Behind the Buttons

Staff Writer
The clicking and clacking of multitudes of machines, all whirring in unison, is a defining characteristic of Spotlight Week. Students deftly design and assemble each of the Spotlight week buttons individually, using a series of machines to print vibrant designs and laminate the designs onto the metal backings.

Buttons and posters alike lay out for purchase during Spotlight week (Ava Welsh).

The buttons are manufactured by UHS’s graphic design students, a group of about 50 students from the three graphics design classes. They are responsible for creating the buttons for every UHS event, from Character Week to Fine Arts Week. Each and every unique button is designed by a student, which is also the reason why there is such a wide variety of buttons. These button designs, unique to each Art Department, teacher, and student, are a hallmark of the Graphic Design program’s work.
The button making process is also no small feat; it is a two-step process, involving design and production. Students usually take about a week to come up with the initial designs. Then, they print out their designs and use special machines to combine the metal button backing with the design of choice. Each student creates their own design, resulting in a plethora of unique buttons available.
The button production scale varies from event to event; for example, Spotlight Week was a relatively small project, because many of the button designs were already completed or recycled from the previous year. Around five people were involved in the production of the buttons for this event. However, for a much bigger event such as the Fine Arts week, where every button and design is created from scratch, a far more people get involved.
“The process for fine arts week buttons will definitely take much longer,” said Nancy Wu (Sr.). Nancy currently supervises the production and construction of all the buttons that the graphics design programs produce. She has been part of the UHS arts core all her high school career.
Almost 140 students are involved each year in the creation process of the Fine Arts Week buttons.
So how did these buttons come to be?
The buttons aren’t just an outlet for students to express and share their creative designs. They are  also a way for the Art department to raise funds. “The buttons originated as fun objects for designers to have real objects to design and sort of as fundraisers.” said the graphic design teacher, Mrs. Dana Kramer (Fine Arts Department).
Originally, making the buttons were meant as a way for designers to create a tangible art project. Now, they have become a tradition at many UHS arts events.  This is the third year that Uni has produced these buttons. The proceeds from the buttons go directly towards the art program, and are one of the Art Department’s few sources of income.