York Technical College digital design instructor Steve Ward has been named the 2012 Democratic National Convention poster-contest winner.
The contest drew more than 400 nationwide submissions and 26,000 votes, with Ward's "Urban Unity" poster capturing the top spot.
"I was interested in the project because it was a way to create something positive out of politics," said Ward, a north Charlotte resident and Marion native. "Politics can be seen as negative and divisive, but I wanted to show people coming together in Charlotte."
The contest rules stated that traditional political symbols could not be used. Having never designed a political poster, Ward was intrigued by the rules and hoped to create a unique statement. His design of red and blue clasping hands, the sun's rays and the Charlotte skyline impart his unity concept.
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His artist's statement details the poster's meaning: "Urban Unity was designed to celebrate diversity. We all have different political, economic and religious views, but that's what makes this country so special. Too often political arenas are used to shun other's way of thinking and promote their own. We should all come together, unified, with ears and minds open."
Ward likened his creative process in designing the poster to playing basketball.
"I felt like I was in the zone, like I couldn't miss a shot. I did an initial sketch and the details of the hands, the sun, the textures just kept working," Ward said.
He spent approximately 10 hours on the project over a few days. Besides the initial sketch, the poster was created using Photoshop.
Ward, a graduate of UNC Charlotte, hopes to shine a bright light on Charlotte.
"I absolutely love Charlotte. I feel that it doesn't get enough nationwide attention, and hopefully the convention will let people see what it's about. It has everything: city life, country life - it's just the perfect location," Ward said.
In addition to his teaching career, Ward keeps busy with his freelance graphic and Web-design company, em7 Studio.
The design will be displayed in connection with the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and an 18-by-24-inch copy of Ward's poster is available for $25 at www. store. charlotte in 2012 .com .