This September, Westwood residents will have a chance to unite at the first Westwood Day in more than 20 years.
The day itself is surely one to leave a mark on Westwood's historical landscape. But residents who attend will also have a new, visual way to remember the day, thanks to the artistic talents of Westwood High School's Graphics Design 2 class.
Students in the class created 15 proposal logos for Westwood Day, which were on display at last month's Encounter With the Arts exhibit. There, residents had the chance to submit their vote on their top choice.
Their vote went to Westwood High School junior Danielle Kaplan, who said the logo she designed - one with two overlapping Ws and bursting with colorful stripes - was not preconceived.
"The idea didn't come instantly," she said. "When first presented with the challenge, I wrote down pages upon pages in my sketchbook of words that I associate with Westwood Day. Thought I wanted the logo to be new and fresh, I also wanted a sense of community. The day is all about the different generations of Westwood coming together, and the overlap of the letters in the design represents that."
Kaplan was among 21 students from the class to create the proposed logos for the Westwood Day identity project. Some students worked individually, while others worked in pairs or teams of three.
"Despite the seeming simplicity of logos, designing an effective one is really challenging," said WHS Visual Arts teachers Liza Houston. "I'm proud of the students and the work they've done. They are tough critics. They push one another and themselves. They aren't afraid to say, 'That's not working, that's not conveying the right message.'"
The lines that burst out from the letters in Kaplan's logo (which can be seen attached to this article), symbolize the fireworks display that is scheduled to happen during the night portion of the event, Kaplan said.
"They also visually represent the various 'paths' people can take at this fair-like event," she added. "Furthermore, they simply add fun and excitement to the logo."
But as a whole, the colors and layout all are meant to reflect unity, she said.
"This logo represents Westwood as well as Westwood Day," Kaplan said. "It targets a broad audience. Westwood Day is about joining all of the community, so the design should intriuge people of all ages. The color scheme is an important aspect of the design. I wanted colors that reference Westwood without using the typical Wolverine green."
In addition, not only did the project allow for students to work their artistic abilities towards a local event, it allowed them to get an inside look at designing something for a prospective client.
"Designing for a real client provides students with a powerful learning experience," said Houston. "Students are motivated to think their work might be produced on a large scale and seen by a wide audience. They invest. I'm so delighted that this project will reach the whole community."
Houston reiterated that she is more than proud of the class's efforts, and said Kaplan's is a perfect example of one that reflect's what Westwood Day is all about.
"Danielle's design is a smart, skillfully-crafted solution," said Houston. "It is controlled and polished, yet accessible and exuberant. The ideas and tone it conveys are on message for the Westwood Day event."