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Wednesday, Sep. 19, 2012

Winners design literary ads for Johnson County Library trucks

Special to The Olathe News

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Carroll’s Mat Hat Emporium. Peter Pan’s Flight School. Rapunzel’s Custom Wigs. Sherlock’s Pipe & Tobacco.

No, these aren’t new Johnson County businesses.

They’re this year’s winning designs for the Johnson County Library’s delivery trucks.

Sally Carmichael of Lenexa and Cambria DeLee, a Johnson County native who now lives in Nashville, won the library system’s first design-a-truck contest, which asked patrons to create fake ads featuring famous characters from literature.

The trucks were unveiled this month, are already making deliveries to libraries around Johnson County.

Carmichael, a graphic design student at the University of Kansas, was floored when she saw her hard work splashed upon the massive trucks at a special ceremony where the winning works were introduced to the public.

“I’m kind of in shock because seeing my design in person is so different than a class project,” she said. “I’m excited to show my professors.”

The 20-year-old woman entered the contest on a whim, hoping at least one of her three entries — Peter Pan’s Flight School, Rapunzel’s Custom Wigs, and Sherlock’s Pipe & Tobacco — would win. She was stunned to learn all three had made the cut.

“It’s cool being a part of something I saw growing up,” she said. “Maybe some kid watching my designs drive by will be inspired.”

Judges received 19 entries for the contest.

And choosing the winner was no easy task, said Kasey Riley, communications manager for the Johnson County Library System.

“One of the most exciting parts was that we received entries from people of all ages,” she said. “We even had an 8-year-old hand draw a sketch, which was just as much a contender as any of the others. The quality of work of all the entries far exceeded my expectations.”

In the end, a panel of judges chose the designs that they felt best showcased creativity, innovation and high quality.

The Barkley advertising agency originally designed the campaign for the Johnson County Library in the summer of 2009 at no charge. Johnson County drivers began to see trucks emblazed with ads for Benjamin Button’s Diaper Service, Kafka’s Pest Control, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s Pharmacy and Captain Ahab’s Seafood. The campaign earned the library system national publicity and even a handful of awards.

It also caused a ripple within the community.

“We’ve received some very interesting feedback over the years,” Riley said. “There were people who really thought the Moby Dick truck was advertising an actual seafood company.”

The contest held this year was meant to inspire creativity among patrons and promote community outreach.

The winning designs will remain on the trucks for the next three years.

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