”

Students Brittney Rieck and Nicole Hinton took second and third place, respectively.

A closer look at the winning logo designs, from left to right: 2nd-place winner Brittney Rieck, 1st-place winner Tamara Rosendall, and 3rd-place winner Nicole Hinton (click for full-size) (credit: Emily Franklind)


To learn more about the Spirit of Grand Rapids, click here.