Lake Orion’s Joe Dao creates winning poster for Detroit Grand Prix

The Detroit News
This is the winning design, created by Joe Dao of Lake Orion.

Joe Dao of Lake Orion, a junior at the College for Creative Studies, is the winner of the annual competition to design the official poster for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.

This is the sixth year the Detroit Grand Prix has collaborated with the CCS to design and select a winner. Dao’s entry was chosen from 15 entries submitted by students in the Digital Illustration class at CCS taught by Brian Kotulis. CCS faculty supervised the entries and the competition and narrowed the 15 entries down to the top five. Jamie Hollar, presentation director at The Detroit News, served as one of the judges.

Dao’s winning design has a retro comic book theme and it features two of the cars that compete at the Detroit Grand Prix – a Verizon IndyCar Series car and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The cars are racing side-by-side with the tire smoke creating a silhouette of the iconic Scott Fountain on Belle Isle.

Joe Dao of Lake Orion poses with his winning poster design.

“I went through over 20 different sketches and concepts, laying the out the cars in different ways and this is what I came up with,” said Dao, who also designs album covers and posters for local bands.

Dao said he decided to include the Scott Fountain in his design because, “I thought the fountain would be a fun little Easter egg for people who are familiar with the area to find within the poster.”

Michael Montri, president of the Detroit Grand Prix, also served as one of the contest judges.

“This contest is one of the community events that we do at the Grand Prix that I look forward to every year,” he said. “It’s fun to see the students and how much they work on all of these designs, and occasionally you see that light bulb go off and we spark a career for someone. To see all the work and time that they put in and some of the end results is really encouraging.”

This year’s Detroit Grand Prix is June 1-3 on Belle Isle. Go to for ticket information.