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Hail to old IU: Winning student T-shirt design has vintage look

Sam Cosner, winner of the Indiana University Bloomington Student-Designed T-Shirt Contest, wears his winning design. Photo by A... Sam Cosner, winner of the Indiana University Bloomington Student-Designed T-Shirt Contest, wears his winning design. Photo by Alex Kumar, Indiana University

A new T-shirt is available at the Indiana University Bookstore and on its website thanks to the inspiration of old IU.

A design by freshman Sam Cosner that uses the university’s original logo, iconic phrases and vintage imagery was the winning entrant in the Indiana University Bloomington Student-Designed T-Shirt Contest. The design is in crimson ink on a white short-sleeve shirt.

“What kind of inspired this design is all the old architecture around IU. I was fascinated with all the little details and carvings in the old limestone buildings,” said Cosner, who graduated from Bloomington High School South and is majoring in business management in the Kelley School of Business.

The contest, open to all students each fall, is a collaboration between the IU Bookstore, Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, IU Corporate Sponsorships and IU Licensing & Trademarks.

“The T-shirt competition is a special opportunity for students to express their originality and passion for the IU brand,” said Kimberly Spino, IU’s director of licensing and trademarks. “Bringing the winning design to life is a great way for our bookstore to engage with the students.”

Cosner won a close contest among three finalists; Jordan Morning finished second and Maxwell Prentice third. For winning, Cosner receives a $250 IU Bookstore gift card and recognition on T-shirt marketing materials. Morning receives a $100 Bookstore gift card and Prentice a $50 Bookstore gift card. Also, all contest participants receive a 25% discount coupon to use at the bookstore.

Cosner's winning design uses the university's original logo, iconic phrases and vintage imagery. Photo by Alex Kumar, I... Cosner's winning design uses the university's original logo, iconic phrases and vintage imagery. Photo by Alex Kumar, Indiana UniversityGraphic design has interested Cosner for years. He took classes throughout high school, and he did an internship with a graphics company his senior year. Cosner also has experience with T-shirt designs through various online contests and from designing shirts for the track teams at Bloomington South and Bedford North Lawrence, where he was a student before transferring.

“I enjoy the creative process behind it and getting to design whatever I want and put my vision on a shirt,” Cosner said.

When he learned about the contest through an email in August, Cosner said, said it reignited his creative side. He wanted his design to be unique.

“I didn’t want to have big block text and shapes; I wanted to incorporate old IU with all the little details,” he said. “That’s why I used the old IU logo and the old IU lamppost shining down on it.”

Cosner created the design entirely on his computer. The top of the design features the words “For the glory of old IU ” — a line from IU fight song “Indiana, Our Indiana.” It also includes a vintage lamp post and the old-style trident. Toward the bottom are the words “Never” on the left and “daunted” on the right — also words from the fight song. The design also includes lots of swirly imagery to resemble and old piece of art.

The deadline to enter a design was Sept. 29. A review committee chose three finalists in early October, and online voting took place Oct. 9 to 13.

Cosner said voting was so close that he was checking the updated poll percentages constantly. He said he was relieved and excited when informed Oct. 16 that he’d won.

“It’s super cool,” Cosner said. “It’s nice to see your design, and someone else liked it enough that they purchased a shirt with your design on it. It’s cool to see other people enjoying your work.”

The experience now has Cosner thinking about tapping into his creative side more by taking some graphic design classes as electives.

“I would be interested in doing some more classes, learning more, being more creative,” he said.

Kirk Johannesen is a communications consultant in the Office of the Vice President for Communications and Marketing.