Students help prominent gaming artist bring Phoenix to life

Apr 17, 2020
Phoenix Mascot meeting
Several new designs for the Florida Poly Phoenix were shown in different sample applications during a virtual town hall on Thursday, April 16. Students were able to ask questions and provide feedback for the refreshed look of the University’s spirit mark.

The Florida Poly Phoenix will soon have a new, more dynamic look, and students had the opportunity to play a key role in defining its final design during a virtual town hall on Thursday, April 16.

Well-known gaming illustrator Travis Howell led the event and met with about 50 Florida Poly students, faculty, staff, and parents who logged on eager to hear from the artist himself and have a first look at his unique designs. Howell, founder of gaming design company Creative Grenade, was handpicked by the students to take on the future of their spirit mark.

“While I’m putting my best ideas and options forward, it is the students and staff who will be identifying with the Phoenix,” said Howell, who has worked with more than 250 different esport teams, live streamers, and gaming organizations during this 14 year career. “Their input is absolutely crucial to the process because this is their Phoenix.”

Howell presented three concepts that showed distinctive poses, features, and emotions for the Phoenix body and head. Many of the proposed illustrations featured 12 total wings representing Florida Poly as the 12th state university. The bold color purple, a University trademark, was a main focus in the designs. In all of the options, the Phoenix faces the viewer with a purposeful expression, which Howell said represents the ambition and determination of Florida Poly students.

“The idea is for this Phoenix to look proud, tough, like it’s not afraid at all,” Howell said. “The students are so smart and determined, and everything I’ve seen with the University supports my theory that this Phoenix shouldn’t be a typical one you’d see.”

A gradient orange color symbolizing fire was introduced as an option for every image and was very popular among attendees. Some students expressed that they preferred the designs with softer lines while others favored the more angular look. Each concept was presented against different backgrounds and on multiple applications, including merchandise.

Vanessa Lewis, senior graphic designer at Florida Poly, has worked closely with Howell for months on the project. She said these designs are just the first step in a wide, comprehensive effort to refresh the Phoenix mark.

“Next we’ll be exploring the different angles of the Phoenix to provide more variation and usability,” Lewis said. “We are also looking forward to designing really creative animations in the next phase of the project.”

At the end of the town hall, participants were asked to fill out a survey. The feedback will be used to shape the final design of the Phoenix to be revealed just before the start of the fall semester.

The Phoenix has been a symbol of longevity and rebirth since the time of the ancient Greeks. In 2014, the first class of Florida Poly students chose the Phoenix as the University mascot to exemplify the strength, resilience, determination, and power of its student body. It is meant to inspire the entire University community to generate new ideas, continue a lifelong quest for learning, and rise to any challenge.

Lydia Guzman
Director of Communications