Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful Moms!
I love color, and paying attention to the tints and tones of the everyday world has always been an important source of happiness for me.
As a designer, I'm fascinated by the way the colors in nature blend and contrast and weave together to create cohesive palettes that we learn to associate with time and place.
Over the next year I am going to use our wonderful, industry standard, Pantone Matching System to match and document the colors in my world. I will then use the environment to curate what I hope will be uniquely lovely and harmonious color palettes. This blog is where I will archive and share them for everyone to enjoy.
The Brady | 100 Years
This richly illustrated, gilded, leather bound, hand sewn, 400 page history book was the culmination of two years of work with a very talented writer, Janet Farrar Worthington; and a truly inspirational client, Dr. Patrick Walsh. Following his remarkable career as a surgeon and as the Director of the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Walsh commissioned this book to mark the 100th anniversary of the institution and tell its story.
It was a true joy to work on this monumental project, and it won what might be one of the best compliments of my career from legendary "ad man" Keith Reinhard, who called the book "a triumph in terms of storytelling, design, layout, typography and digital innovation."
The only thing that topped that was look of happiness and pride in Dr. Walsh's eyes when he held the first completed copy.
I love my job.
A kindle edition is currently in the works. A complete digital version can be downloaded at www.urology.jhu.edu/about/history/Brady100years
AIDS Institute Clinical Guidelines
The AIDS Institue Clinical Guidelines is a partnership between Johs Hopkins Medicine and the New York State Department of Health. Together they develop guidelines and best practices for physicians working with HIV infected patients, related illnesses and complications. In 2015 I began the process of branding the Institute and developing a consistent, attractive, and easy to read and comprehend template for the guidelines themselves. We are also working together to create a new website to house the guidelines and provide further resources.
This process has been highly collaborative, and a consistent emphasis has been placed on best practices-- not only for the medical guidelines themselves, but for the way they will be accessed, used, and communicated--with the end goal being better patient care leading to the eradication of HIV.
Being a part of THAT mission, in any way, is an honor and a true testament to my belief that "Good design works."
The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth 2015 Annual Report, Printed Book and Website
The theme for this Annual was "fun," and it really was a joy to work on. Showcasing the amazing programs and incredible students of CTY (first graders studying the physics of toys, high school students working in nanoenergy labs!) while working with a very talented writer, Maria Blackburn, and photographer, Howard Korn, was truly a good time. I almost felt that the project designed itself, the inspiration was so palpable. The students even helped, by taking "selfies" of themselves having fun while learning at CTY. Their photos can be seen throughout the print book and on the companion website; www.ctyannualreport.com.
I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed working with them!
The Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital 2015 Annual Report
The last project I completed in 2015 was the Annual Report for the Wilmer Eye institute. Titled "Vision," this book describes some of the amazing breakthroughs at Wilmer, thanks to the brilliance of their physicians and the support of their donors.
The slightly edgy, future-focused art direction, with dramatic portrait photography by Chris Myers and compelling storytelling by Sue Depasquale, sets the tone for Wilmer's ongoing quest to cure the many causes of blindness.
Maryland Institute College of Art, 2014 Annual Report
This was the first project completed in 2015, and I think one of the most beautiful. The cover features a gorgeous wrap around photo of the campus at dawn (cover landscape photo taken by Paul Burke, interior portrait photography by Chris Myers), with clear foil stamped lettering that catches the light, and a soft touch varnish which makes the book a pleasure to hold. The colors of the dawn sky were used as the color palette throughout, and the layout has a playful composition. My hope was for the entire design to reflect the optimism felt on campus at the beginning of a new day of leadership at this venerable institution.
MTA Roadway Worker Protection Course Materials
Towson University believes in using their intellectual resources to help meet pressing needs within the community, and so established the Center for Professional Services at Towson University. As an adjunct professor at TU, I was asked to be a part of a team that CPS assembled to meet some of the needs of the Maryland Transit Association.
This project was a much-needed update to the training materials used to instruct Metro and Light Rail workers on safety procedure. It was a very large project and included curriculum development, training videos, presentations, instructor manuals, student manuals, and pocket reference guides (in English and Spanish). I had the pleasure of working with a fantastic team as Art Director and Lead Designer, and it took over 2 years to complete. Currently, I am continuing to work with this same team to address further needs (including materials for First Responder Training and Safety in the works now at Hatcher Design Office!).
One of the true pleasures of this project has been to apply my experience and knowledge of best practices in research, layout, production, information design, and typography to create design that really works. By being easy to read and comprehend, these materials really do make a positive impact on individual and community safety.
Design Thinking and Teaching at MICA and Towson University
One of the most significant advances in my professional practice this year happened when Brian and I were asked to develop a workshop on Design Thinking to augment MICA's Foundations of Design Leadership MBA/MA program.
