For the Love of Wheeler: Designing WSPA’s New Logo

February 2, 2022

The Wheeler School Parent Association logo, which is a purple square with yellow lettering that reads "WSPA". The top of the P has a heart shape cut-out, and the WS is stacked on top of the PA.

The Wheeler School Parents Association has always been at the heart of Wheeler–and now WSPA has a logo to match thanks to Alyssa Zelman P’19, P’22. We talked with her about the design process and how being a Wheeler parent inspired her work on this project and others throughout the years.

Q: Before we discuss the logo, can you tell me a bit about your experience as a Wheeler parent?

A: Yes, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around it, but after 17 years as a Wheeler parent, I will soon be “graduating.” My husband came to Open House in 2003 and called me right after spending time in the Kindergarten room (with legendary teachers Caroline Fields and Tedd Merlan) and said: “This is the one.” And he was absolutely right. I love the way Wheeler helps kids discover their special spark and then nurtures and supports that, so each kid really gets a chance to shine in their own way — that’s something I’ve seen at every grade level. Other highlights of being a parent have been volunteering in Lower School classrooms (getting to be a part of Frontier Day!), and in Middle School, the Farm meal the 6th-graders prepare for their parents is really special. More recently, I’ve enjoyed reading/re-reading some of the books they read, like The Glass Castle or The Catcher in the Rye and having great book talks.

Q. In addition to being a Wheeler parent, you’re also a graphic designer. How did you approach the design process for the WSPA logo, and–while the heart that is incorporated into the logo says a lot–what was your inspiration for the design?

A graphic that reads "We love you Faculty & Staff! Thank you, Wheeler School Parents Association. The background is purple with part of the Wheeler "W" logo, and the lettering is white and yellow with the word "love" appearing as a yellow heart.

A. Last year, WSPA President Anne Wert asked me to design an entrance gate banner that read ”We ♥ you Faculty & Staff! Thank you, Wheeler Parents Association” (see below). It’s simple but says it all (credit to the originator of that concept!) I think that was one of the main inspirations for the new WSPA logo (see below). There was also another WSPA project last year that incorporated the heart — the Wheeler Faculty & Staff are Sensational mugs (see below) So the heart theme has been brewing…

The new WSPA logo is purple and gold (of course!) chunky letters that are stacked (for readability at a small size on social media), with the heart at the center.

I think good design evokes some type of feeling while conveying information– and the heart does so much in that regard. There was a bumper sticker that used to be at the bookstore “I ♥ Wheeler” (an homage to the iconic I♥NY). I would love to see that re-issued! So the heart is obviously not an original idea, but I think it says visually and succinctly what WSPA as a parent volunteer organization is all about.

Q. You just mentioned a few Wheeler-related–and heart-related–projects you designed over the last several years. Are there other places that our community members would have seen your work?

A graphic that says "Wheeler Faculty & Staff are Sensational with love from the Wheeler School Parents Association Fall 2020 and a heart. The background is white and the text is purple and yellow. The heart is yellow as well.

A: I love doing Wheeler projects! A favorite has been designing the Faculty and Staff Appreciation luncheon invitation for the past 10 years or so. It’s a fun one because WSPA parents have a LOT of creative energy and ideas, with themes ranging from the Oscars, to Superheroes, to Gardening, and this year (spoiler alert), Tropical Paradise. Also, it’s a natural, because as parents we are so full of appreciation, gratitude, and admiration for the way teachers and staff grow the hearts, minds, and bodies of our kids. I’ve also done some Wheeler logos — GrandFriends Day, Giving Day, Founder’s Society, as well as Clothing Sale promotional materials (highlight: seeing my work on the side of a bus!)

Wheeler Faculty and Staff appreciation luncheon invitation that shows an illustrated beach scene on the front with the stylized words, "Tropical Greetings From WSPA." The back of the invitation includes information about the location and time of the event, as well as a fake stamp in a beach design.

Q. Your youngest child is a senior this year. After spending the last 17 years as the parent of a current Wheeler student (and for a while, two at the same time), how do you feel about transitioning from that experience into being the parent of two Wheeler alumni?

A. I will miss all of it, even the pick-up and drop-off lines on Hope Street! But I am really looking forward to trips out to Bard next year to watch Oliver’s baseball games. And who knows, maybe down the road, in addition to P’19, P’22 after my name, it will say GP as well–my kids aren’t going to see this right?

Parents and guardians, you can find more information about WSPA by visiting the Wheeler School Parents Association section of the Parent and Guardian portal.

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