Editor's Note: This story first appeared in the fall 2017 issue of Concordian, the official magazine of Concordia University Wisconsin. View a PDF version of the magazine here.

Raquel Goutierez designed eight banners that now hang in the host site of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Speedskating Trials.

When the Pettit National Ice Center’s head of marketing charged Raquel Goutierez (’18) and her classmates to create a banner design worthy of the host site for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Speedskating Trials, Goutierez wasn’t sure she wanted to participate.

A graphic design major and marketing minor at Concordia University Wisconsin, Goutierez said she was uncertain whether her skills would hold up next to students from one of the top graphic design schools in the nation.

Imagine her surprise when her design was selected out of a pool of about 30 contenders from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD).

“I really wasn’t thinking I was going to win,” Goutierez said. “Everyone in my MIAD class was so talented, but I’m really honored and excited by it.”

Through Concordia’s collaborative degree program with MIAD, Goutierez spent her fall 2016 semester regularly commuting to the downtown Milwaukee campus to attend classes. It was her MIAD Identity Design class that Kevin Butler, Pettit Center director of marketing, approached with the request for an outstanding design.

“Raquel has been a real pleasure to work with,” said Butler. “We could have chosen to outsource this project and hire a professional company, but we liked the idea of supporting a growing artist. Raquel’s talent did not disappoint.”

Goutierez’s work was installed in July, part of a bevy of upgrades the Pettit Center underwent in preparation for the Olympic Trials, which will take place there in January 2018.

Eight banners, each measuring 16 feet tall by 56 feet wide, now bring life to the Pettit Center’s otherwise stark decor. Each banner features a different silhouette to highlight the Center’s offerings: speedskating, figure skating, hockey, public skating, skating school, curling and indoor track running/walking.

Behind the imagery is an intricate design of wavy lines that seem as though they flow from one banner to the next. Goutierez said she liked the idea of incorporating fluid motion to carry throughout the banners. She chose red, orange and yellow hues to bring warmth to the arena. The blues she worked in to represent ice, the lifeblood of the Pettit Center.

In addition to having her work displayed in a big way for years to come, Goutierez landed an internship with the Pettit Center and spent the better part of her 2016-17 academic year updating and rebranding all of their marketing materials, such as brochures and pamphlets, to complement her winning design.

As a result of her internship, Goutierez also had the privilege of offering a ticket design for the Olympic Trials.

Concordia’s emphasis on service, its size, and its location—rural, but still close to Milwaukee—were selling points for Goutierez when she was looking for universities to attend. The fact that she’s been able to jumpstart her career through the Pettit Center opportunities has been icing on the cake.

“I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without MIAD,” Goutierez said, “but I wouldn’t have traded all that I love about Concordia for anything.”

Concordian magazines hit mailboxes the first week of October. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, call 734-995-7317.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at kali.thiel@cuw.edu or 262-243-2149.

If this story has inspired you, why not explore how you can help further Concordia's mission through giving.