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Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

Lynlea Michaels wanted to capture the exhilaration one feels when they first lay eyes on a whale in the ocean.

She drew on her past whale watching experience, most recently in Hawaii, just ahead of the lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“You feel this sense of freedom,” Michaels said. “Obviously, whales are not animals we get the privilege of interacting with very often. If you’re an animal lover, there’s this amazing feeling that comes when you see such an incredible being.”

Lynlea Michaels, of Irvine, designed the winning logo for the Festival of Whales’ 50th anniversary logo contest. Graphic: Lynlea Michaels

Michaels used pencil, pen and Adobe Illustrator to design her submission for the Festival of Whales’ 50th anniversary logo contest. The festival’s foundation announced this month that Michaels is the winner, and her logo will become the official logo of the Festival of Whales’ golden anniversary celebration. This year’s event is set for March 6—a departure from the traditional two-weekend format, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“For this design, I wanted to capture the energy of the ocean and the thrill of seeing such amazing animals playing and enjoying the California sun,” Michaels said. “The groovy text and mid-century colors give a nod to Dana Point’s history as a thriving surf community and the city’s eclectic vibes.”

Michaels’ design was the top vote-getter from among 72 entries in the January public online voting period.

Michaels, an Irvine resident, is a local designer and artist specializing in costume design and fashion illustration. She studied fashion and media in New York City before embarking on several years of world travel and exploration. Now back in Southern California, she is pursuing an advanced degree in Costume Design from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

Michaels’ win cements her place in the Dana Point Festival of Whales’ half-century-long history, placing her among a distinguished and talented group of logo designers including local amateur artists, Dana Hills High School art students and internationally known professional artists such as John Van Hamersveld and Wyland.

“I was really surprised and honored to learn I had won,” Michaels said. “There were a lot of entries that were awesome. I was thrilled. It’s such an honor to have my work shown in that capacity for such a prolific festival. I feel like I’m being part of history.”

The winning logo will appear on Festival of Whales 2021 promotional materials including logo merchandise, print and digital media advertising, the official event program, event signage and news media.

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