Blugold designs poster for ‘Discover Wisconsin’s’ 30th anniversary

TV show and map celebrate the state’s familiar and unfamiliar treasures


Photo by Deanna Kolell

Freshman Samantha Hytry hand-drew a map of Wisconsin, showcasing its physical and natural landmarks.

To the unassuming outsider, Wisconsin may seem like a cookie-cutter midwestern state, known for dairy farms and the Green Bay Packers.

However, one television show, “Discover Wisconsin” dug a little deeper into the area’s vacation destinations and tourist attractions.

To celebrate its 30th anniversary and continuance as the longest-running tourism show in the nation, “Discover Wisconsin” decided to commission a poster to showcase the state’s best features. The show chose Samantha Hytry, a UW-Eau Claire freshman graphic communications student, to design the poster.

Hytry said her poster shows how Wisconsin has grown and will continue to grow in the future.

“Wisconsin is an ever-changing, beautiful state that never stops having things to offer,” Hytry said. “That’s what the show’s about capturing everything as it changes through the seasons, through the ages and through the people.”

Before working on the poster for “Discover Wisconsin,” among other projects, Hytry said she had a background in art in her hometown of Eagle River, Wisconsin. She designed T-shirts, a mural for her town’s historical society and banners for its Artscape competition. Hytry also received encouragement from her family.

“It might be in my blood,” Hytry said, adding her grandmothers had a hand in her artistic upbringing. She said her love for drawing began by watching and participating in their work, from painting flowers on rocks to competing in drawing competitions.

Now Hytry has an Instagram page where she displays her personal drawings.

However, drawing the “Discover Wisconsin” poster presented a new and exciting challenge. Hytry said she had ties to the show because “Discover Wisconsin’s” first episode was about her hometown and its annual world championship snowmobile derby.

The owner of “Discover Wisconsin,” Mark Rose, is also an Eagle River resident. Hytry said she grew up watching the show, so when Rose asked her to draw the poster for the show’s 30th anniversary, she readily accepted.

“‘Discover Wisconsin’ has meant a lot to my family for a very long time because they do capture all the favorite things we like to do,” Hytry said. “We go boating. We go camping. We go fishing, so to have a show that captures that and all the different towns of Wisconsin is really cool, especially since they are a family-based organization and they originate out of our hometown.”

To get started, Hytry said she sat down and brainstormed what she would feature on the poster. A collage made sense because Wisconsin has so much to offer. She began with an outline of the state, then stuck Post-it notes to different locations and wrote down what they’re known for.

Hytry tried to incorporate sights “Discover Wisconsin” had covered, as well as some other well-known and not-so-well-known landmarks, from the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee to the giant musky statue in Hayward.

Her favorite part about designing the poster was including the little details, Hytry said, like the farms and cows. In addition, she drew a fishing pole, and the line became Wisconsin’s outline. The bobber at the end lands in St. Germain, where the idea for “Discover Wisconsin” began.

Some of the biggest challenges came from trying to get everything on the map accurately, Hytry said, because she wanted to ensure it was “accurate and in-depth.” In addition, she wasn’t allowed to use logos or trademarked items.

“That was a lot more challenging in a good way because it made me think harder about what I wanted to put where,” Hytry said. “In that sense, it became more of a map instead of just logos placed on Wisconsin.”

After revealing the finished product, Hytry said the poster gained an unexpected amount of attention from her community and the media.

“Everybody here loves Wisconsin for their own reason, and I like to think that in the poster they have a reason to love it that’s on there,” Hytry said. “There are so many unique features to Wisconsin that you don’t really know about, and it’s really fun to be able to put that into a poster and share it with the state.”

Mariah Haberman, a host and brand manager for “Discover Wisconsin,” said the purpose of the show is to exhibit the state’s landmarks and unknown treasures. She said the poster encapsulates everything “Discover Wisconsin” and the state represent.

In the end, however, it comes down to the people who make this state special.

“The fact that Midwesterners flock to our state to make memories with their own friends and family is a major testament to what this state represents,” Haberman said.

Hytry’s 30th anniversary poster also serves as a testament to the state, Haberman said, because it shows all the best of what Wisconsin has to offer, in the people and the places.

“Samantha did a marvelous job capturing the diversity of the state: What makes our state fun and quirky, interesting and gorgeous,” Haberman said. “Not only does Wisconsin boast some wonderful places, but we are home to some incredibly kind and talented people. Samantha is one of them.”

Hytry’s posters are available for viewing at the “Discover Wisconsin” website.