Two Columbus graphic design students will soon see their work displayed on downtown Columbus streets after their designs were selected for the city’s official bicentennial banners.

A series of 11 designs created by Joshua Walls and Jerry Miller, graphic design students at Ivy Tech Community College, were selected to be featured on banners along Washington Street to mark the 200th anniversary of Indiana’s statehood.

The winning designs that were unveiled at the ReThink Design that Matters at Ivy Tech on April 20 will be installed in downtown Columbus this week.

More than 40 designs from Ivy Tech students were submitted to the city as possibilities for the bicentennial banners.

Story continues below gallery

The two students’ concept features a few of Columbus’ most famous landmarks, including First Christian Church and the Chaos sculpture in The Commons.

Walls said when the two were thinking of an idea, they wanted something that reflected the city’s values and engaged and included the entire community.

Each image is accompanied by one word that defines the landmark and Columbus as a whole, Walls said.

For example, the First Christian banner includes the word “Dauntless,” while the banner for Chaos simply says “Chaos.” The Bartholomew County War Memorial, another Columbus landmark included in the banner design,” includes the word “Sacrifice.”

The key words are to give each person viewing the banner a chance to interact with it, Miller said, describing it as a way to stop and think about what they are viewing.

The winning graphic design students spent about two to three weeks working on their concept.

Miller said he was confident their creations would be selected for the downtown banners. But Walls said winning the banner contest was not his goal.

“The thought didn’t cross my mind if I was going to win or not,” Walls said. “I was focused on how I was going to present this to the city and also the impact it would have on the city.”

Walls and Miller said seeing their designs displayed downtown for their friends and neighbors to view will be a humbling experience.

A committee consisting of Mary Ferdon, executive director of administration and community development, Ali Crimmins, special projects coordinator and Pam Lienhoop, wife of Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop, reviewed the submissions and selected the winning design concept.

Although each of the students worked independently when creating their designs, Ferdon said all of the submissions used similar icons in Columbus to inspire the work.

“The banner designs we selected seemed to represent Columbus the best,” Ferdon said. “However, it was difficult because all the students had excellent designs.”

About the banners

The bicentennial banner designs created by Ivy Tech Community College Columbus graphic design students Joshua Walls and Jerry Miller featured 11 Columbus landmarks with a one-word description of the landmarks. Walls and Miller are in their second semester of graphic design classes. The students’ designs will be displayed in downtown Columbus as part of the city’s bicentennial celebration.

Ivy Tech students had eight weeks to create and submit their banner concepts, and a three-person committee of city officials selected the winners. The banners with the winning designs will be installed in downtown Columbus this week.

Where to learn more about the bicentennial

To learn more about the Indiana Bicentennial celebration, visit

To learn about bicentennial events specific to Columbus, select the Events and Programs tab, then select “Legacy Projects” and search for Bartholomew County.

Author photo
Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at or 812-379-5712.