Kushtrim Loshaj vehicle wrap

Penn State Transportation Cars Debut Student-Created Designs

Three new vehicles from Penn State Transportation Services are sporting a look that illustrates a commitment to sustainability, thanks to the creativity of Penn State graphic design students.

At the Campus and Community Sustainability Expo, held on April 25 at the State College Borough Building, three Honda Civics utilizing compressed natural gas (CNG) were unveiled, each featuring a vehicle wrap designed by the students.

Sponsored by the State College Borough and the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, the expo provided teams of Penn State students an opportunity to share their work on projects that support sustainability in the Centre Region. More than 200 students across eight fields of study participated.

The vehicle wrap design competition was part of an advanced course that offers practical design experiences through assignments for various University and not-for-profit community clients. "This particular project gave us the opportunity to work closely with Penn State Transportation Services and the Sustainable Communities Collaborative to help raise awareness of the University's sustainability efforts," says Ryan Russell, associate professor of graphic design and teacher of the class. "Each student from the class was charged with creating a unique and appropriate visual wrap for the new cars."

Penn State Transportation Services operates a diverse fleet of vehicles to faculty, staff, and students for University travel with a focus on efficiency, reliability, economic value, and sustainability. The department's sustainability goals for Penn State include a 20 percent reduction in overall energy usage over the next 10 years and a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

At the Sustainability Expo, the three cars featuring the selected vehicle wraps were parked outside the borough building. The three winning designs, selected from among nine submitted, were created by graphic design students Julie Dietz, Kelsey Stark, and Kushtrim Loshaj.

"It was important to create an eye-catching design that not only evokes a sense of community but also engages the Penn State community in learning energy conservation practices," says Loshaj. Achieving Penn State's 2020 sustainability goals is a collective effort and I made sure to express that in my design."

Loshaj says the most challenging part of the project was to create flat designs that would eventually be wrapped around the vehicle. "We had to not only be aware of the design aesthetically but also how it interacted with the various areas of the vehicle, such as door handles and the outer linings of doors and hoods."

Although as a faculty member, Russell wasn't part of the selection process, he calls the selected designs "thoughtful, beautiful solutions that visually represent efficiency, reliability, economic value, and sustainability."

"It was very exciting to see our designs on the cars at the expo," Loshaj says. "It's not often that you get to see your designs in the real world, especially a car wrap design! I'm glad to know my design will be viewed by thousands of State College residents, including Penn State students and faculty, for the next couple of years. More importantly, it was inspiring to see all the various colleges at Penn State working together for a common goal in achieving Penn State's 2020 sustainability goals. I'm glad to have been a part of it."