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NewsSep 19, 2017

Students design Lesley University flag

Our first flag embodies growth, movement and community

A group of Lesley students’ hard work is flying high in Cambridge.

The 108-year-old university recently raised our first official flag, the culmination of a semester-long, student-led design project.

The bold and sophisticated design – featuring two shades of Lesley green and “Lesley” in crisp white lettering – is soaring over University Hall on Porter Campus and flying next to Founder’s Hall on Doble Campus.

“It’s really exciting to see it come to life,” says student Christine Lopez Corado, who created the flag with fellow design majors Michael Coleman and Raine Ferrin.

Students Michael Coleman, Raine Ferrin and Christine Lopez Corado hold the new Lesley flag that they designed.
Students (l to r) Michael Coleman, Raine Ferrin and Christine Lopez Corado display the new Lesley flag that they designed.

The talented trio put their studies and knowledge to work to complete the entire process, from research and design prototyping, all the way up through a panel presentation with President Jeff Weiss and other university stakeholders and the final design selection.

They were inspired by values of community, inclusivity and innovation as they brainstormed the design principles for the flag project.

“Lesley is an energetic, interdisciplinary environment that is experiencing tremendous growth intellectually and socially,” says Ferrin.

Adds Coleman, “We were going for a design that expressed Lesley’s values of togetherness and family.”

Becoming flag designers

Struck by the absence of a flag when he arrived at Lesley in 2016, President Weiss conceived of the idea of a Lesley flag. He tapped College of Art and Design professor Heather Shaw to herald the project, which she opened up to all design students.

Students work on prototype designs for the Lesley flag
Students work on the initial prototyping process and review thumbnail designs.

It was the first flag that any of the students had designed, and they engaged in extensive research at the outset. As artists, they are accustomed to design challenges.

“We really worked to understand Lesley and understand our community so that we would not speak for it, but embody it,” says Corado.

Adds Coleman, “As designers, we’re supposed to be problem-solvers.”

Guided by standards set by the North American Vexillological Association (vexillology is the study of flags) and informed by Lesley’s logo, the students embraced the principles of good flag design, including bold shapes that can be seen from a distance and a maximum of three distinct colors.

A larger group of around 20 students worked on the initial prototyping process and created a series of thumbnails.

“It was good to have lots of people and variations and to use everybody’s ideas,” says Ferrin.

“This was an interesting design challenge for the students. They had to capture the spirit of the institution within a multitude of constraints,” says Shaw, who is chair of the design department and served as a faculty advisor throughout the project. “I am so moved by their commitment, imagination, and vision for the project.”

The students completed the project over the course of the Spring 2017 semester. The flag was committed to fabric over the summer and raised at the start of the fall semester.

“It gives me a large sense of pride to provide the flag design for Lesley and its students, and to be able to see it fly,” says Ferrin.

The new Lesley flag features two shades of Lesley green and the name “Lesley” in crisp white lettering.
The final design of the new Lesley flag.

Notes President Weiss, “The new flag represents not only our pride in Lesley, but also the enormous amount of talent within our students and what they can accomplish when they think critically, work creatively, and act collaboratively.”

About the artists

Michael Coleman is a senior who grew up in Dorchester and Weymouth, Massachusetts. He studied at Massasoit Community College before transferring to our College of Art and Design, which he chose because he was impressed by student and faculty work and knew he would be challenged here. After graduation, he hopes to work for a branding agency.

Christine Lopez Corado is a junior from Waltham, Massachusetts. She applied to Lesley after someone from the College of Art and Design visited her high school art class and prompted her to attend a tour, during which she connected with what she described as kind people who want to improve the world. After earning her BFA, she hopes to have a multi-faceted career as a graphic designer working with different communities and people.

Raine Ferrin is a junior from Tewksbury, Massachusetts. She discovered Lesley toward the end of her college search, and was immediately drawn to the community upon her first visit – and then came for five more tours and workshops before she enrolled. She hopes to work as a designer with a wide variety of clients after graduation.