Written by: Lawrence Chen

Last year, the program Health Care Alliance for Response to Adolescent Depression (HEARD) Alliance, organized by Dr. Meg Durbin of Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), held a logo competition for its new website, heardalliance.org. The competition was opened to high school students in Palo Alto.

After much review from the organizers at PAMF, junior Carolyn Zhou’s design was chosen as prize-winning graphic. She was given $1,000 as a cash reward. Zhou will  now also design a new banner to go along with HEARD Alliance’s website.

Zhou’s interest in graphic design began four years ago, when it stemmed from her passion for other arts. “Before [doing graphic design], I took various design and art classes outside of [Jane Lanthrop Stanford] Middle School,” she said.

However, Zhou started really getting into graphic design fairly recently. “I’ve been interested in design as far back as seventh grade, I remember,” Zhou said. “I started Graphic Design [last year] when I took the class, and I am now taking Advanced Graphic Design.”

Though the competition was initiated last year, Zhou did not know about it until early this year when graphic design teacher Mark Gleason told her about it. Upon hearing about the competition, Zhou was interested immediately. “I was driven to make the design mostly because I am really interested in logo design and such, and this was an opportunity to see my work actually being displayed and used,” Zhou said. “The best part about designing is seeing your design be put to use.”

In the process of making the logo for HEARD Alliance, Zhou chose to make a clever play on words. Mainly, she incorporated the fact that the organization’s name is “HEARD.” “I looked up some logos that had ears integrated in the design, and I took bits and pieces from what I found and combined it with my own thoughts,” Zhou said.

While working on her design, Zhou encountered some minor discouragements. “It was a bit of a challenge working in a classroom where others were working on the same project, and you could see theirs and think, ‘wow that’s really good,’” Zhou said.  “I mean, you could get discouraged, but sometimes, it also influences your ideas so everyone and their neighbors end up having about the same design. But in the end, you have to look at your own work and think of ways to make it stand out from the others.”

Ultimately, Zhou’s final product took about two months to finalize as she and HEARD Alliance organizers at PAMF emailed each other back and forth, the organizers giving their input and Zhou making tweaks to her design.

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