New Berlin graphic designer named finalist in bowling shoe makeover contest


If her shoe design fits, bowlers across the nation will wear it.

Kelly Duggan, a graphic designer from New Berlin, is one of five finalists in a national design contest, called Bebowled, sponsored by New York-based Bowlero Corp.

Entrants were asked to come up with a fresh look for rental bowling shoes, usually not the fanciest footwear on the lanes.

The winner, to be chosen by a panel of judges that includes a fashion world celebrity, will have their design replicated in rental shoes at Bowlero bowling alleys across the country.

Duggan is a 2016 graduate of Carroll University with a degree in graphic communications. She works at Sky High Marketing in Waukesha.

Coming up with designs for the contest on her own time, she submitted seven entries. One of them, Modern Geo, landed her the finalist spot.

Duggan said she sought something bold and different, but not so radical that people wouldn’t want to wear it.

Instead, her design calls for a black shoe with gray triangles and bright blue accents. 

She wanted something that men, women and kids would want to wear, and maybe even take pictures of to show other bowlers. 

“I really tried to consider that factor, making something people would actually talk about,” Duggan said.

“The potential to reach a lot of people is really cool. This is my art, and it’s really exciting to have other people admire it and be excited about it with me.”

Duggan said she visited a Bowlero location in Wauwatosa to get the look and feel of the place and what people were wearing.

Her all-time high score in bowling is a very respectable 150.

She also asked her family for feedback.

“This design came to me pretty quickly. It was about the third for fourth one I did,” she said.

Duggan and the four other finalists will be flown to New York on Aug. 7 to see their designs come to life on the fashion runway at Bowlero’s flagship location, Bowlmor Times Square.

The other finalists also have graphic arts backgrounds.

One of them, Megan LeBlanc from Massachusetts, was searching for a summer bowling league when she heard about the contest just two days before the deadline.

Her design, Neon Nights 2, was inspired by her love of camouflage.

Another finalist, Lisa Ng of Seattle, described her design, Street Style, as a combination of fun, minimal illustrations influenced by her four children.

There’s a cash prize of $2,500 for winning the contest, as well as the fame and satisfaction of having a design come to life in thousands of pairs of rental bowling shoes starting in 2019.

For a graphic artist, there’s also the honor of adding the design to their portfolio.

“Even as a finalist, this is a huge accomplishment for me,” Duggan said.

The attention to bowling shoes comes at a time when bowling is experiencing a mini-renaissance. There aren’t nearly as many alleys now, but the remaining ones are reaching out to a younger audience with a variety of entertainment as well as traditional bowling.

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