Meet Matthew, Leading Edge logo designer

Last summer, we held a logo design contest to help spread the word about the Leading Edge Teen Advisory Board (LETAB), one of the library’s Teen Services initiatives.

A volunteer group for students ages 13-17, LETAB’s mission is to offer guidance and a teen-centered perspective to the Oak Park community and the Teen Services team.

‘One of my more stellar young people’

Matthew Erlec (pictured above), who is 15 and attends St. Ignatius College Prep, created the winning logo. For this he earned $200 in prize money and community recognition. Two runners-up were also recognized for their work, earning $150 and $75, respectively.

“Each one of you all are winners in my eyes,” Teen Services Manager Stephen Jackson told them during the logo reveal last fall.

“Matthew is one of my more stellar young people,” added Billy Brooks, who facilitates the library’s Living History Project, a youth leadership development program that Matthew participates in.

“The key to what we’re doing is empowering young people to be leaders,” Brooks said.

Matthew’s winning design will be used for Leading Edge initiatives such as events, programming, and promotional items, including the sweatshirt he’s wearing in the photo above!

‘I want to have a career in public service’

Recently, Teen Services Specialist Darcel Washington asked Matthew a few questions. Here’s what he told her:

What inspires you?

I am inspired by my mom and people who work hard to improve the lives of others.

What was your inspiration for the logo?

My inspiration for the logo was the style of the Oak Park Library’s logo and advertising. 

The library’s logo (left) and Matthew’s logo for Leading Edge (right)

What was your process?

I knew I wanted to do something green because it is the color of youth and growth, which the program is centered around. Green is also my favorite color.

To represent the “Leading” aspect of the Leading Edge name, I added black pointers/arrows on both vertical sides of the green design.

To stick with the Oak Park Library’s theme, I designed a book symbol for the center and used a similar font to the library’s logo.

How confident were you that you were going to win the contest? 

I was not confident that I would win the contest, but I was hopeful for second or third place. I was not sure how many people entered, but I was sure that with the creativity of this community, there would be some great designs. This was proven to me when I saw the other finalists’ designs.

What did you do with your winnings?

I put my winnings into savings and plan to put them into long-term investments.

Tell us something about yourself that you would want the world to know about you.

I want to have a career in public service.