Content comes first, but if your design isn't engaging, then no one will bother to look at your materials. This blog is a sampling of what I can offer your project. Here are the bullet points:
For details on my creative process, check out the posts below!
This fall, the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault contracted me to create a consistent brand identity for their non-profit. I was eager to work with the Alliance, an amazing organization that "strives to prevent sexual violence and reduce the harm it causes through education, research, and advocacy." Despite the years of great work they've done, they had no consistent design elements for their materials, and they needed help creating a brand identity so that they could create more interesting and effective promotional materials.
When I began the process, the Alliance made it clear that they needed a brand identity simple enough for all employees to use in their materials. I had to create a design that was eye-catching but easy for non-designers to make look good. The Alliance also had two things they wanted to keep: their logo and their signature teal color. I loved the bold, bright teal and was eager to center it in my brainstorming. The first thing I asked myself was how I could incorporate elements from the logo into a unique design.
The most striking elements here are obvious: the circle and the lines. I initially considered incorporating the slants as a more modern take on their branding, but I moved away from that idea because it felt too cold for the organization. I decided instead to focus on the circles. Circles are easy to incorporate (ex: bullet points or pie graphs), and they give the design a softer feeling.
I also wanted more ways to incorporate the Alliance's colors. I had chosen a soft peach and a light grey to compliment the teal and existing materials. In order to add visual intrigue, I added one more element: colored backgrounds and text. The simple use of color preserved the clean and simplistic layouts, and the combination of contrasting colors made even text-based designs pop. In order to prevent the colors from being overused or overdone, I gave specific parameters for the use of these elements. Then I created a few samples. I've included one of them below.
I then shared the samples with the Alliance's team. They were happy with the design elements, so I began designing materials for them. First, I created a branding guide that laid out the design rules. I told them which fonts to use and when, how to incorporate each branding element, and gave advice for choosing and taking photos. Basically, I included everything you need to have a consistent, engaging design for your organization. Then I created a brochure, a post-card, and dozens of templates that employees could use to make their own materials. I can't include all of those here, but I have included the front and back of the post card so you can see how I used these elements in my designs.
Thanks for reading! I loved creating a brand identity for the Alliance, and I'm eager to continue working with individuals and organizations to create distinctive design identities. If you're interested in working together on a branding guide, promotional materials, and/or a website, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dawn With Arms of Roses is an anthology of queer joy that I created, edited, and designed. It was honestly one of the best creative experiences I've ever had — I got to read dozens of awesome submissions and create designs for amazing poetry, prose, and visual art. From the beginning, I'd imagined Dawn With Arms of Roses as a print publication. There are so few representations of queer joy, and I wanted this anthology to feel tangible and real. I wanted it to be something you could hold in your hands, something you could look at on your bookshelf. And that meant it had to be something worth looking at.
Luckily, I had previous experience in publication design, and I felt prepared to take on a project of this scale. With a theme like "queer joy," I knew I wanted the design to be bright and lively. I knew I wanted to use soft, pastels colors that were prominent throughout the publication, and I knew I needed a way to make a text-heavy book without having the designs feel repetitive. With all those concerns in mind, I began looking for inspiration. I created a moodboard:
When you look at sample spreads from the anthology later, you'll be able to see how this inspiration played into the eventual designs. There were a lot of things I didn't use: I didn't do any doodles, I didn't incorporate the black and white, and I didn't put any text on photos. What I did pull from were the color blocks and colored backgrounds. As you can see, I'd already decided on the pastel colors and mostly pulled samples with similar aesthetics.
After collecting inspiration, it was time to make the design my own. I selected fonts and colors, and I created sample spread designs with the submissions I'd gotten thus far.
Of course, some ideas weren't completely thought through, and this document still wasn't final. I didn't end up using "quirky patterns" at all, actually. But by the time the submission period ended, I had a clear vision for the anthology and was ready to make it happen. I designed 74 pages of poetry, prose, and visual art over the course of a few weeks. Each spread was unique, and I tried to pair art and writing that went well together. I've included some sample spreads below, but if you want to see the full design, you'll have to pick up your own copy. You can purchase "Dawn With Arms of Roses" here.
Thanks for reading! If you're interested in working together to design a publication, don't hesitate to reach out.