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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

May 2, 2012 at 2:25 PM

UW spells identity with a big “W”

uw entrance udab-m.jpg
Remember my sketch of the big “W” sign at the UW? (“Quiet retreat on UW campus,” April 20, 2012)
A reader commented that “to install it, they tore down a beautiful 1920s gothic stone gate.”
I found that hard to believe. I know there are two gothic-style columns on each side of the entrance, but was a 1920s gate really torn down to make room for this big capital letter?
Not at all.
Kristine Kenney, director of campus design and planning, said the “W” replaced a small slab of concrete inscribed with the words “University of Washington.”
That sign was out-of-scale for the Memorial Way entrance and often obscured by plants, said Kenney, who has another location in mind for it: the campus entrance at Northeast 43th Street and 15th Avenue.
The metal “W” that I sketched was installed in the fall of 2010 when the university started rolling out its new brand.
W.jpgMichael Courtney, the local designer who came up with the idea of the giant letter, sent me the sketch of his original concept after seeing my own sketch. He drew it during a meeting with UW representatives and said the actual sketch helped them sell the idea and eventually find donors to build the sign.
Courtney also said UW President Mark Emmert wanted a sign where people would stop to have their photos taken, something emblematic.
I saw some people take photos of it while I was drawing it, so I think the sign is accomplishing its intended purpose.
It also makes a good sketch subject. Have you ever thought of drawing it?
If you do, send me your sketch and I’ll share it on my Facebook page.
“W” sketch courtesy of Michael Courtney Design.

Comments | Topics: U-District, UW

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