Students Compete to Design Styleweek Northeast Anniversary Logo

Steven Silverman receives a check for $500 from Rosanna Ortiz after winning the contest.

12/12/19 | When Steven Silverman ’20 was in fifth grade, he wasn’t picked to be part of his school’s art club. He was disappointed, but something told him to keep at it.

Now his graphic design work will be front and center for everyone to see during STYLEWEEK Northeast’s (SWNE) 10-year anniversary season in March 2020. Just a few weeks ago, Silverman won the company’s logo contest earning $500 and bragging rights for designing its new logo.

I thought the logo doesn't have to be something crazy and abstract.

“As many of you know, I’m really into fashion. And this logo was inspired by high fashion,” says Silverman speaking at the logo’s reveal event. “As soon as I viewed the STYLEWEEK website it inspired me. In fashion, clothing makes the statement, and I thought the logo doesn't have to be something crazy and abstract. Just [having] one simple red [element] brings out enough to where it's a recognizable logo.”

Social media announcements celebrate Steven’s design.

The group of students pose for a photo after the announcement.

Silverman, along with classmates Jonathan Hemingway ’20, Katie Vidal ’20, Nathan Spinetti ’20, and Kaitlyn Mowrey ’20, set out to redesign the original STYLEWEEK logo which has been the company’s brand for the last 10 years.

It was Rosanna Ortiz, STYLEWEEK’s founder and CEO, who reached out to Deana Marzocchi, associate professor and department chair, with the idea of having a contest for the new logo’s design. And although at first Ortiz thought of having five local universities vie in for the top prize, she quickly had a change of heart deciding to focus only on JWU students for the logo redesign.

It’s kismet that we’re working with Johnson & Wales.

“It’s kismet that we’re working with Johnson & Wales,” says Ortiz. “At first I thought JWU would just be one of the schools participating [in the contest]. But then I thought, ‘oh my God, why don’t I just have only JWU students.’ Because I love all of their interns and it’s been so lovely to work with the university.”

Rosanna Ortiz, Deana Marzocchi, associate professor and department chair, and Dean Frank Tweedie.

Marzocchi couldn’t be happier for the opportunity to work with STYLEWEEK. “We’re really fortunate to have Rosanna working with us and recognizing the JWU design program by giving our students the chance to participate in such an exciting initiative,” she says. “STYLEWEEK is such a keystone event for Providence, and the Northeast, and to be part of that is something we’re proud of.”

STYLEWEEK is such a keystone event for Providence, and the Northeast, and to be part of that is something we’re proud of.

According to Marzocchi, there were eight entries for the contest, and design faculty members worked together to pick five finalists to move forward with their concepts for the logo. Students then met directly with Ortiz and Myke Yeager, STYLEWEEK’s lead runway photographer and member of the board, to pitch their ideas and learn all about the company’s evolution.

“This is such a personal thing for me,” says Ortiz. “STYLEWEEK turns 10 next year and I really wanted to have a commemorative logo to celebrate that, but a logo that could also be utilized going forward after the 10-year anniversary. This whole process taught me a lot about myself and how I view the brand, because I went completely out of my comfort zone and completely out of the box, and you five people helped me see that — so I really appreciate that.”

“It’s been a really long decade and we’ve tried to make this a really wonderful event for the state, it’s been wonderful. It was such an organic decision to partner with JWU students to have you guys help us create the next phase of STYLEWEEK Northeast, so I thank you for that. But this was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made,” Ortiz adds.

The student designers look on during the event.

Ortiz and Yeager went on to reveal all of the student designs, complimenting each for different reasons and explaining their thoughts on what made them unique. Ultimately Silverman’s design stood out from the rest.

Steven actually got my mind out of my own box.

“The winning logo for the next year, and maybe even beyond, is Steven’s,” says Ortiz. “When I came into this whole process, I really thought I was going to go in a completely different direction. But Steven actually got my mind out of my own box, and I started to realize that the evolution of STYLEWEEK Northeast doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to follow the same branding that we had for the past decade.”

Rosanna talks about what made Steven’s design special.

Rosanna congratulating Steven.

“When I look at this and see what Steven did with the letter “N,” that was really prominent for me because we are going to expand and we are going to evolve. A lot of things in this logo jumped out at me about my personal and business growth with this brand, so it was very emotional for me,” Ortiz adds.

For Silverman competing against his peers made the process special. “It was definitely cool, it makes it better because I’m in class with them, but it’s nice to see other things they’re working on outside of class,” he says.

We’re very excited about this, thank you very much.

STYLEWEEK Northeast takes place from March 12-16 2020, and Ortiz will dedicate a large section of the venue to showcase all of the logos created by JWU students. “We’re very excited about this, thank you very much,” she says.

Dean Frank Tweedie agrees. “I’m very excited about this. This was a challenge to our design department…for many years I’ve heard about our robotics teams and hackathon teams winning many awards, and I see the tremendous work [this] department does every day through the work that’s on exhibit here at the gallery, and I said, ‘listen, I would like to challenge you to get our students out there and let the nation see what we’re doing here at the College of Engineering & Design, and here we are, what a great debut.”