Google Fiber taps UofL alums for design work
City leaders were thrilled to welcome Google Fiber to town this year. The company is developing a fiberoptics network to deliver ultrafast internet capability across the city, starting with three underserved neighborhoods.
Two alums of Hite Art Institute’s graphic design program got to be part of the action.
The company tapped Ashley Trommler, who graduated in 2011, to design the graphics for its installer vans. They also commissioned Carrie Donovan, class of 2016, to design a building mural in Portland, one of the first neighborhoods to receive the service.
“While, yes, I’m stoked to have Google on my resume, this project meant so much more than that,” Trommler said. “I’m honored to be a small part of something so monumental for our city.”
Trommler said Google reached out to several Louisville designers in June to submit concepts for the van design.
“They gave us a lot of freedom,” she said. “It had to contain ‘Louisville’ in the text, no Google branding, represent our city in a unique way, and be inclusive and mindful of the city’s diversity and not isolating in any way.”
Trommler immediately got going, waking up at 5 a.m. for several days on her family vacation to hammer out concepts. She ended up presenting three different designs that included a breakdown of symbols and meanings and mockups on the actual van. Six days later, she received an e-mail from Google Fiber saying they loved her artwork and wanted to work with her exclusively.
Trommler, who is the art director at Fieldtrip marketing agency, spent the next month tweaking the design, knowing that Google Fiber would launch this fall.
She wanted her design to convey the overall southern hospitality that Louisville is known for. She used a light-hearted color palette and playful “Hey Y’all” banner to give that friendly Louisville feeling.
“In a community that is saturated with amazing design talent, I tend to fall victim to imposter syndrome more often than I’d like to admit,” she said. “This partially became a project to prove to myself that yes, I can do work for Google and it’s going to be great.”
Donovan answered a call for murals from Louisville Visual Art, a partner with Google Fiber, and was one of three artists chosen to complete murals in the company’s initial neighborhoods. She worked with The Table, a non-profit, pay-as-you-can restaurant in Portland, to come up with a mural design that represents their mission.
“Letting the community shine was really important to Google Fiber, and I love that they are supporting the arts and neighborhoods in Louisville,” said Donovan, who works as a graphic designer at the Speed Art Museum.
Her design says “Portland flows with promise” which represents all that happens in the Promise Building (of which The Table Cafe is a part). The semicircle and banner shape connect the different spaces in the building visually and the type style and layout represent ‘flow’ as Portland is near the river and the work that happens in the Promise Building flows into the community.
“My experience at Hite prepared me so well for a project like this, especially my letterforms class with Professor Steve Skaggs and Design for Public Issues with Leslie Friesen. They taught me to look carefully at type and to manage real life projects,” she said.
Friesen maintains contact with both students and is proud of the work they are producing.
“I’m always impressed by what our alums are doing. It’s a great point of pride to see their work selected for projects like this,” Friesen said.