Senior Graphic Design Major Creates New Logo for New Jersey Women Vote

By Tom McLaughlin

Ariel Adels recalls that, ever since she was young, she has enjoyed doing just about anything art-related: “painting, drawing, photography, whatever I could get my hands into.”

Adels notes the historical significance of the torch, used prominently in her logo design.

So the Sewell resident decided on a bachelor’s degree in graphic design with a minor in marketing at Rutgers University–Camden as the most effective way to utilize her talents.

Suffice it to say that the Rutgers–Camden senior is already making her mark.

Adels’ original design was just selected as the new logo of “New Jersey Women Vote: The 19th Amendment at 100,” a partnership between the New Jersey Historical Commission and the Alice Paul Institute. The statewide organization is dedicated to celebrating the centennial of the 19th amendment in 2020 while acknowledging its inequities.

The logo, which prominently features a torch, went live on Nov. 26 as the organization launched its social media sites and will be featured on its forthcoming website. Adels is also creating versions of the logo that will be used on public banners, correspondence, T-shirts, and buttons as the 2020 celebrations approach.

Lisa Hendrickson, a member of the board of directors of the Alice Paul Institute, notes that Adel’s design – chosen by Lucy Beard, executive director of the Alice Paul Institute, and Sara Cureton, executive director of the New Jersey Historical Commission – is steeped in historical significance and is clean, modern, easy to read, and easily adaptable to a variety of uses.

The Sewell resident explains that students in Rutgers–Camden’s graphic design program are taught the importance of learning to think for yourself – a mindset that extends well beyond the curriculum.

“The torch was an important symbol for the suffrage movement and her simplified version of it worked well with the logo, in addition to it partnering well with the national 2020 celebration logo,” says Hendrickson.

Adels was one of 15 advanced graphic design students who spent the semester creating logos for consideration by the organization under the tutelage of Allan Espiritu, an associate professor of graphic design and head of the art program at Rutgers–Camden.

“The creativity and professionalism of all the projects is a great reflection on the student talent, the strong direction by Allan, and the education provided by Rutgers–Camden,” says Hendrickson. “We are so pleased that we were able to involve the next generation of young women and men in participating in this historic milestone celebration.”

According to Adels, she began the creative process by conducting extensive research on the organization, prominent women in New Jersey history, and the historical meanings of symbols. She was thus inspired to highlight the symbol of the torch after seeing an illustration on the cover of The Suffragette – the flagship newspaper of the Women’s Social and Political Union in the United Kingdom in the early 20th century – as well as the iconic image of Lady Liberty.

“The Statue of Liberty is a woman, a strong symbol of liberty and freedom, and a part of Ellis island, which is located in New Jersey,” says Adels, a Bridging the Gap student at Rutgers–Camden. “There is a great deal of symbolism there.”

Adels estimates that she generated around 15 different logos, constantly revising certain aspects of her design. With every design decision, she says, it was necessary to have a reason and thought behind it – a point that is emphasized often by her professors in Rutgers–Camden’s graphic design program.

Adels is also creating versions of the logo that will be used on public banners, correspondence, T-shirts, and buttons as the 2020 celebrations approach.

“If a client asked why you chose a certain aspect of your design, it’s not sufficient to say, ‘I don’t know. It just looks good,’” she explains. “You need to be able to explain its significance. In some instances, they might even appreciate something more after you explain the reasoning behind it.”

Simply put, Adels continues, students in Rutgers–Camden’s graphic design program are taught the importance of learning to think for yourself – a mindset that extends well beyond the curriculum.

“You learn quickly that it’s not just important with regards to graphic design, but in all of your academic endeavors and really in all aspects of your life,” she says.

Adels has wasted no time putting her talents to the test. She currently works as a graphic designer for the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts and the Rutgers School of Business–Camden. She is also serving an internship, working as a marketing assistant at AOS Architects in Philadelphia.

True to form, Adels is intent on getting as much experience as possible in a variety of different settings and mediums, which has resulted in a portfolio that is as well-rounded as she is.

“I am just always constantly trying to improve myself,” she says, “and I want to make sure that my portfolio reflects that.”

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