Like most designers, Design Thinking has always been an underlying part of our work, and in advanced undergraduate design courses I've introduced the concept in an academic context, but this workshop was the first time I've attempted to teach the process in such a pure and intensive way (including to some non-designers). In addition, this was also the first time I taught a class of graduate students and the first time I collaborated with Brian (my partner in life) to develop curriculum and teach a course.
I learned SO much. I've always found teaching to be my greatest source of learning -- you simply cannot effectively teach something you do not understand in a deep way. In preparing the curriculum, Brian and I both taught one another, increasing our individual knowledge and reinforcing our strength as a team. We also thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I am so happy to say that the first workshop was a complete success. We were invited back for more, longer-term, workshops.
Teaching this methodology at the graduate level was so successful that I decided to bring some of the practices into my undergraduate classroom at Towson University. I taught 2 new-to-me courses last year, Typography II and Package Design. Teaching the students not only the concepts and principles of design, but giving them new tools to approach their projects in a structured way (individually and in teams) yielded results that far exceeded my expectations.
I'm very excited to dig back in next semester. We'd also love to bring this approach beyond the classroom, to connect more directly with the organizations we work with (and maybe some new ones!). Bringing everyone to the table and fully engaging them in the creative process to find new and effective ways to address challenges is one of the most rewarding things I've done. I am so excited to help more people learn how to connect to their inner design thinker -- even if they aren't "creatives" -- and work with one another collaboratively in this way.
L'Arche USA and Greater Washington D.C.
One of my favorite critical design essays (which I read with my students every semester) is Stefan Sagmeister's "How Good is Good," in which he states that sometimes the best way a person can help a cause they believe in is to apply their particular special skills and talents to it.
L'Arche's mission; "To make known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities, revealed through mutually transforming relationships" is both near and dear to me. As the parent of a child with cognitive disabilities, I see the challenges but I also see the great gifts and the potential that exists for everyone in a more inclusive world.
To quote L'Arche's founder, Jean Vanier:
"Every human activity can be put at the service of the divine and of love. We should all exercise our gift to build community.”
Using my gifts to help build this very special community is something I am privileged to do.
The Oyster Recovery Partnership
The Oyster Recovery Partnership is saving the Chesapeake Bay, one tasty oyster at a time. To help make that happen, they seek to educate the public about the role of oysters in our ecosystem, and what restaurants and individuals can do do help (eat more oysters and recycle the shells!).
This series of rack cards was incredibly fun to design, and I love seeing them out and about at my favorite restaurants. I've even learned that other designers have kept them for inspiration (best compliment ever!), and school kids have used them in their science projects (also really cool!).
One of my resolutions this year is to (finally!) develop the portfolio site. As I try to narrow down what to include, I thought taking a look back at my favorite projects from 2015 would be a good place to start.
#1 Mercy High School
Over the past few years I've had the privilege of working with Mercy High School to comprehensively rebrand them in a way that reflects their history and unique strengths while emphasizing the high-quality, modern education they provide young women. The work that has come from this relationship has been some of my favorite to date (maybe because I'm also an Alum!), and I'm very excited to continue working with them in the new year.
Come back tomorrow for 2015 #2!
I just got samples in of the latest catalog I designed for Young Audiences -- an awesome organization that helps to integrate art into schools for all kids in myriad ways.
I'm so happy with the design-- it's so fun to create a look and feel with happy, artsy, youth as a creative direction! In fact, it's a design project I've gotten to look forward to every year for the past decade. YA was one of my first clients and it has been a pleasure to work with them ever since.
There's something wonderful about establishing and maintaining a long-term relationship with a client. The more you get to know them, the deeper you are able to go in helping them express who they are. What's especially wonderful about working with a place like YA is that you get to become a part of their mission to make art accessible.
I'm wishing them even more success and creativity in the next decade, and I hope I'm lucky enough to continue to be a part of it.
Getting ready to release the first part of "The Brady: 100 Years" -- a 400 page book I've been working on for two years! Eep! Stay tuned for updates on what I hope will be a gorgeous case bound book honoring the incredible contributions of the Johns Hopkins Brady Urological Institute...
Someone once told me that being a tiny bit terrified was a sign of personal growth. How. True. Creating and Leading my first Graduate Level Design Thinking workshop in partnership with my partner in all things, Brian Hatcher, was both a challenging and exhilarating experience. We learned so much through this process, and what is even better is that the students learned too! (pretty sure that was the goal...). I've already started translating some of the material for incorporation into my undergraduate lessons (also met with great success) and I am really looking forward to working with graduate students again soon. Just give me a call if I can help you or your team improve your projects and process through design thinking!
As cool as it is to design a new athletics identity for your old high school, it is even COOLER to see it on the jumbo-tron at the big game! Go Mercy Magic!