WHS grad designs Regatta T-shirt
WORTHINGTON -- Just before he closed the book on his high school career, Tyler Benson added one more item to his list of accomplishments -- designing the T-shirt for the Windsurfing Regatta.
Benson, a senior, graduated Friday from Worthington High School. During his tenure at the school, he began a diverse portfolio of graphic design assignments, some that equate to professional jobs, such as designing various business cards for the school district or the T-shirt for the Wild Turkey Shootout basketball tournament.
"I made the scoreboard for the basketball games that's on the announcer's table," he said. "I designed that, too."
The WHS art department was broached about creating a design for the front of the T-shirts for the Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival, which is coming up on June 9-11. Several students in Tricia Mikle's advanced graphic design class took on the project, providing the Regatta committee with a variety of designs to choose from. But Benson's idea was a standout from the beginning.
"It just had T-shirt written all over it," said Mikle. "I like the visual organization. That's where your experience shows through, Tyler."
Benson sought inspiration for his design on the Internet, searching for ideas that incorporated windsurfing and music -- the key components of Worthington's summer celebration. Students in the graphic arts department at WHS have access to advanced Adobe Photoshop software and graphic design equipment that allowed Benson to manipulate an image until he achieved an effect he liked.
"Most of the stuff I do, I work with layers and paths instead of pixels," Benson explained about his process.
The resulting image is a back view of a windsurfer on his board, turned diagonally to fill out the rectangular area. The artwork was rendered in blues and aquas.
"At first, the windsurfer was flat, and I turned it so it filled out the box," said Benson. "I thought the blues worked well for windsurfing."
Only a few minor changes were made to Benson's first submission. The original font he used was changed for a more readable option, although it still maintains a funky flair.
"I found the font online," Benson said. "It's called 'Turkey Sandwich' or something like that."
Benson took art courses as electives at Worthington High School and also spent his Student Volunteer Services hours in the art department, helping Mikle with various tasks. Mikle said she will miss his assistance and expertise with various computer programs, but hopes he also gained some invaluable experience along the way.
"Obviously, the benefit is it's a real-life experience -- something to put in their portfolio," said Mikle about projects such as the Regatta T-shirt. "If they're going into the (graphic design) field, they have a leg up on that experience."
Benson, the son of Dan and Mary Benson of Worthington, plans to attend Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington campus, with an eye on a career in electrical engineering. But he hasn't totally ruled out a future in the graphic design arena, either.
The Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival T-shirts are currently available at the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, 1121 Third Ave. During the Regatta, the shirts will be sold at the Daily Globe tent on Sailboard Beach.