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The official hub for news and stories from Colorado Mesa University


In May, junior Benjamin Haver was offered a spot on an unexpected team. He hadn’t tried out for lacrosse, soccer or any other sporting team — he was offered a spot on a three-person student design team tasked with creating a brand identity for Colorado Mesa University's Hotel Maverick.

“Incorporating students into real-world situations like this brings the energy and the culture of the university into the project. I was excited to be a part of it,” said Haver.

The students worked through the summer, creating and collaborating as a team.

“It was challenging, but I only cried one time,” joked Cassie Fortman, one of the design students chosen to take on the job of designing logos for the new teaching hotel. “It’s nerve-racking because you put your heart into design if you really love it, and you never know how people are going to react.”

The student designers including Haver, Fortman and Logan Wagner who were chosen by Associate Professor of Art Eli Hall. Hall said he chose the team based on design aptitude, commitment level and ability to perform under pressure.

“All three have proven themselves time and time again as solid designers,” said Hall.

Currently under construction, the Hotel Maverick will open in spring 2020 and function both as an upscale hotel and a teaching facility. The hotel will enable students to receive hands-on experience in hotel management, business development, marketing, food service, event planning and graphic design.

“At first and even still, I think what a huge project and what an important project,” said Fortman. “The designs are going to be up for a really long time and they’re representing our school and our design program.” 

The students were given equal roles and responsibilities. Each student designed multiple logos including logos for the hotel, the restaurant and the coffee shop. Students were instructed to design logos in three different themes: modern west, boutique and contemporary.

The team presented over 20 logos to CMU President Tim Foster, Mars Hospitality—who partnered with CMU to operate the hotel— and the CMU marketing team. In the end, Haver’s designs were chosen, but each student received a $1,000 scholarship for their efforts. After the students presented, Mars Hospitality owner Mike May offered an additional $2,000, bringing the total amount awarded to the team to $5,000.

“When I heard that my logo set was chosen, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel. It still hasn’t hit me that my designs are going to be on the side of a building,” said Haver. “I was elated mine got chosen, but at the same time we really couldn’t have gotten to where we were with the whole project without everyone involved.”

“I very much enjoy collaborating as a team,” added Wagner. “Even though credit may not be solely under my name, teams like this one can produce better quality results than any of its parts can separately. Strength in numbers still stands true, even for design work.”

Designing, working and presenting for real-world clients is a great supplement to what students are learning in the classroom. 


Written by Kelsey Coleman