Creative content for social good.










This is a comprehensive communications design project for The Housing Collaborative. It involved logo, stationary, and web design, the production of the written content for the web site and social media strategy.

The Housing Collaborative is a real estate developer that partners with non-profit organizations to produce service-enriched affordable housing. Such a proposition, even with a developer partner can be daunting for a non-profit, therefore any design needed to convey approachability, stability and trustworthiness.

The logo is simple but obviously representative. It plays off of bricks, highlighting the mortar joints, the physical embodiment of collaboration. The dark grey color and horizontal orientation imply strength and sincerity. The sans serif typeface is clear and set in title case to balance the strait lines of the logo with the rounded edges of the lowercase letters. All of the stationary is printed on uncoated paper to eschew the image of a “slick” developer.

The text for the website was carefully considered. It was important to highlight company founder Robert Sanborn's experience with non-profit social service providers and the commitment that he shares with them. Similarly, as a means of distinguishing The Housing Collaborative from its competitors, we used the language of the industry without repeating the same words. Limiting jargon and striving for simplicity of message yielded text with more meaning.

Webster Green is a development proposal by The Doe Fund and The Housing Collaborative for a site on Webster Avenue, Bronx, NY. This one-page website provides basic information to the general public, potential funders, supporters and others and offers an opportunity to contact The Housing Collaborative about the affordable/supportive housing project. I produced the logotype, designed and developed the website and selected and edited the text.

These are selected spreads from a development proposal by the The Housing Collaborative. The 47-page proposal was produced in response to an RFP for a New York City-owned site. It outlines a development with a mix of residential, commercial and community uses. I was part of the team that conceived of the project, I wrote the text of the proposal, created relevant infographics and provided the layout design.



Lynn's Place is a development proposal by social service and housing provider Unique People Services and The Housing Collaborative for a site in Bronx, NY. This one-page website provides basic information to the general public, potential funders, supporters and others and offers an opportunity to contact The Housing Collaborative about the affordable/supportive housing project.

The development is named after Lynn Wonsang, founder and former Executive Director of Unique People Services and longtime advocate for the disabled.

I produced the logo, designed and developed the website and selected and edited the text.

For the logo (an interlocking L and P for “Lynn’s Place”) the L and the P are the same shape, flipped to represent the notion of seeing oneself in others, which is so much the essence of the social service and supportive housing work that Unique People Services does. Potential logo applications are also shown here.

Crisis Text Line is a spinoff nonprofit of the very successfull DoSomething.org. Do Something helps young people get involved in causes that they care about. Do Something's goal is to have 5 million active members by 2015. To do this, they have jumped out to the forefront of digital and mobile engagement, connecting with teens online and via text. As a trusted resource DoSomething began receiving texts from teens in crisis and subsequently decided to start the Crisis Text Line.

I designed the logo for this timely and important new organization. It uses the visual language of texting specifically and mobile more generally.

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York. The movement brings together community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change.

I created a layout design for their report "Priorities for the New NYPD Inspector General: Promoting Safety, Dignity and Rights for all New Yorkers". I also did the layout for the Spanish language version of the report. Example spreads are shown here.

I produced these postcards when I worked for Westhab, Inc. They were part of a year-end fundraising campaign, which sought to introduce some of our residents to our donors.

Copy 1:

This is Janaya. 10 months ago she was born in a shelter, but with the help of our donors she and her family now live in a home of their own. Whose life will you change this year? Please give at westhab.org

Copy 2:

This is Edwin. Four months ago he was staying at a VA hospital. Now, with the help of our donors, he lives in a Westhab Veterans Residence. Whose life will you change this year? Please give at westhab.org

This was a class project in which I created the product concept and branding for a modular, vertical window herb garden. Pictured here are stationary, magazine ad and poster.

