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They’re golden: Students win Stoughton Trailer logo contest

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Catherine W. Idzerda
December 12, 2010
— Here’s the challenge: Create a logo that says “golden anniversary,” “American industry” and—this is the tricky part—“semitrailers.”

That’s what Stoughton Trailers wanted, and it turned to local high school students, employees and their families for ideas.


In 2011, the company will be celebrating its 50th year in business as a maker of semitrailers, grain haulers and other over-the-road trailers.


The company received 85 submissions from more than 70 people, many of them art students at local high schools.


“We had no idea we’d get that kind of response,” said Keith Wise, public relations manager for Stoughton Trailers.


The 85 submissions were reduced to 13, and then a winner was picked. Two additional prizes were awarded, and those logos will be used in other areas of the business.


Winners were:


-- Stacy Hill, Evansville High School senior. Hill’s logo will appear on the 50th anniversary show trailer and on promotional and marketing materials.


-- Zack Simonson, Evansville High School senior. His design will replace the current Stoughton logo on the rear door on all trailers manufactured in 2011.


-- Beau Cornell, Stoughton High School sophomore. His design will be featured on all correspondence in 2011.


Each school’s art department received $250, and students received cash prizes, as well.


The contest gave students real life experience, said Evansville High School teacher Becky Kohler.


Kohler, who teaches computer design and digital graphics, often has students design business cards or letterheads as exercises.


This was the real deal.


“They presented us with the logo and said they wanted something for the 50th anniversary, but they didn’t want to alter the logo too much,” Kohler said.


Company officials later returned to the classroom, considered the choices and told students which designs were “right on track”—and which were not.


Even then, the company tweaked all the winning designs.


For example, Hill’s winning logo went from a deep yellow to a glossy gold, and the company’s dates were added to the “50th anniversary banner.”


That’s what happens in “real life,” Kohler said.


Companies or business owners are involved in the creation process from the beginning, and designers get feedback every step of the way, Kohler told her students.


“The two students that won the contest are really interested in doing this for a living,” Kohler said. “I told them, ‘You better put these in your portfolio.’ ”



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