May 20, 2019

photo of Ali and Chris Romero

Ali, left, and Chris Romero

Las Vegas, N.M. – Ali and Chris Romero, New Mexico Highlands University media arts and technology alumni, designed a seal that will be used to help reopen businesses in New Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The siblings, who live in Las Vegas, New Mexico, submitted their idea for a seal to the Economic Recovery Council, a diverse group of business and labor leaders New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham appointed April 23 with the stated goal of advising her on strategies to gradually reopen the state’s businesses in a smart, safe and effective manner.

“We were very happy to be able to use our media arts design skills to contribute during these turbulent times,” said Ali Romero, 31, who earned her BFA in media arts in May 2020 with a concentration in visual communications. “It was definitely rewarding and an honor.”

“It was a challenging and exciting project with a quick turnaround of four days – it helped that in media arts we’re used to working with short deadlines,” said Chris Romero, 23, who earned his BFA in media arts in July 2019 and a double major in English.

image of seal

Seal designed by Ali and Chris Romero

Allan Affeldt, who owns Las Vegas’ Plaza Hotel and Castañeda Hotel, was appointed to the governor’s 15-member Economic Recovery Council (ERC).

“The ERC adopted COVID safe practices for different industries and needed a symbol to convey how people would know if a business had adopted the practices,” Affeldt said. “The simplest way was to develop a seal that could be used as part of a statewide marketing campaign called ‘All Together New Mexico.’”

Affeldt said he started to think about graphic representation of what citizens and the economy could do together to reopen safely.

“To move that discussion forward, I contacted friends at the Highlands Media Arts and Technology Department to create a draft seal. I think it’s remarkable that Ali and Chris

Romero designed the draft seal in just a few days. Then on May 18, the Economic Recovery Council and the governor enthusiastically embraced the idea of moving forward with the seal,” Affeldt said.

Affeldt said graphic elements for the seal are kept to a minimum for visual impact. The circular design of the seal includes the title, “All Together New Mexico,” and incorporates the New Mexico Zia symbol for state recognition. It also includes the language “COVID safe practices for everyone.”

Once Ali and Chris Romero were given direction regarding the elements to include and a rough sketch that included the Zia symbol, they went to work creating seven or eight versions of the seal using Adobe Illustrator software.

Next, the designers got feedback from Affeldt and Highlands media arts and technology professors Miriam Langer, Mariah Fox Hausman and Lauren Addario before developing the final version.

As for their professional partnership, Ali said, “We’ve always worked well together,” and Chris added, “We balance each other out well.”

Langer recommended the Romeros for the COVID-19 design project.

“As recent media arts graduates, Ali and Chris Romero have demonstrated their commitment to creating high quality design work,” Langer said. “They are hard workers who can do quick turnaround, which matters so much in this case as the goal is to protect the health of all New Mexicans.”