Pedaling through funk town
In the fall of 2018, a graphic design class was broken up into teams and began working on a vehicle wrap for a pedal wagon with the city of Dayton as the theme. The winning team got to see their design come to life April 24 on the newly decorated pedal-powered vehicle that will ride around downtown Dayton.
“Pedal Wagon Dayton wanted the focus to be on a particular part of Dayton history, so we focused on a little bit more of an unknown history of Dayton,” said graphic design student Jessica Burnham ’19. “We know Dayton talks about the history of aviation, but it's actually also the birthplace of funk music.”
The idea originally came from a ride the students took to get inspiration. On one of the trips, the pedal wagon made an impromptu stop in front of a wall of murals.
“The whole story behind these murals is about the history of funk and how it helps the people in the community stay in touch with their history and how it inspires other generations as well so we found this to be the most stand out part of our ride,” Burnham said.
The team discussed their extensive design process in a presentation delivered during Stander Symposium. Their process included hand-drawn letters and words to get an authentic funk style, and creating illustrations of funk symbols and Dayton landmarks with a representative color scheme.
Pedal Wagon Dayton opened in 2017. The multi-passenger wagons fit up to 14 people and can host brunches and Dayton-themed trivia nights while pedaling around the city.
“The way we do the wagons now is import them from their original manufacturers in the Netherlands, so we really wanted to connect with local artists,” Jen Bergman, manager of the Pedal Wagon Dayton, said. “There were six teams altogether that presented to us and it was really hard to choose. I’m still trying to push our owners to decorate the other bikes. But we are really happy with the experience we can’t wait to see what peoples reactions are once we start getting it out on the road.”