Alumni Connection

When Ben Olson was studying art and design at College of DuPage he could not have imagined that almost twenty years later he would be unveiling one of his creations at the Illinois State Capitol alongside Governor Bruce Rauner. But that is just what happened when Olson’s logo design was chosen to commemorate the state’s bicentennial.

“I can tell you that getting to celebrate the reveal in a room where President Lincoln’s desk sat, where history was made, was truly humbling,” said Olson.

But the recognition didn’t end with the logo reveal. Throughout 2018, Olson’s friends and family would reach out and let him know all the places they had seen the logo. And, “adding to the icing on the cake” was the opportunity for him to celebrate the state’s 200th birthday with his family at an event held at Navy Pier.

“It’s definitely a very cool thing to see your work all over the place for such an occasion,” Olson said.

Olson, who is the principal and creative director of 3 Monkeys & Aardvark Studios which he founded in 2008, had submitted four design concepts for the Illinois Bicentennial team to review. The last one submitted was the one the team chose. But Olson’s road from College of DuPage to Illinois State Capitol first took a few turns. He originally wanted to be an animator for Disney, but as he explored different mediums he realized he loved design work.

“I had amazing professors in my art classes at COD that not only opened up my eyes to more creative options but were motivating, encouraging and tough,” said Olson, “It was a great experience.”

He worked as a photographer, graphic designer, concept artist and men’s fashion designer for mobile accessories before starting his own studio.

“It may sound cliché but work hard and get to know people,” said Olson, “Your work ethic will speak loudly and it’s all about who you know.”

In addition to running his business, Olson lives in Hoffman Estates with his wife Stephanie and four children. He is also chairman of the nonprofit The Backyard Experience whose mission is to encourage children’s imaginations and creativity through a variety of events and programs.

 Ben Olson

Illinois Bicentennial Logo


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College of DuPage Alumni Relations
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Phone: (630) 942-2462


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