Behind the design: Community college helping community radio
KAXE collaborated with North Hennepin Community College’s Graphic Design Program to create a design worthy of 40 years of phenology on KAXE with John Latimer. Oyin Omole won our nature-loving hearts with her design.
GRAND RAPIDS — “Initially how it started was looking at the tree lines of the pine, white pine trees, and I realized they kind of looked like sound waves put together,” said Oyin Omole, a graphic design student at North Hennepin Community College.
Oyin’s original design is featured on KAXE’s new T-shirt honoring 40 years of Phenology, nature programming created by Staff Phenologist John Latimer. The anniversary is also the theme of KAXE / KBXE’s fall membership drive.
From its beginnings as the observations of a rural mail carrier to the program’s recent years — when funding from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resourced helped it grow — Phenology is a familiar cornerstone of the KAXE Morning Show.
The inclusion of Phenology Coordinator Charlie Mitchell and the weekly Season Watch Newsletter, as well as training for teachers across the state, expanded John’s impact. And this design collaboration is another way John’s appreciation for nature is spreading.
KAXE Marketing and Social Media Manager Maria Hileman said, “I first wanted to bring in John himself and say what criteria for a design T-shirt he was looking for.”
John requested native plants and native animals, and as he put it, “I’m looking for something to be very eye-catching, kind of further away that draws you near.”
Turns out that’s a perfect description of Phenology. Each and every Tuesday morning, John draws us near, through his passion for nature.
Jason Schoch is a faculty member at North Hennepin Community College in the graphic design program. His ad on LinkedIn looking for projects for his graphic arts students led to Oyin’s winning design.
“Who knows what could happen,” Jason said. “I was thrilled to get the response from Maria and KAXE, and when I realized, ‘Oh wow, community radio,’ I thought, ‘What could be better?’ Community college helping community radio.”
From there, Jason presented the information to his class, and after multiple meetings and late-night consultations with KAXE, Oyin’s design was chosen.
Jason said real-world experience is critical for the student’s careers, as they were tasked with “trying to come up with concepts that would hit the targets that were set up for us.”
Oyin’s design and process
As it turns out, the winning design was a last-minute suggestion, not even intended to enter the contest.
After seeing all her classmates' entries and listening to Maria, Oyin said the idea came to her of combining nature with the visual of radio waves.
Not only did the design fit the bill, but she also learned something herself — and is noticing nature.
“Even just researching about phenology and more about your radio station and stuff, I learned so much more,” Oyin said. “Now when I’m driving, I pay attention more. … It taught me a lot, too.”
Phenology program on KAXE celebrates 40 years
All this week on KAXE’s on-air fundraiser, people from around the region and in other parts of the country have stressed how much they have learned from Phenology.
As former Forestview Middle School phenology report contributor in the early 2000s, Ben Stubbs said, “I hope John knows how grateful we all are.”
Looking to the future of Phenology (he’s not retiring!), remember John’s pithy statement: onward and awkward!