This past semester, Flagler College students in ART 228: Design Methodologies partnered with the Greek Festival in St. Augustine to design a range of material, including an event logo and promotional poster. This service-learning project began with students attending the festival in October, to experience the event first-hand. After this, students met with our ‘client’ to learn about the history of the festival, their current situation and their plans for the future. Students then wrote a project proposal, developed logo concepts and brainstormed ideas for a promotional campaign.
The local Greek Festival, presented by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, has been an annual event in St. Augustine for the past 17 years. It celebrates Greek culture, including traditional food, music and dancing. The festival has grown considerably since its inception and is now one of the largest local events held at Francis Field.
Last year, the festival received a grant from the Tourist Development Council (TDC) to extend the reach of their marketing efforts in order to attract people from across the state of Florida. With this in mind, the co-chairs thought the festival could benefit from having more consistent branding. They wanted a distinctive logo that visually communicated two things—Greek culture and the St. Augustine location.
Each student designed and presented a logo option. Cassie Deogracia came up with a design that fit the bill, but several other students made it hard for the committee to pick just one, including Rachel Thomas, who came in a close second. Other finalists include Maddie Zatkulak, Zoe Thomas and Rebekah Richardson.
In addition to designing a logo, each student created a poster and proposed other ideas that the committee could consider adopting. For example, Michael Swiger conceptualized a ‘Gyro Hero’ eating contest, and Anabel Anderson designed ‘Speak Greek’ cards. Nicholas Droleski branded the carnival rides as ‘Evzone’s Kid Zone,’ and Tori Ray created a hand fan that also functions as a site map. Other students pitched t-shirt designs, event signage, menus, branded cups, buttons, and more.
Mikae Gaetanos, this year’s co-chair stated that, “It was wonderful working with the Flagler College students. They were so energetic and creative. It opened our eyes to many new ideas, and for me personally, it was very fun and enjoyable.” Gary Peterson, President of the Parish Council for Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, which hosts the annual event added, “We found the enthusiasm and professionalism exhibited by the students inspiring and motivating. It allowed us to see our own festival through the students’ eyes, which added a bold new perspective to our own vision of the event.”
Cassie Deogracia, whose logo was chosen, said her favorite part of the project was being able to give the festival an identity that captured everything they were trying to convey. Deogracia said, “I really wanted to display the important aspects of the festival: that it’s Greek, that it takes place in the beautiful city of St. Augustine, and one of the most exciting aspects of the festival, the food. When my design was chosen I was immediately very excited. It’s so rewarding to know that as a designer you’ve successfully created an image that a client can be proud of.”
Ms. Deogracia thought this experience was beneficial in several ways. “I learned so much about how to take ideas and the essence of an event and transform it into design. Along with that, I was able to experience working with a client and making sure that I created something that they would be happy with.”
Since the event gives festival-goers an authentic taste of Greek culture, this project wouldn’t be complete without some of that delicious food. Gary’s wife, Faye (Fotini) Peterson graciously prepared some traditional Greek pastries, including baklava, for the class. Mikae and Gary brought in trays full of fresh-baked goods for students to enjoy after their final presentations in December. We now understand the true meaning of Opa! It’s not just a word; it’s a way of life.