JMU Police Department (JMU PD) vehicles will have a new look this fall. Andrew Genese, senior media arts and design (SMAD) major, recently worked with JMU PD to rethink and redesign the appearance of the department’s cars. All JMU PD cars will show the new design by mid-November.
Within SMAD, Genese has an interactive design concentration, meaning he focuses on delivering multimedia content such as text, images, audio, video and and websites.
In May, Genese said Anthony Matos, JMU PD chief of police, approached him and asked for a favor: to help redesign and make physical adjustments to the picture, emblem, patch and appearance of JMU PD cars to get rid of its old “’80s vibe” design. The old design had big streaks of purple and gold and thick block letters.
Genese, however, said he wasn’t paid to work on the redesign — he volunteered.
“I did this out of kindness,” Genese said. “My dad was a federal agent, so I said to myself, ‘You know what? I love the school and I love what the PD does. They’re the reason we can feel safe on campus, so I’m going to do this for free.’”
Additionally, Genese said his ties to law enforcement were another driving factor to work with JMU PD on the redesign project.
“I come from a law enforcement family,” Genese said, “and I’m very fortunate that I’ve had good experiences with police in my life. I recognize that there’s a lot of people who have not, so I kind of saw this opportunity to maybe help change that … I hope this design helps continue promoting a positive image and reputation for JMU PD.”
Matos worked with Genese to achieve the redesign.
“I was thrilled that the redesign was a collaboration between us and our student body,” Matos said. “It was fantastic to have our students’ voice and participation and have JMU be incorporated into the new design.”
Genese said he intended to take a minimalistic approach on the redesign and began by asking Matos what direction JMU PD wanted to take the project. Genese said Matos emphasized that he wanted students to think of the JMU PD cars as their primary source of safety, or a “guardian” on campus, and for the design to reflect that.
Afterward, Genese said he began working on completely changing the design and giving it a brand-new appearance using the design software Adobe Illustrator.
Genese said he started with a blank Ford Explorer and “played around” with different shapes and ideas. Eventually, Genese said, he decided to accent the lines of the car to give it an angular, modern look.
Genese designed the new cars’ new image to have a contemporary look and kept the design under the midline of the cars to have what’s known as “negative” or “white” space — the area of the design that’s left empty. The new design, Genese said, has a gold, purple, black and silver theme, with a gold stripe on the bottom of the car and a rectangle of purple and black hugging the fenders.
Genese said the typeface he and Matos chose for the word “police” on the design was the most “thought through” aspect of the whole project — they didn’t want the font to be the typical, thick lettering.
He put a lot of space in between each letter, with a “loud stroke” of silver outlining them. Matos said the new design draws a lot of compliments, since it brings out “the national prominence of JMU.”
“We’re thrilled with how the new designs turned out,” Matos said. “It really ties in JMU and ties us in with our sister police organization — the Harrisonburg Police Department.”
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