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News . Feature Stories . Cuyahoga County unveils county seal designed by CIA student

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June 25, 2014

Cuyahoga County unveils county seal designed by CIA student

Graphic Design major's line drawings depict region's strengths

Cuyahoga County unveils county seal designed by CIA student

Cuyahoga County, the Ohio county that includes Cleveland, has unveiled its new seal designed by CIA senior Nolan Beck. The seal will be placed on the Cuyahoga County Administrative Headquarters, at the corner of East 9th Street and Prospect Avenue in Cleveland, and will be phased in to further use over time.

“I decided to use iconography that would represent different aspects of what makes Cuyahoga County important,” Beck said of the images he placed in four quadrants of the seal. He produced simple line drawings that would be instantly recognizable, yet uncluttered, representing Northeast Ohio’s strength in healthcare, the beauty of its forests and parks, Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River, and the engineering, design and unity signified by the region’s iconic bridges. He added a perimeter suggesting the cogs of a wheel to symbolize and the county’s industrial heritage and future.

“It was hard to get the icons all together as simple line art and make them look cohesive. I just used things that society already recognizes,” said Beck. “The cog (around the perimeter) made it look more industrial and, unintentionally, made it look more seal-like, as if it’s the outline of a ribbon.”

Beck’s involvement began in fall 2013 with an assignment in Assistant Professor Larry O’Neal’s Advanced Studio course, after county officials reached out to CIA.

O’Neal said the input from the County was very specific. “They did not want the seal to look like a Cleveland seal; it had to represent the county as a whole. They also wanted the lake, the Emerald Necklace (Metroparks), the river or something that represented it, and some statement of business.

“Nolan got a grasp of what the clients wanted quickly. There were minor adjustments on Nolan's design, but very minimal,” O’Neal continued.

In a prepared statement released by the Cuyahoga County administration, County Executive Ed FitzGerald said, “We’re proud to announce that we’ve worked collaboratively with County Council and the Cleveland Institute of Art to create a new seal, which symbolizes our continuous progress in Cuyahoga County. We were very impressed with all of the designs submitted by the CIA students, with Nolan Beck’s design prevailing and impressively depicting our county’s many strengths and assets.”

County Councilman Mike Gallagher said, “Since this new form of government was established, the County has sought to begin a fresh start, including the adoption of a newly designed County seal. In a collaborative effort with the administration, Council charged students at the Cleveland Institute of Art to design a logo that represents the strength and diversity of the County. Mr. Nolan Beck, a very talented student at CIA, submitted the winning design that we are proud to reveal today.”

Beck is a graphic design major from Williamsburg, Virginia, entering his senior year this fall. This summer he is serving an internship in the Cleveland office of VOCON, an architecture and interior design firm.

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