Amanda Meares is one part of the talented in-house graphic designer team at the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that creates all of the Fair’s design material. The State Fair Web site, Premium Book, bumper stickers, notepads, Twitter background, promotional posters, signage, daily programs and much, much more all pass through the hands of our graphic artists. We spoke with Amanda on the inspiration behind this year’s creative treatment, as well as her own personal Fair favorites. Check out her answers (and posters**) below.
How would you describe the feel of the ’09 Fair Web site and design materials?
This year’s N.C. State Fair theme is “A Whole Lotta Happy.” We wanted to get back to our roots by bringing agriculture back to the forefront. This year’s design highlights the tradition and history of the Fair with a vintage letterpress style poster. We looked at some of the Fair artwork done in decades past and this style seemed to resonate with people.
What was your inspiration?
Our inspirations for the 2009 Fair are tradition and value. The N.C. State Fair has long been our yearly gathering place; it’s a chance for us to communicate, share and take pride in our community. The Fair has been a constant in our changing world, and it’s a way to enjoy quality time with family, friends and connect with the community. With the economic challenges we’re all facing, good value is more important than ever. People are seeking ways to do more with less, and we want people to know the N.C. State Fair offers “a whole lotta” fun at a great value.
Tell us about the process you and the design team go through to create the design materials.
Design is all about function and form. The function is a combination of the concept, message and goals. The concept is the most important part of the design process; everything that follows is directed by it. Our design team starts with the theme or concept chosen for the year and then we move on to the form. This is the fun part – we start sketching! This is where we make decisions about imagery, font choices and colors that will be used. Then we communicate back and forth with the State Fair staff, getting feedback along the way. Each step in the process goes back to the concept. The end result is a design form that jives with these guiding principles. We hope this year’s theme and design will encourage people to take advantage of a great value and join us for the 2009 N.C. State Fair.
What makes you “A Whole Lotta Happy” about the State Fair?
As a native born and raised in Raleigh, I have probably gone to the State Fair at least once every year (if not more!) since birth. When I was young, I loved the animals and playing the games. As I got into middle school, I started submitting paintings to the art competitions and began enjoying the exhibits. And in high school my friends and I came for the thrill rides and the concerts. That being said, I would have to say my favorite thing about the Fair has always been and always will be the food. Where else can you have a dinner that consists of roasted corn, fried pickles and an elephant ear? I’ll take one of those deep fried candy bars too, please.
If you could deep fry one food, what would it be?
**Many people have asked if we’ll be printing these posters for people to own. We’re excited to announce that we have printed a run of the poster on the far left (as well as a smaller run of concert posters we’ll receive once the lineup is finalized) that we’ll be using for giveaways on our Facebook and Twitter sites, as well as here on the blog. Closer to the Fair, we’ll also have them available for you to pick up at the fairgrounds and possibly at area businesses.
To start off the poster giveaway, read Amanda’s Q&A and leave us a comment here on the blog with what Amanda identifies as the most important part of her design process. We’ll randomly pick two commenters on Monday, July 20, and send them their very own posters! Be sure to check back then to see if you’ve won.