Innovation through collaboration… How The Trumpet is celebrating its 100th year of publication


Sarah Davis

Professor Sarah Davis’s Visual Communications and Design Studio class, partnered with The Trumpet to create a new logo for the paper’s 100-year celebration.

Innovation through Collaboration: How the Trumpet is celebrating its 100th year

By: Creed Kidney

As many of our readers know, the Trumpet has gone completely digital this year in celebration of its centennial anniversary. Along with this major change in formatting, the student voice of the hilltop is also introducing a freshly rebranded collection of new assets and iconography. This was achieved through the collaboration between our team here at The Trumpet and Professor Sarah Davis’s Visual Communications and Design Studio class.

Acting as a kind of creative director for a mock studio environment, Professor Davis gives the students live jobs from clients who need real work done in the real world. Routinely taught in the fall semester, she had spent her summer brainstorming possible career assignments and commissions for her VCD students when she remembered that The Trumpet would be celebrating its 100th year. Through this realization, she got in contact with Professor Danielle Mehlman-Brightwell, faculty advisor to the Trumpet team, in regard to how the paper would be marking the occasion. “Professor Mehlman-Brightwell wanted the Trumpet to become something more contemporary, something that would be appealing to its college aged audience; the old version just didn’t seem to be doing that, and it was a perfect instance for that kind of evolution. In the end, it just came down to great timing.” said Professor Davis. Shayla Murray, a member of the winning design team that created the new logo echoed these same sentiments when describing the process she went through in the creation of the new assets; “The process was challenging at times, but we came together and collaborated to come up with designs we felt best described The Trumpet not only as a personal brand but also as a part of the overall branding for West Liberty.”

Having taught the class several times before for a past school, and it being relatively new to West Liberty’s catalog, Professor Davis didn’t expect any kind of special reaction when she presented the students with the job but ended up receiving a completely different response. “They were actually excited to work with The Trumpet. They started talking about their own personal wants and dreams being reflected in what the school’s paper could become, things that they even went on to develop and showcase that might be implemented farther along into the future. That’s such an important aspect of VCD; it’s not just about creating different brands and logos for whoever might need them – but thinking conceptually of different ways to reach your audience through visual aspects.” Samantha Palmieri, another member of the winning design team, was particularly elated to be working directly with her campus community; “Our team really enjoyed working on a project this personal and close to home. West Liberty University means so much to each of us, so this was an amazing opportunity to give back to the school that has given us so much while gaining valuable professional experience. Working with the Trumpet has allowed us to gain crucial insight into what our day to day lives will look like as a working graphic designer.”

What a better group to communicate such ideals then a team of our very own Hilltoppers. After being submitted to the Trumpet’s team for voting, the results were sent to Professor Davis, who had no part in the final decision, to announce the winning team; but this wasn’t a competition. “Obviously the winning team was thrilled, but so were the other students! I try to foster as much friendly competition as possible, but in this case it almost seemed different. In the end, the reality, no, the goal, it that three viable options were presented, and one was ultimately chosen. This of course boosts the students’ confidence and reminds them of that synergy between not only themselves and their teammates but the groups as a whole classroom environment. It’s no longer on just the individual, it brings them together to remind them that they don’t have to do everything and they can work to their own strengths; but all the students feel a sense of pride when they look at the new and improved Trumpet, because it has that sense of, ‘Hey, I did that.’” Megan Belden, the third member of the featured design team, cited this sense of synergetic strength as a capital resource to her groups success in the overall design process and delivery as a whole; “I loved every moment of this project. Professor Mehlman-Brightwell was a wonderful client that I was so happy to have. She was always so willing to help and give feedback on our progress. Every one of her comments led my group and me closer to the finalized edition of our branding for The Trumpet. This project was an amazing experience to help us in the journey to graduating and becoming young designers. After working with Professor Mehlman-Brightwell and The Trumpet team, I feel vastly more confident about heading into a professional environment. With the addition of the guidance given to us by Professor Davis, we learned so much about our own skills and have gained an irreplaceable amount of knowledge. I am so happy and grateful to have been given such an opportunity not only by my professor but also by the university. For that reason, I am pleased that this job was a great way to give back to the university that has given so much to me. I’m so proud of the work that my team and I have done. It was the creativity, dedication, and talent of both Shayla Murray and Samantha Palmieri that inspired me to work hard and redesign The Trumpet for the future.”

The main logo will be featured as the cover page for The Trumpet that is set to release this Thursday (Vol. 100 – Issue 6. 10.21.2020). The Trumpet also launched their new and improved website this week and can be viewed by visiting the following website: Stories and other content will be posted to this website throughout the week, so be sure to keep up to date by visiting the new and improved website!

For more information about The Trumpet or how to get involved, feel free to contact any of the staff listed on page two of this paper. For information regarding The Trumpet branding, please contact Professor Sarah Davis at [email protected].