On May 21, millions of Internet search engine users will see a novelty Google logo designed by Juneau's Geordey Sherrick - if he can beat 39 other school-aged finalists in a design contest put on by the Internet search giant.
Sherrick, an 18-year-old Juneau-Douglas High School senior, is one of 40 regional finalists in the contest picked by an expert panel from a pool of more than 28,000 entries. To become one of four national finalists and get a step closer to winning a $15,000 scholarship, $25,000 in tech money for his school and 24 hours of invaluable exposure on the Google home page, Sherrick needs votes.
The voting has been going online this week and is running through Monday at www.google.com/doodle4google/vote.html. Sherrick's entry is under the grades 10-12 category, region 10.
He's already won a free trip to New York for the awards ceremony May 20 and a T-shirt with his design. If the vote tallies land him in the top four, he'll also win a new laptop computer, something he said he really needs since he doesn't own a working computer.
That's surprising, considering his fluency with the Photoshop software he used to design the logo. Sherrick's design was the product of a class assignment in Jan Neimeyer's computer and graphic design class, a one-semester course that fulfills half of a fine art credit requirement.
Neimeyer and the art department regularly turn contests into class assignments. On Tuesday, Neimeyer's class was working on a contest with the camera company Olympus that could bring some new equipment to the computer lab. In the past, the class has designed T-shirts and arranged to have them made and sold to tourists.
"What I really love about this is the real world experience," Neimeyer said.
Sherrick said he knew it was the right class for him the first day.
"My first day? I was like, 'Yes! This is everything I've wanted to do for the last four years,'" he said.
"This is so exciting because he's found his niche now," Neimeyer said.
Sherrick said he wants to pursue graphic design in college and as a career. He plans to attend the University of Alaska Southeast "for the standard stuff" and then transfer to another school once he's figured out where and how to follow through with it.
Neimeyer called him with the news from Google after school on Friday when he was napping.
"I couldn't go back to sleep" and his mom, whom he'll be taking to New York with him, "She lost it. She still talks about it," Sherrick said.
Sherrick is modest about the contest. During lunch Tuesday, a friend in the school hallways told him he voted for his design, but he hasn't been self-promoting.
"I haven't been promoting it at all. Ms. Neimeyer promotes it enough. I'm trying not to get a big head about it," he said.
The contest is called Doodle 4 Google, but the word "doodle" is a bit misleading in its casualness, its whimsy. When Sherrick explains his designs, it's clear he deliberately thought through what he was doing.
For example, in an early logo design, each letter in Google is represented by a musical listening device. Instead of arbitrarily choosing each item, he arranged them as a progression through time, the G as a gramophone, the E as an iPod.
He scrapped it because "It wasn't clean enough, it's too busy."
The new design is less abstract. It's four musical notes on a staff bookended by a treble clef as the letter G and a mirrored bass clef that look like a lowercase E.
Google received 28,000 entries in the contest this year, up about 70 percent from last year, said Jeff Aguero, a Google employee in marketing based in Mountain View, Calif. The Internet search giant started the contest in the United Kingdom four years ago and it spread to a dozen other countries since. This is its second year in the United States.
The final winner will be chosen after the online voting closes by a company vice president and Dennis Hwang, the Google webmaster who designs many of the novelty logos used on holidays and special occasions.
Contact reporter Jeremy Hsieh at 523-2258 or e-mail email@example.com.