2017-02-10 / Community

MECA student designs new Beach to Beacon 2017 poster


Maine College of Art student Kirk Simpson designed the first Beach to Beacon poster, for the 2017 race. The poster is pictured here, held by Joan Benoit Samuelson, founder of the race. (Courtesy photo) Maine College of Art student Kirk Simpson designed the first Beach to Beacon poster, for the 2017 race. The poster is pictured here, held by Joan Benoit Samuelson, founder of the race. (Courtesy photo) The TD Beach to Beacon has collaborated with Maine College of Art on the design of a commemorative poster for the special 20th running of the iconic 10K road race on Aug. 5 in Cape Elizabeth.

Each registered runner this year will receive a poster as a keepsake from the race founded by Olympic gold medalist and Maine native Joan Benoit Samuelson.

The winning design was created by MECA student Kirk Simpson of York. He was one of nine students tasked with coming up with original ideas for the commemorative poster. Simpson’s design was inspired by the diversity of spectators as they watched runners traverse the course to the Portland Head Light, the famed lighthouse near the finish line.

The project was led by Drew Hodges, a faculty member at Maine College of Art for the class named Emotional Branding. More than 20 designs were presented to a committee of race officials, who selected the winner.

The TD Beach to Beacon made a $2,500 contribution in recognition of the student’s work. The funds will be used to support the professional development of students: each student received a one-year membership to AIGA, the professional association for graphic design, plus all their printing costs were covered while the remaining funds will be directed to take advantage of off-campus opportunities, Hodges said.

“The real-world experience of working with Joan and the team at TD Beach to Beacon was such a joy for the students as it had everything they love – challenge, community, diversity and good design,” said Hodges, an adjunct faculty member in graphic design. “TD Beach to Beacon supported our students at MECA emotionally and practically – we could not have asked for more.”

Samuelson said each of the student designers presented stellar work, making the task of selecting a winner difficult. Each of the designs will be on display over race weekend.

“These students in Drew’s class were so inspiring to us all in the way they embraced this project in such a professional and artistic manner,” she said. “MECA should be proud of their efforts as I know we were. Bravo to Kirk and to the rest of his classmates.”

As part of their design process, the students were required to meet with members of the TD Beach to Beacon’s 20th Committee to “interview the client.” They asked about the race, its history and meaning, and the people behind it. Of the 20 designs submitted, 12 made it through the first round of judging. A few of the finalists then made some minor tweaks and submitted for a final review before Simpson’s design was selected as the winner.

Hodges is the founder of SpotCo, an advertising agency in New York. He is author of “On Broadway: From Rent to Revolution,” which was published last spring by Rizzoli. His agency created the branding for many musicals, including “Rent” and “Hamilton.” Hodges recently relocated to Portland and Emotional Branding was his first class at MECA.

Samuelson also credited Marji Adams and Candace Karu, two long-time supporters of and participants in the TD Beach to Beacon, for approaching MECA last summer with the idea of a poster design contest as part of the 20th running celebration.

“Marji and Candace really made this happen, and we salute them as well,” Samuelson added.

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