By Melanie Brusseler | Collegian Staff Writer
“Imagination,” “playfulness” and most importantly, “Empower the Dreamers” are the words Penn State graphic design student Kailyn Moore hoped to capture as she designed the 2015 Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon logo.
Each year, for almost 20 years, students within the graphic design program have been involved in giving what graphic design professor Kristin Sommese said is a “a visual voice” to THON, in an effort to turn what used to be a collection of voices speaking about their organizations into a single cohesive identity system.
“We tried to help them make that something people would recognize throughout campus and internationally,” Sommese said.
From there a partnership between THON and the Penn State Graphic Design program formed.
With each year, and each new THON theme, seniors in the graphic design program must design potential logos as part of their curriculum. These are then presented, along with descriptions, to the THON executive committee to vote on.
It was announced this Sunday during the THON 2015 Family Carnival that Moore’s design, which features a child painting the night sky, had been chosen to represent this year’s theme “Empower the Dreamers.”
Moore (senior-graphic design) said her goal in designing the logo was to make it look like it could appear “straight from a child’s dream.”
“I remember always drawing and painting my dreams on paper when I was a child,” Moore said. “And that specifically inspired this concept of making our dreams come to life.”
Although she submitted three logos to the THON executive board, Moore said the one that was ultimately chosen was the product of the first image that came to mind after learning this year’s theme.
From that initial idea, Moore chose to incorporate such elements as the night sky, which she said is the universal symbol for dreaming. For this image Moore said she chose a color scheme based on purple and light blue — colors she considers relatively gender-neutral.
Within the logo there is a hidden double image, which Moore said many don’t notice at first glance. The child in the logo paints the face of the moon, and along with it another child’s silhouette, with the paintbrush in his hand forming the eye.
This double image serves as an example of simultaneity, Sommese said, which is a design technique sometimes used to transfer deeper messages. This double image and use of simultaneity was a way to add further meaning to the logo, Moore said, as it represents that THON is not just about THON children, but all children affected by the battle against pediatric cancer.
“That symbol of that child being in his painting represents the fact that this is about THON and all children past, present and future, and what that empowers us too,” Moore said.
Moore said she began the process of designing the logo by brainstorming ideas, sketching them out and crafting them digitally in Adobe Illustrator, which is the main tool used by the graphic design department to make its students’ ideas come to life.
Graphic design at Penn State, which is based out of a large studio in Borland Building, affectionately named “Borlandia” by students in the program, often works behind the scenes to contribute to events and programs around campus.
“Our class has also designed the homecoming logos and Movin’ On logos every year,” Moore said. “I think we do a lot of work for the university but a lot of people don’t really know that our program is responsible for that stuff.”
Although Moore said she was “incredibly shocked” when she found out her logo had been chosen to represent THON 2015, her work has been chosen to represent other large events around campus, including Homecoming 2014.
In the case of Homecoming 2014, Moore’s design was chosen because, much like her THON logo, it best embodied the theme of the event, and for her unique vision Brandon Rittenhouse, the executive director of Homecoming 2015, said.
“We liked her logo so much because it was so different from anything we had seen prior,” Rittenhouse (junior-graphic design) said. “She approaches the problem of designing a logo a bit differently, making her designs incredibly beautiful and something we haven’t seen in a while.”
As THON weekend looms closer, and the logo becomes more visible on campus after the THON merchandise sale, Moore hopes her work will come to represent the accomplishments of everyone involved in THON.
“I mainly hope that people think it captures the theme and look to it after THON weekend is over this year as something that represents everything we have achieved,” Moore said.
Melanie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (814) 865-1828. Follow her on Twitter at @brusselermel.