Friday, March 22, 2013

Feature Friday: Interview with Karen Gerhardt

(photo courtesy of Karen Gerhardt)
NAMHSA recently interviewed Karen Gerhardt, an artist, model horse hobbyist, and graphic designer from Colorado.

NAMHSA: People in the hobby know you for your sculpture, but that isn't all you have done. Can you give us a little of your artistic background and what attracted you to art in the first place?

Karen Gerhardt: I was one of those kids who was "born with it": art plus horses. I've never wanted to do anything else but draw, paint, and sculpt, and (to my art teachers' chagrin) mostly just wanted to create horses. I have an associates degree in visual communication, and a couple years ago retired from a 30-year career in advertising art/graphic design/art direction. I don't have any formal fine art training.

N: How did you come to be involved in the design of the NAMHSA logo? Were you a part of the original group who put NAMHSA together or did you come on board after?

KG: I was the person back in the early 1990's who sparked the initial discussion on the first internet email list ("Haynet") for the hobby. I wrote a wishful-thinking post on how it would be so cool to have a live show circuit for model horses that culminated in a national show every year. And quite a few others online at the time agreed that it would be cool... so I then posted a "Let's Do It!" sort of email, and a bunch of us formed a committee, and that's how NAMHSA got started.

N: Were you given input and ideas from others or were you given free rein to design it on your own? And, for those interested in the "how" part, what programs did you use?

KG: I was a graphic designer at the time, who designed logos and other print materials for a living. So I just volunteered to design the logo; the org needed one pronto. I don't think I even presented more than one logo design, and there was no approval process or anything more formal. I decided to show an english horse and a western horse, with simplistic bits that could also be meant to represent halter horses. The best logos are the simple ones that will reproduce well in any media, from coffee mugs to t-shirts to ads. It was created using Adobe Illustrator.
N: Why was the logo that we are all familiar with chosen to be "the" logo? Why did it represent the organization best that other options did not?

KG: (see above) :)

N: Looking back at it now, what would you change about the logo, if anything?

KG: I could have put more detail into the horse silhouettes. But I created it pretty fast.

N: Are there any other pieces of design work that you have done in the model horse hobby that people may not have known that you had a hand in doing?

KG: I have also designed the logo for the RESS organization, have designed printed materials for both Breyer and Peter Stone company, the BOYCC logo in 2011... probably others I am forgetting!

NAMHSA would like to thank Karen for agreeing to interview with us and for the wonderful logo we've been proud to call our own.  

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