Carrie Rengers

Tired of the Wichita flag? Design firm creates new ways of showing pride

Bill Gardner and the designers at his Gardner Design have what he calls a gift to Wichita, but it has nothing to do with Christmas.

Their creation of a collection of 41 stickers related to Wichita and Kansas is an attempt to build on the momentum of civic pride that’s been growing here in the last few years.

Gardner says it “turned into one of those kind of love-affair things.”

“It’s kind of our way of doing something that can come back to the city of Wichita.”

The one-of-a-kind stickers will sell for $3 each. They celebrate some obvious local references, such as Joyland, the Pizza Hut pizza character and a couple of versions of the Keeper of the Plains.

“One of my favorites is the buffalo unicorn,” Gardner says.

It’s his take on the buffalo as a mythical character.

Some of the references take a little bit of thinking, such as the six-fingered hands creating the 316 area code.

Some of the references require being in the know, such as “Teach me how to Douglas.”

It’s a play on the song “Teach Me How To Dougie.”

“A few of these I had to catch up on,” Gardner says.

He says there’s something to appeal to all generations.

“We’ve just been kind of knocking them out,” Gardner says. “Everybody in the office has been involved in it.”

He says his team tried to think of things that haven’t been done previously.

“What a blast it’s been.”

Gardner does not believe the stickers will be a money-making venture.

“There’s absolutely no money to be made,” he says. “It’s not a big enough market.”

Gardner says his staff “literally had thousands of dollars in design time.”

“If we’d really wanted to make money, I’d stay focused on what we do, which is much more effective.”

The stickers will be sold on racks at various stores locally. They’re starting to hit stores this week.

“We’ll continue to produce some new ones that we’ll stick out on these racks so that they can kind of stay fresh,” Gardner says. “Maybe it can start to turn into some other things, too.”

That could be T-shirts or mugs.

Gardner says he’s impressed with “some really exceptional marketing of local kind of things” at places such as the Workroom and Lucinda’s.

“There has been such a revival of this kind of love for Wichita, especially amongst … the younger generation,” he says. “It’s not like you’re having to force them to like it.”

Even though it’s been “a real delight coming up with this stuff,” Gardner says it’s been quite the time-consuming undertaking for his staff. He compares it to Wile E. Coyote running off a cliff and continuing to run in mid air until he finally falls down.

“I’m not going to look down,” Gardner says, “and we’ll just keep this going.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers