by Dave Warner

Raema Rotindo was the winner of the 2019 Cheese Festival logo contest, and she stopped by Little Falls on Saturday to pick up her prize money and cheese basket and be treated to lunch at Bonita’s Sandwich Shop.

The logo competition was announced last fall, and it asked artists and graphic designers to ‘enter as many times as you like’.

Over 100 entries were received, and the 10-person committee took several hours and meetings to sift through them all to identify finalists and, then finally a winner.

Rotindo originally hails from Houston Texas but was brought up in the Hudson Valley. She found out about the competition because she is a Little Falls Cheese Festival vendor. “I run a spice company called Rockerbox Garlic, and I specialize in handmade onion and garlic powders,” she said.

She runs the business out of Schoharie, making onion and garlic, black fermented, and pickled garlic flavors. She stated “I come from a family of garlic farmers. My great grandma was the one that lived on the garlic farm, and my grandparents ran the garlic farm, so that’s why I started Rockerbox.”

The company has a full line of artisanal spices that are available online and in specialty stores. Rotindo said, “I’m also at the Garlic Festival here in Little Falls every year, and I’ll be at the Cheese Festival again this summer.”

Rotindo went to school for astrophysics, and her background in design is purely at an amateur level she says. “I enjoy it, and I’m self-taught. I draw things in my sketchbook and then scan them into my computer and edit them in a pretty basic editing program.”

She says she’s not a professional by any stretch, but that she’s done all the logo designs for her business. In doing so, she discovered something else that she really loves. “This has always been a little bit of a side thing for me. I design logos for friends with small businesses, and I enter logos into contests once in a blue moon,” she said.

She went on to say that this logo submission was the only one that has won. “It’s coming up with the idea that’s fun.”

“When I found out about this contest, I didn’t start sketching right away. I like to marinate on the idea for a week or so…thinking about what would be a really nice logo for a cheese festival,” she said.

Rotindo felt that it had to be something that was immediately identifiable as cheese. It was a New York State event, and it had to be clear so that if someone were driving along on the road, they would instantly know that it was a cheese festival.

“It had to be simple and straight-forward, clear and not busy,” she said. She originally started with a circular representation for the cheese, but could never get it to look quite right. “After a few sketches I thought – this just looks like a circle, and I can’t make this look like it’s cheese at a split second glance.”

She spent some time playing around with a few ideas before settling on the wedge idea. “I felt like it was the most quintessential cheesy image. I originally had a red banner, but then decided to do blue. The New York State colors are Navy and a rich mustardy yellow, so that worked out really well.”

When asked about the turnout for Saturday’s event she said “It’s totally amazing. I’m honored and flabbergasted. It’s really awesome. It’s such a treat.”

Last year was the first time she had participated in the Cheese Festival, and she said, “I remember it was swelteringly hot, but it was a good day for me. It’s a wonderful festival…┬ájust a constant stream of people.”

Rotindo said that she hopes people come out and see her at this year’s Cheese Festival on July 13, 2019.

You can find out more information about Rotindo and her company by visiting http://www.rockerboxgarlic.com/