PITTSBURG — Pittsburg-based graphic designer Crista Cunningham is a baseball fan. She’s glad of that, since it kept her calm during one of her recent projects. Had she been more inclined to football she might have been nervous as that project was a logo for the Cincinnati Bengals’ Special Teams squad.

The logo offer came from what Cunningham calls a “true case for small-world happenstance”. One of her colleagues at work is connected to the team through his brother and heard they needed a new logo. He reached out to Cunningham, and the Bengals sent her an idea of what they were looking for.

“My kids and husband think it’s very cool that I got to create a logo for an NFL team,” Cunningham said. “I’m really very grateful that I was given the opportunity.”

That opportunity is not a shot out of the blue though. A Pittsburg High School and Pittsburg State University graduate, Cunningham has been involved in several local projects.

She created the most recent logo for Artwalk, much of the graphics used by the Mt. Carmel Foundation, and volunteers her services to the performing arts programs at Pittsburg High School. She also creates artwork for her employer, Pitsco.

However, her love of art did not begin in the classroom or workplace, but in her own childhood home. Cunningham’s late mother, Mary Fontaine, was a fine artist and typesetter. Cunningham said her mother, seeing the possibilities computers brought to the design world, introduced them to her daughter.

“She would bring home computers and textbooks, so I’ve been immersed in art and design for a long time.” Cunningham said. “She was determined it was going to be a big part of design someday, so I was lucky she saw that and gave me the chance to learn.”

Although her mother did expose her to more fine arts, according to Cunningham once the graphic design bug bit she never looked back.

“I absolutely loved it. I was always striving to do more, to learn more,” Cunningham said.

Aside from her work at Pitsco, Cunningham has a full freelance business. One that she said is always looking for local customers.

“I’m all for the local movement because I love my hometown,” Cunningham said. “Creating the NFL logo was pretty cool, but so is getting to help a local business here in Pittsburg.

Anytime I get to help one of our local mom and pop shops, that is pretty great too.”

More examples of Cunningham’s work can be found at her facebook page, www.facebook.com/CristaCunninghamDesigns.