Katie Fish’s parents visited her in January, the same week she heard about a Philly-centric sticker design contest and she took them on a tour to seek inspiration from city symbols.
She visited City Hall, Love Park, the Rocky statue and the Liberty Bell with them to gain inspiration.
Fish, a junior graphic and interactive design major, won the design contest by Philadelphia City Commissioners and the School District of Philadelphia to redesign the “I Voted” sticker that voters receive on election days.
The contest had more than 150 entries from adults, elementary and high school students. On March 9, the office announced Fish to be the winner in a city press release.
“It’s just kinda surreal, I’m like proud of myself,” Fish said. “I didn’t really think I was gonna win.”
Her design was a graphic of Philadelphia City Hall’s clock tower, with its clock doubling as an “O” in “I Voted.”
Fish heard about the contest through her Hatchery class this semester, where students rebrand companies and nonprofits in the city by producing design products like logos, websites and brochures for them.
Bryan Satalino, director of The Hatchery, shared the opportunity with his students the week before classes started in Fall 2019, giving them a week to create the designs, get critiques and feedback from the class before the submissions deadline. He thought it was a good project to start the semester with, he said.
“It’s something that we could easily design quickly as a warm-up project and we could do one crit and feel pretty satisfied with the results,” Satalino said. “It’s that type of thing where I wanted them to just put themselves out there, wasn’t just for design sake but to also just commit to sending something.”
Fish was one of two finalists from Temple University. It was satisfying for Satalino that two of his students were finalists, he said.
“To know that this is something that a lot of people will come in contact with … citywide, I think that’s really interesting to me and should be very satisfying for the designers to have their work valued on that level,” Satalino said. “I think she’s a really strong designer, she’s got that depth of being able to dig into visual metaphors and utilize it.”
Lisa Deely, chairwoman of the city commissioner’s office, wanted a new voting sticker that was unique to the city, as the previous ones were red, white and blue stickers and didn’t reflect Philadelphia, she said. Her office also wanted to make it a contest to involve the community and young people in the production and voting process.
The final rounds of the contest was voted on publicly, racking up 11,855 votes, according to the city commissioner’s office. Fish’s design won with 18.48 percent of the votes.
The commissioner’s office also selected a “future voter” design by a high school student from Science Leadership Academy.
“We want young people to feel as though there’s a place for them and we want them all to vote regularly and to be part of what is one of the greatest rights to Americans,” Deely said. “[Fish] just fulfilled everything that I thought that our stickers should be. It should be Philly-centric, it should be different, it should have a more artsy vibe to it.”
The city commissioners will vote officially to make Fish’s and the “future voter” designs the city’s new election day stickers on March 25, according to the press release.
Fish plans to vote in this year’s presidential election for the first time, she said. She plans to do that in Philadelphia and not in her Rhode Island hometown.
“Involving all ages really just gets everyone excited about voting and excited about the city,” Fish said. “I feel like Philadelphia is more my home now than my home state.”