Computer class tackles logo contest

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February 6, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Tumbling books, stacks of books, books being read by families — the Iola Public Library will choose between them and more as its Family Reading Festival logo contest comes to a close Feb. 12.
The contest was open to the public, so Anna Catterson, Allen County Community College computer science instructor, assigned creation of the logo to her advanced Photoshop and computer graphics classes.
All told, about 50 student designs will hit library desks next week, added to the dozen or so IPL has already received from local artists.

CATTERSON’S class uses Adobe Illustrator to create their designs.
Each student first created a sheet of sketches before working on the computers. They picked the best elements of two of their designs and merged them, said Taylor McDonald.
Curved lettering, symmetry and books, books, books were on most every screen.
“Each day (Catterson) would teach us new tools to use,” Mindi Lozenski said.
“We’ve gone over static shapes, geometric shapes, organic shapes,” Catterson said. “Logos are supposed to use all the design elements.”
But as Dalwinder Dosanjh noted, “if there’s too much going on in a logo, people get confused.”
Dosanjh has one leg up when it comes to design.
“I used to do Web design,” he said.
His advice? “Keep it simple, with one picture and text.”

MOST OF his classmates seem to agree, coming up with simple geometric designs. Finessing those designs can be all-consuming, Catterson said.
“Once you get yourself a project, you find you’re never finished.”
Still, she said, the class is doing well.
“A lot of these students are freshmen. A lot don’t have any design skills whatsoever.” Yet, she said, “some of the beginners are actually better than my advanced class.”
About half the class had never used MacIntosh computers before, either, so “you’re not only learning a new program, you’re learning a new platform,” Catterson said.
The students used two basic design styles to create logos for the library: freehand drawing and computer imagery.
Some used writing tablets — computers where drawing is done with an electronic pencil that makes lines only on the screen.
Janell Robinson, who calls herself an artist, prefers it to straight computer graphics. So does Taylor Smith.
“I personally, would rather make my own” design than pull clip art off the screen, Smith said.
But preference is personal.
Others, who claimed no innate creative ability, found putting together geometric shapes a better fit.
“This is definitely easier than drawing a picture,” Tomas Del Castillo Hoppough said.
Whatever their opinion, the result is win-win: students get real world design experience, and the library gets a slew of creative designs to choose from.
“I think it’s fun,” Savana VanVleck said of the project. “I think it’s cool that we get to work on something with the community. You get to do something for somebody — and it’s a real life application while learning.”
“I hope the library will be pleased,” Catterson added. From the creativity expressed on screen, that shouldn’t be a problem.

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