Amish Acres

Amish Acres® Historic Farm and Heritage Resort is Listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is America's most complete Amish heritage experience featuring historic interpretation, culinary and performing arts, lodging, and shopping.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Leprechaun

While visiting Disney's Magic Kingdom recently, I did a lot of tee shirt watching while standing in line with my three year old granddaughter waiting for Mickey Mouse's autograph. This one with the silhouette of the Notre Dame Fightin' Irish Leprechaun called to mind that it was designed by artist Ted Drake. It is the nation's most famous college mascot logo (He also designed the Chicago Bulls logo).

I sought him out in 1965, the year after he designed the Leprechaun, to design a logo for Pletcher Furniture Village before Amish Acres existed. Fresh out of college, I was intrigued by the modern logo design being done by Alexander Girrard, George Nelson, Charles Eames, and other modernists. Drake was well known in the field of sports art, but also had done some stylized oil paintings of Amish buggies, one of which hung in the local bank lobby. I met with him and philosophized about the goals of a new logo for our store. He designed what became known as the Sweet Pea, a burnt orange serifed letter "P" with a woodblock effect featuring a reversed flower making up the center of the letter. It captured the essence of our establishment.

Here is his original design for the Leprechaun that shows the mischievous elf of Irish folklore in Drake's unique genius. Unfortunately Notre Dame has seen fit to adapt Drake's design and move from the mischievous to the sinister; perhaps, an appropriate sign of the direction college athletics is taking. It does better reflects the current state of student athletes whose eligibility often hinges on their last arrest and the oft discovered rewards for winning at all costs, whether through illegal body or monetary enhancement.

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