During the fall semester, students in the MECA&D Graphic Design course Visual Identity Systems designed a new logo for King Middle School, an EL Education Mentor School based in Portland, ME. The class, which was co-taught by Visiting Assistant Professor Samantha Haedrich and Professor Mark Jamra, was comprised of sophomores, juniors, and seniors, who collaborated on the project.
The group of 23 students met with King Middle School Principal Caitlin LeClair, Teaching Strategist Peter Hill, and Community Coordinator Nancy Berrang during the process to learn about the school’s mission and the EL Education model. The class also visited the school, and had the opportunity to interact with teachers and students in the classroom.
Nancy Berrang and her team approached MECA&D with the project, she said, because “King is in a renewed time period of innovation and we needed an image to accompany King along its journey of continuous improvement. The students and faculty at the Maine College of Art & Design have the local perspective on the Portland community and the skills and imagination that we were looking for to capture the essence of King in a logo.”
After completing their research, each student had the chance to present two concepts. The class then formed groups which refined six of the designs and explored how the logo would translate to applications such as a school banner, gear, and both print and digital communication materials.
The selected design was initially created by sophomore Elias Parsons. It features a capital letter K, comprised of three shades of green that represent the school’s three grades and its focus on environmental issues within the curriculum. It is encircled by a classic ribbon shape that captures the professional academic environment in which King prides itself. Principal Caitlin LeClair said the logo was the right choice, because, “It's a great design that is relatable to everyone in our diverse community, and we love the possibilities for applications, given its graphic appeal, simplicity, and scalability.”
Elias worked with fellow students Kristina Curtis, Paige Leonas, Ozlenen Ozbicerler, and Megan Young to create the final design. He said of the experience, “From start to finish, working with King Middle School gave me an opportunity to learn about designer-client interaction on a much more substantial level than typical schoolwork. It was really exciting for me to gain this experience and I'm very fortunate to have had this opportunity so early on at MECA&D.”