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Parodies of Malibu High School's logo from students in Carla Bowman-Smith's digital design class.
Scott Steepleton
12:19 pm PDT May 22, 2020

Students across Malibu have been adjusting to the new-school way of attending school, where the classroom gives way to online learning, tele learning or some other form of home education, where teachers and students interact from wherever home and the classroom may be.

Malibu High School’s Carla Bowman-Smith, who teaches photography and digital design, decided to take what COVID-19 has handed her students and turn it into a lesson in creative expression.

What she got was the high school logo — a shark — reimagined for the times. 

“I’ve always enjoyed parody logos and thought often of possibly doing a project like that for my Digital Design students,” Bowman-Smith told Malibu Surfside News.

The teacher thought back to one Halloween where she came dressed as a doctor, with an image she created of the stethoscope-wearing shark munching on da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man screenprinted on her scrubs.

The name of the clinic: Right Brain Medical Center.

Instructions for the coronavirus-driven parody project “Logo Design & Revision: Humor During our Home Education” were simple, including keep the shark. From there, the students were encouraged to manipulate as they see fit with Illustrator, Photoshop “or a bit of both.”

To make sure they did original work, Bowman-Smith reminded the students, “I have a database for checking images, so make sure this is YOUR idea and YOUR design and YOU aren't replicating someone else's idea.”

As important as originality, Bowman-Smith told her students to keep it clean, keep it nice and keep it free of swear words.

The images they turned in were just what the teacher ordered. She got sharks in masks, along with manipulated text, including one where, in place of the school name, there’s the message, “Let us go to high school.”

For this project the students created parody company logos, with Bowman-Smith providing several examples, including a “Star Wars” stormtrooper a la Starbucks with the tagline “May the froth be with you.”

“During this time of ‘stay at home,’ I have noticed that we have all needed some laughter, so I thought it was the perfect time for some levity.”