This Year's Festival is Dedicated to
When I sold three ewes to David Ashton in 1985, little did I know what an impact he would have on the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival over the years. As we walked down the driveway to his car, he whispered, “I am a graphic designer, and I will do all your work for free.” Without hesitation, I took him up on that offer, and we have been fast friends ever since.
David Ashton is one of the top graphic designers in the United States. His work extends from commercial and institutional development to books and exhibits. Many of us may know his work from a more specialized perspective: David’s team at Ashton Design has designed all the graphic elements for great baseball stadium renovations, including Fenway Park, Turner Field, and Camden Yards. So it is no surprise that the logo he designed for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is now recognized around the world as our brand.
The posters that David designs for us – from which spring the catalog covers, T-shirts, and other art elements – earn enormous recognition. Even though we’ve gone from a very traditional look to modern interpretations and back again, David’s graphic standards hold true year after year. Sheep enthusiasts around the world love our look.
David’s first catalog cover appeared in the spring of 1986. The 26 covers since then each began with raw images from artists who come to us via a nationwide contest, or a specific commission, or sheer luck. From these, David selects a few possibilities. I always enjoy the winter day when I go down to David’s studio to review his selections. It’s hard to predict which image will rise to the top, but somehow – thanks to the talented designers in David’s studio – everything falls together. Sometimes, the image that seems to be the least promising turns into a design that looks fabulous on a best-selling T-shirt. David and his team make this look simple, but so much goes into the clean, professional look that we present to the world.
Thank you, David, for your loyalty and dedication to us. Your beautiful designs are our public face, and they make selling our products easy. Perhaps more than anyone, you have put this festival on the map.