Lukas Scheurer is an industrial design major at Rhode Island School of Design. He attended Wellspring Waldorf School from 1998 through 2004, for 2nd through 7th grade. His teachers were Mary Fettig and Judy Tharinger. Lukas spent one year abroad at Heidenheim Waldorf School, and then went to high school at Chelsea High. After a senior semester at the Mountain School, he knew he wanted to major in something that would combine his love of mechanical things with his love of art. He applied to several different colleges and design schools including Rhode Island School of Design, Massachusetts College of Art, Savannah College of Art and Design, Pratt Institute, and UVM. Lukas was accepted at all of them and got a “really good” scholarship to RISD where he started in 2009.
Judy Tharinger describes Lukas as an incredibly artistic kid, who spent a lot of time drawing, but also worked very hard on his academic studies. If something did not come easily, he may have struggled but he never gave up. She remembers he always had a quick smile and an impish twinkle in his eye, but was also very earnest and sincere, honest, and full of integrity.
How did Waldorf Education contribute to who he is today? “I probably wouldn't be doing what I am today if it weren't for my Waldorf education . . . I think it really fostered my creativity. If I had gone to a public school I think I would be a completely different person. The environment, the freedom to think and just sort of let your crazy ideas run wild . . . I know for a fact that I would be a totally different person—the amount of support you got from teachers and the small class size.”
How did Lukas arrive at his logo design? “I tried to think back on my time at Wellspring and what that represented. I like how Wellspring is a process—you start out with everything's really colorful and simple, and you sort of progress through—as you get older you have to learn more and understand more. So I just wanted to make something circular—that was the only original premise I had when I started sketching, to have something that went full circle. I just sort of thought about what Wellspring sort of meant and how it was—I just tried to think back over my years.”
Why did he choose a nonrepresentational logo? Why not a tree or something like that? He acknowledged that while representational logos may work for some things, “when you're trying to make a logo for something like Wellspring, a tree just doesn't cut it.” Lukas looked at the logos of other Waldorf schools and saw a mix of representational and non representational logos. He said he may have started with sketches of trees and mountains early on but quickly moved away from that path.
When Lukas speaks about his work on the logo, and other projects he takes on, he comes back to the value of learning how to evolve an idea. Of coming up with an idea and making a sketch, then letting it lie fallow and coming back later, usually with a new perspective. He really appreciates the structure of the RISD curriculum, how students are initially required to take a variety of basic art and design courses, drawing, and spatial dynamics, no matter what major they begin with (a high percentage actually change their majors mid-way through.) He relates this process back to what he values in his Wellspring education: “I think that may be the reason why RISD grads tend to do interesting things and do well. Because of that slow process. And that translates back to Wellspring: starting out slowly and really getting a more full and colorful experience of the very basic things—not sort of just quickly skipping along and missing out on a lot of things.”