Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
Sunday, August 19, 2018 9:09 pm
April 29, 2016

Blair holds design contest for Blazers

by Randima Herath, Online Editor-in-Chief
Biology teacher Leslie Blaha and Digital Arts teacher Jacqueline Armstead-Thomas organized an ongoing planbook design contest for Blazers.
A planbook design from a previous year. Courtesy of Jacqueline Armstead-Thomas
A planbook design from a previous year.

Blaha is in charge of overlooking the creation of planbooks for both staff and students. Armstead-Thomas has four Digital Arts classes with about 30 students in each. She gave her students the option to create a planbook cover or T-shirt design for Blair. She typically receives anywhere from 80 to 120 entries from her students alone.

Blaha and a group of teachers, which varies each year, look at all the designs before narrowing them down. "Essentially, it's almost like a basketball tournament or March Madness, where we will narrow it down to a smaller group and then have to go through it and narrow down that group," Armstead-Thomas said. The teachers narrow down the entries to eight semifinalists.

These designs are put on display at the Spring Art Show every year. The designs are framed, numbered and voted on. Armstead-Thomas assisted in counting the votes last year. "I want to say I probably count close to a thousand tickets," she said. First place winners are featured on the student planbook while second place winners are featured on the teacher planbook.

The competition gets tougher every year. "Because the designs are getting stronger and stronger every year, last year it was really hard to choose between the second and third place winners, so Ms. Blaha printed out both for the teachers," Armstead-Thomas said. Blaha and Armstead-Thomas look for school appropriate designs that have a sense of school pride, use school colors and exhibit originality.
Another planbook design from a previous year. Courtesy of Jacqueline Armstead-Thomas
Another planbook design from a previous year.

Armstead-Thomas uses this contest as part of the curriculum for Digital Arts, where students use programs like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. The first semester focused on the elements of art while the focus for this semester is principles of design. Many of these principles apply to the planbook designs. "You need to have something that appeals to everyone, but also still feels like the school identity," she said.

The Spring Art Show will take place on Thursday, May 19 from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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