South Whidbey grad designs conference logo

South Whidbey graduate Robert Ward designed the new logo for the Cascade Conference in design class last year. - submitted photo
South Whidbey graduate Robert Ward designed the new logo for the Cascade Conference in design class last year.
— image credit: submitted photo

It began with two simple challenges for the expressed goal of creating a logo to represent the Cascade Conference, a new conference South Whidbey and six other state schools entered last fall.

The conference’s seven athletic directors were first given the challenge by the Washington Interscholatics Athletic Association, or WIAA, of creating a banner to represent the conference. The students in Gene Koffkin’s South Whidbey High School design class were then given the second challenge — that of of creating a logo the other school’s athletic directors would select to represent the conference.

Thanks to the creative mind of then-student Robert Ward, both challenges were met and the goals was accomplished. Koffkin said when looking through submissions from the design class students, Blake’s stood out.

“We submitted what we all agreed was the best and that was his,” Koffkin said.

The conference’s other athletic directors all agreed.

Mark Hodson, South Whidbey athletic director, said when he pulled out Ward’s logo last spring, no other athletic director even bothered to show their entries before approving the logo.

“Everyone was real impressed with it,” he said.

The logo now lies in the center of 5-by-5 foot black and white banners hanging in the South Whidbey High School gymnasium and in the gyms of the conference’s six other schools. The logo has the words Cascade Conference emblazoned on the front. In the background are the jagged snow-covered peaks of the Olympic Mountains and a soaring eagle. Sitting at the bottom of the circle below a line are the words “Excellence in Sportsmanship.” All conference letterheads also feature the logo, Hodson said.

When contacted at his Washington State University dormitory Monday about the inspiration for the logo, Blake — a 2003 South Whidbey graduate — said the first thing that came to his mind were the Olympic Mountains and the eagle.

After receiving the logo assignment from Kofkin and Hodson, Blake said he began with a preliminary sketch. He said he then spent several hours a day for a week creating the final design on the computer design program Photoshop.

For his inspiration, he said the Olympic Mountains are visible all over Whidbey Island. The eagle, he said, represents the region that the schools within the conference are located. Besides South Whidbey, the conference takes in Lakewood, Sultan, King’s, Archbishop Murphy, Granite Falls and Cedarcrest high schools. South Whidbey previously played in the North Cascade League.

Hodson said he approached Kofkin’s class about the design because the students had done several good designs for him in the past. Blake said he also designed a logo for the South Whidbey CEC and a couple things at the high school.

He said he plans to continue studying graphic design at WSU.

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