IMU ground floor mural illustrates Herky's history

As the center of student life on campus, the Iowa Memorial Union is constantly evolving. Over the past few years, the IMU has worked to infuse more school spirit into the building. The most recent result of this effort is a new mural, dedicated to our favorite Iowa mascot, Herky the Hawk. 

Located in the ground floor of the IMU outside the Iowa Hawk Shop, the mural took approximately two months to design. I sat down with Jose Recendez, then a student designer at Student Life Marketing and Design, to talk about how a large-scale project like this helped to prepare him for work after graduation. Jose has since been hired on as a professional designer in the Marketing and Design department.

In addition to outlining the history of Herky, and being part of a larger effort to infuse the IMU with Hawkeye black and gold, Recendez noted that the mural is intended to create social media buzz since it makes for a great photo op to share. 

In a tribute to our school’s rich history, the timeline on the mural details all of the mascots that the university has had throughout the years as well as the evolution of Herky the Hawk. The history of Herky was one of four concepts considered. Other potential topics for the mural included a historical timeline of the university, directional arrows, or the university skyline. 

Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop were used to design this piece, two programs Jose became very familiar with in his time as a student working at Marketing and Design. This mural was one of the final projects Jose completed before graduating and taking on his position as a part of the professional staff. “It was a very rewarding experience to take everything I’ve learned here from undergrad and apply it to something I can make for an actual client, not just a class project.”

One of the major differences Jose experiences as a professional staff include just being involved in the work at a higher level. “I have more of a say in the creative process of projects now and there’s definitely an even mix of creation and delegation," he shares. “I take care of print orders, assign projects to students, and give design feedback to them as well.”

Looking ahead, Jose is excited for the fall, as more projects will start rolling in. His favorite aspect of the job, however, is mentoring and collaborating with his student staff. “I really valued the constructive feedback I was given in my undergrad working at Marketing and Design. I can’t wait to provide them with similar advice they too can use outside of whatever projects they’re working on.”

2019 Year In Review

This article is part of the 2019 Year in Review, which highlights some of the Division of Student Life's accomplishments from the previous academic year.

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