Case Study: National Headquarters Celebrates 25 Years At This Stillwater Train Station

One of my favorite things about being Publications Manager & Multimedia Designer for Kappa Kappa Psi & Tau Beta Sigma is the amount of different types of projects I’ve done and will do. There is never a shortage of programs, initiatives, publications, and promotional material that need my design expertise. Everything I design here is an opportunity to deposit something of importance into the history of these organizations and this National Headquarters office.

Speaking of the National Headquarters office, this year makes 25 years that HQ has been housed in Stillwater’s historic Santa Fe Depot. National Executive Director Steve Nelson approached me about designing a 25th anniversary button to give out to brothers and sisters during district convention season. Immediately, the idea of an illustration of the iconic front entrance of the station came to mind. The thing about illustrating the building was figuring out what are the most recognizable pieces of the building. When simplifying a large structure for a button, icon, or logo, you want to have enough to get the character without overdoing it.

I started with sketching the general shape of the building from the perspective of the parking lot. I love grid paper for moments like this. I was able to use the grid to help with the proportions. I’m not naturally gifted at freehand illustration but I can work a grid and utilize symmetry. However, even with the grid, my first pass was actually incorrect and I had to re-do it. Also, the first illustration was a little too simplistic for what was wanted.

Once the general idea and the essential elements were decided upon, I had to make decisions on how the headquarters building illustration would be translate to a button. For a circular button, of course it needed to be a circle badge type shape. I left off the wings that are on the actual building as they wouldn’t fit on the button and weren’t absolutely essential.

I thought it would be nice if the chimney pushed outside of the inner circle to the sky. The 25 text needed to be the focal point at the bottom with the banner showcasing the first year and the current year. Speaking of text, I tried a few different places for the description of the occasion and settled on the best option for a button. The outside circle behind the art holds everything together and covers the bleed area.

The buttons turned out great! It was quite the thrill seeing them released into the wild and people taking pictures with them at during Northeast District Convention. I’m glad a balance between detail and simplicity was ultimately reached.

~b.