by Tim Frame
Ohio was one of the first frontier regions in the United States. It also has a rich history in both industry and agriculture, as well as producing many notable figures in a wide variety of fields. There is a lot of good imagery to draw from with the state flag, bird (cardinal), animal (white tailed deer), insect (ladybug), flower (carnation) and fossil (trilobite). One of my initial concepts centered around the cardinal, but as more plates were posted to the project, other states featuring cardinals began to appear. One of the most notable icons familiar to OHIO is the Block ‘O’.

I decided to do a different take on the ‘O’ making it the focal point of the plate, but utilizing more of a Circus Type approach. I love Circus and Western type styles, and with Ohio being one of the original “western” settlements, it gave me an excuse to pursue that direction. One of the other concepts I was considering was an adaptation or abstraction of the state flag, which like the American flag is comprised of red and white stripes with white stars on a field of blue.

So I integrated the stars and the red & white stripes into the design of the plate. I implemented the cardinal as a secondary element, and thought it only fitting to create that in a style reminiscent of the late, great Ohio based illustrator, Charlie Harper. The large letters and numbers in the plate were created from scratch, with the numbers being derived from the stroke of the initial ‘O’.
State Plates Project by Jonathan Lawrence ⓒ 2014