Haliburton Highlands Secondary School Grade 10 student Colleen Petric, who designed the Barnum Creek Reserve logo, is warmed by the afternoon light, breaking through the canopy of the woods at the Reserve./DARREN LUM Staff

Paths of creativity forged in Barnum Creek logo design process for student

By Darren Lum

Leaving an impression on the world is what many artists look to achieve.

When Colleen Petric, a Grade 10 Haliburton Highlands Secondary School student from the Carnarvon area, was chosen by her teacher to help create a logo for the Barnum Creek Reserve, she welcomed the opportunity.

It would be her first logo and another creation to add to her growing portfolio of work for school and for future ambitions. She said it enabled her to grow as a designer and as an artist.

In acknowledging the legacy associated with popularized logos in the public sphere, she appreciated that idea.
“I’m just very thankful that I got this opportunity … ” she said.

Under the stewardship of the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust, the Reserve and its several hundreds of acres was made possible by the donation of the Dobrzensky family. Since it officially opened this past autumn with an official opening ceremony with local politicians, members and executive of the Land Trust and the Dobrzensky family that included Leopoldina (now passed) and daughter Margaret, it has become one of the most popular destinations for area residents and visitors looking to embrace nature, whether for a hike, a bike ride or snowshoe adventure close to Haliburton.

Colleen worked with the Land Trust’s Barnum Creek Nature Reserve working group to design the Reserve’s logo, which is a circle with a black outline, containing a black coniferous tree set on the right against white, located on a green hill with a blue creek, representing Barnum Creek going from left to right, and in the upper left of the circle are the words Barnum Creek Nature Reserve set against white. The working group set out parameters and provided the arts student with background and advice on the design. She started with a rendering in her sketchbook and then took her design, transferring it to her digital workspace and used the free app, Sketchpad.io. It took her close to 20 hours over the course of two months to complete.

The working group chose to select a student, believing it would be a great opportunity for a local youth.
“We thought of the art students at the high school. It would be a great way to raise awareness to Barnum to the
students because eventually I think, once we’re allowed, we’d like to get students involved at Barnum in some capacity,” working group member Rosie Kadwell said.

Kadwell, who said she loved what Colleen did, said the logo has been well-received.

She contacted HHSS teacher and art department head Karen Gervais for help with the selection.

Colleen said her teacher, who had just taught her in Grade 11 open level painting after teaching her in Grade 9 and 10 visual arts courses, selected her for her artistic skills and her connection to nature.

Gervais described her student as someone who “puts 110 per cent into everything she undertakes.”

She continued, “For a young artist, she makes sophisticated use of the creative process and thoroughly experiments with design possibilities. She shows a strong capacity for self-reflection and awareness of strengths in her work and areas she still needs to revise and push. Colleen is also very receptive to constructive feedback and embraces criticism. She shows a lot of professionalism here and realizes the importance of this in the design process – especially when collaborating with a group or organization.”

Gervais said she has worked with Colleen towards designing a certificate and promotional materials for the high school’s Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion training program, as well as creating an illustrated visual to support a new phonics program being published by the Trillium Lakelands School District School Board next fall.

The Grade 10 student, who would welcome another logo opportunity if it came up, acknowledges that she underestimated the amount of work that was required to create a logo, including not just the creative aspect, but the give and take related to communicating with the working group.

The collaboration is something that worked well, Kadwell said.

“She was very efficient. Obviously her artwork is great and conversing back and forth by email she’d respond right away. She came up with a draft and I presented it to the working group and of course provided some feedback and then was able to take our feedback and tweak it and come up with the logo we have today,” she said.

Having spent years on various committees developing logos, Kadwell said they can take the longest due to the back-and-forth that is required during the process, but with this it was streamlined and quick.

Colleen adds from the original design there wasn’t too much that changed except for the colours. There was a blue sky instead of the white and the type face was different. The colour change, she said, was to ensure the creek element would stand out more with white. Her favourite part of the logo is the tree because of its details. She adds the circular shape is representative of the sun and contrasts with the rectangular shape of the Land Trust logo. She adds the colour green in the logo represented nature and the inclusion of the coniferous tree is indicative of what is at the reserve, she said.

Kadwell said the working group wanted a logo that was memorable and simple, which was related to how it can be in colour or converted to black and white. The logo can be used for road signs, brochures and for promoting events at the property, and is helpful when applying for grants, Kadwell adds. Another key element for the logo was that the creek had to be represented.

Before the work began, Kadwell provided Colleen with the history of Barnum Creek, an electronic file of the Barnum Creek Reserve brochure, and tips related to designing a logo, including the elements for what the Land Trust wanted, which was a simple design, with few words. Also, she encouraged Colleen to visit the Reserve to gain a sense of the place.

Colleen said she was left with a sense of appreciation and wonder after her visit. It inspired her in her efforts to create the logo. It made her think of how the Land Trust was entrusted with the stewardship of the Barnum Creek Reserve, which is located a few kilometres from Haliburton, accessed from Gould Crossing Road off of County Road 1.

“I thought it was very thoughtful of Leopoldina and Margaret to donate the land. It’s just a really great property and it was a really good experience,” she said, referencing her first visit.

A few weeks ago she got to see an image of her logo on a road sign for the first time and said seeing her hard work up on the road sign on County Road 1 was pretty surreal.

The Grade 10 student said the design of the logo has the additional benefit of being able to direct the public to the Barnum Creek Reserve, including young people like her.

The property is a beautiful place and ties in with her appreciation for the natural world.

“It’s always played a huge role in my life, living out in the country and I just like nature,” she said.

She adds she moved up here from Kitchener when she was three years old with her family, who has embraced country life, composting and using the lumber on the property to heat their home.

Her advice to designers embarking on creating a logo is to pay attention to colour and the little details, such as the size of elements, which make a significant difference to a viewer. With the logo, she said the tree is an example that reminds her of this, and that the placement of a line has significance.

Gervais said Colleen’s potential is unlimited.

“Not only are Colleen’s artistic skills, creativity and design sense very strong, but her passion, ambition and commitment to personal growth and helping others will serve her well on whatever path she follows in life!” she wrote.