Select Page

MIAD students help mattress company replace “tired” mascot

Oct 23, 2018

MILWAUKEE (October 23, 2018) … Most people replace their mattress after about 10 years. Illustration students from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) offered their ideas to replace “Mattie the Mattress Man,” the mascot for Verlo Mattress for the past 20 years.

Joseph Masini

Joseph Masini, 1st Place

The top five student designs were unveiled today in the college’s Student Union.

“The Early Bird” designed by Joseph Masini of Rhinelander, Wis. was chosen the winner by Verlo executives, winning Masini a $1,000 award. The other finalists were “The Good Knight Sleep” by Raphael Miller of Appleton, Wis., “Verlo Firefly” by Kyle DeGroot of Weyauwega, Wis., “Queen Mattress” by Vincent Geenen of Little Chute, Wis. and “Ms. V Needlework” by Raegan Koenig of Abilene, Kansas. Each of the four runners-up received $125 prizes. All of the students who submitted mascot designs were awarded premium organic travel pillows.

“We felt it was a good time to re-examine what type of mascot would better reflect our brand and mission as a modern sleep products company helping people to sleep better. So we were eager to see what the students’ vision for our company could be,” said Dirk Stallman, Verlo vice president of marketing. “We knew MIAD often partners with local businesses to give their students real-life experience while providing fresh ideas from soon-to-be design professionals.”

“Our students really embraced this challenge,” said MIAD President Jeff Morin. “We’re helping a well-respected Wisconsin manufacturer and retailer redefine its brand as it expands it footprint nationwide. This is a great opportunity for our students to build their portfolios with a challenge they’ll face with clients in their careers.” 

Verlo winners

Illustration Professor Andy Bernier, Vincent Geenan, Raegan Koenig, Joseph Masini, Raphael Miller, MIAD President Jeff Morin and Verlo Vice President of Marketing Dirk Stallmann.

As part of a fun class project earlier this year, Verlo challenged sophomore Illustration students to design a new mascot for the company. The company asked students if the mascot should remain a mattress, if the character should be a man or woman or what else it could be, and what would best represent Verlo’s commitment to helping people to improve their sleep. In all, 44 mascot designs were submitted by students.

“Changing or updating a mascot is something that deserves careful consideration,” said Andy Bernier, a MIAD instructor.  “Bango of the Milwaukee Bucks and Bucky Badger of the University of Wisconsin have all gone through updates, while other entities have retired mascots.”

Founded in 1958 in Fort Atkinson, Wisc. by two men who named the company for their wives (Verna and Lois), Verlo Mattress has 22 locations in Wisconsin and 13 more in  Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri.

About Verlo Mattress

Verlo is passionate about helping people find the right sleep products – at the best prices – because so much depends on a good night’s rest. Verlo mattresses are built in local Verlo factories, sold at consumer-direct prices and serviced locally with a Lifetime Comfort Guarantee. Founded in 1958, Verlo has locations nationwide, and a strong footprint in its home state of Wisconsin. For Franchise opportunities, contact or 414-312-5036. For more information about Verlo products or to find the closest location, go to

About the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design

As an accredited, nonprofit, MIAD provides a transformative four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts education that prepares students of diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds for fulfilling and financially rewarding careers. MIAD fosters innovative, entrepreneurial and disruptive thinking that benefits our students and our corporate and nonprofit partners. MIAD also brings robust career pathways and college-readiness experiences to high school youth and provides cultural experiences and programming to the Greater Milwaukee community.