A logo created by Florida Gulf Coast University student and Naples native Haley Levy in a contest among university digital media design students has been chosen for the new Naples Design District’s flagship building, The Collective.
“I think it’s wild. It’s very bizarre. Naples has such a high standard,” Levy said about her design being selected by a company in her hometown, where she graduated from Barron Collier High School in 2016. “Especially with it being in the design district. It’s an honor, really.”
Levy is an art major with a digital media concentration who in December will be the first in her family to graduate from college. She was on a study-abroad trip this past summer to Copenhagen, Denmark, Malmo, Sweden and London, UK, when she heard about the contest from Mike Salmond, associate professor of digital media design.
Four of the five students who eventually participated in the design contest were on that May 2019 trip with Salmond, who is program coordinator for the digital media design program. Salmond first learned of the Naples Design District’s need for a logo design from Chad Jensen, a furniture maker and designer whose art gallery, Method & Concept, is next door to the new design district’s flagship building, The Collective.
The Collective, at First Avenue South and Tenth Street South, is scheduled to open in January 2020 with home-furnishing businesses, interior-design shops and art galleries that cater to builders, renovators and decorators.
The students were given very little background before starting the logo development process. With only some branding adjectives, concept artwork of the building and the website URL to work with, the students had to focus mostly on the larger idea of the building function and its location to begin communicating messaging through branding and logo design.
“We had two rounds of ‘How close am I?’ before the pitch,” Salmond said, noting the short time period the five students had to prepare for the July pitch to the Naples Design District marketing committee. The second meeting gave the students only one week before the July 19 pitch meeting to incorporate the feedback they received from Salmond.
After the initial presentation of all five students, the marketing committee narrowed it down to two, Levy and Isabella Baquerizo, and provided the finalists with feedback and guidance on the direction they wanted.
“At first, I was intimidated to show my ideas to real-world professionals, but I was excited to present my work and be taken seriously in the field that I am really passionate about,” Levy said.
Levy and Baquerizo sent new iterations of their work, and Levy’s logo was selected. Her new version highlighted the building’s bronze accent colors and fins on the tips of its columns – a unique feature of the structure.
Levy’s design provided a chic, modern design overall, but it wasn’t the only winner. RR Kurts Development in Naples purchased the logo Baquerizo created for its company use.
Baquerizo, who is from Ecuador, graduated this summer with her B.A. in art with a digital media concentration, and plans to start graduate school in 2020. “I was super excited when I found out about the Naples Design District contest because I live in Naples and I loved the idea of creating something so close to my own community,” Baquerizo said. “I was nervous because this was my first ‘real’ design presentation, but it turned out amazing.”
Baquerizo and Levy were roommates on the study-abroad trip. “Being roommates with Haley was so much fun,” Baquerizo said. “From the start we realized we were inspired by the same things and had a similar style and taste in design.”
The FGCU students who participated in both the study-abroad program and the design contest displayed their work at an exhibition in the FGCU ArtLab only a few weeks after they presented to the committee in July. Besides Levy and Baquerizo, other FGCU students who participated in the pitch are seniors Marjorie Johnston of Cape Coral, Meg Brunner of Naples and Davina Angstenberger of Lehigh Acres.
“The way Mike organizes his class, it didn’t feel like we were competing against each other, even though we were all going for the same prize,” Levy said. “It just felt like an awesome opportunity.”
The marketing committee complimented the rhythmic, triangular symbol of Levy’s winning design as being versatile enough to be used alone or with the name of the building on a variety of marketing materials and signage.
“You feel very validated in your skills when you see resources being used to produce your results,” Levy said about seeing her design on everything from the building to the letterhead.
The entire process – from Jensen’s initial contact to Levy’s design being chosen – took no more than a month.
“To be involved in such an amazing enterprise was fantastic for me and for the students,” Salmond said. “And on a more personal level, the most rewarding aspect was having the confidence in these design students – their abilities, focus and communication skills to present professionally and passionately about their work.”
Levy’s advice to prospective design students is to “remember the passion side, and your drive will reflect in your design.”
“I treat every single project like it’s for a client,” she said.