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Davidson Park selects Communication Design student work

When Harley-Davidson Inc. began visualizing a community park on its historic factory grounds, the motorcycle company turned to students at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) for creative solutions.

Davidson Park, a 4.8 acre park that opened in June 2024, was developed based on input from area community members, residents of Milwaukee’s Near West Side. Envisioned as a hub of community activity, the park “features unique design elements, natural beauty, and free amenities for daily enjoyment and special events,” according to the Harley-Davidson website.

Some of those unique design elements originated at MIAD. Students in Communication Design professor Adam Setala’s Branding & Design for Sports course developed designs for a cast iron medallion four feet in diameter to be placed in the center of the park, also known as The Hub. Harley-Davidson worked with the students and selected one design that they felt represented the Near West Side community.

Megan Huss ’24 (Communication Design) created the design that was installed at Davidson Park during their opening ceremony on June 24, 2024. “I was honored but also a bit surprised that my design was chosen for the final medallion, as there were so many amazing designs from my classmates,” says Huss. “I feel very honored that the team at Harley chose my design not only for the confidence boost but also for the incredible opportunity for my design to be seen by thousands of people visiting the [park].”

To honor the neighborhood and community, Harley-Davidson requested a design that represented the history and culture of the seven neighborhoods that make up the Near West Side. “I immediately thought of different iconic or recognizable buildings or structures that reside in each respective neighborhood,” explains Huss. “It was a bit of a challenge to represent each neighborhood equally while also making the design cohesive. I relied on the critiques from my classmates as well as my professor to refine my original concept.”

In addition to working with Communication Design students at MIAD, Harley-Davidson worked with high school students in MIAD’s Design Internship program to design unique brick bays for the park. These are located in various walkways throughout Davidson Park.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity that MIAD as well as Harley-Davidson has given me to be able to showcase my work and continue to grow as a designer,” finishes Huss.

Keep up with Huss on her website, explore Harley-Davidson’s new Davidson Park and learn more about MIAD’s Communication Design major!

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