Inspired by a national conversation about personal wealth, tax policy, solutions to common problems and general fairness, this infographic reimagines a chart published in the Economist. The data originates with the US Census and shows the incomes of the top 1% of Americans increasing much more than those of everyone else since 1979. Watercolor and photography.

In reflecting on my time working with people who suffered from mental illness, I realized that my group home experience also had a great deal to do with poverty. Poverty and mental illness are often concurrent; mental health issues are a consistent cause of homelessness around the country. Many of the agency’s clients came from poor families and would likely have been homeless were it not for the public aid they received. Still, while the government took care of many of their basic needs, they had very little money beyond what they spent on powerful cigarette addictions. They also lacked the opportunity for self-determination, a circumstance often shared with those in deep poverty.

This piece is a description of one of my former clients. She was severely mentally ill, to the point of being a bit scary. She was the type of person that many of us try to avoid in public. Yet this work is not about that. It is about loneliness, a feeling that we, the viewers of this piece can empathize with. The work allows us a glimpse into her life and helps us imagine how she feels, by focusing on an emotion that we all have a context for. With this piece I tried to close the social distance between viewer and subject and make a rather difficult subject more relatable.

I used to work at a family shelter in Dorchester, MA. While I was part of their housing retention program, from time to time I would have to field phone calls from people seeking shelter. These were invariably single mothers, usually staying with friends or family, but without a place to live long term, and in crisis. As we were not an emergency shelter and had only eight beds, which were always full, it fell to me to turn these women away. While I could offer them numbers for other area shelters, I could do nothing myself. What’s worse, I knew that most of the other shelters were not likely to do better than me.

Having just completed my Masters in Community Development and Planning and eager to build a professional life dedicated to the lives of others, I was dejected. This project recounts the phone conversation that I would have with shelter seekers and alludes to my doubts about my own abilities to actually help.

Pictogram, poster and card for Newark New Jersey Gun Buyback sponsored by Jewelry for a Cause. The company's Caliber Collection consists of jewelry made from guns and bullet casings collected by the City of Newark. Proceeds from their sale are given back to the City to run buyback events. Asked to create a symbol that was an explicit representation of the transaction and consistent with the Caliber Collection brand, I offered this balanced exchange, gun going one way, cash, the other. Set in a circle to emphasize "caliber" the knock-out image alows for the use of a bold, attention grabbing color on the field.

This web redesign for Jewelry for a Cause is being done in collaboration with friend and former Pratt classmate Richard Hall. Company founder Jessica Mindich is passionate about jewelry and uses it as a vehicle for philanthropy and supporting causes that she cares about. This work is ongoing. Among our goals is better integration of product lines, seemless e-commerce experience across sub-brands and a strong design statement.



After more than seven years working with various social service agencies, building affordable housing and working on community development projects, I returned to school to indulge a longstanding passion for art and design. Now I create visual and written content for nonprofit and mission driven for-profit clients.

While I have an uncommon mix of education and experience, the process for turning good intentions into truly good work is remarkably similar. The main lesson – people matter. Whether watching tourists in a subway station in an effort to design better signage, or talking to the mentally ill residents of a group home in an effort to produce more compelling advocacy pieces, the human experience cannot be ignored. Its expression legitimizes our efforts and makes our messages universal ones.

This last idea is at the core of my MFA thesis, in which I draw a distinction between sympathy and empathy appeals on behalf of the poor. Some of the projects highlighted here are from my thesis, attempts to imagine what an empathy-based approach might be. I've mixed them with my professional work because they have helped to lay the theoretical groundwork for my current practice.



Professional Experience

Communications Design, New York Area

Freelance Designer, Spring 2012 - Present

Identity/webdesign, production of related visual and written content and social media engagement for small businesses and nonprofits.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) New York, NY

Communications Officer for Design and Graphics, Fall 2014 - Present

Design print publications, presentations, branding for new programs and visual assests for web, print and social media. Play central role in developing new visual language for the organization.

City Tech (CUNY), Brooklyn, NY

Project Assistant, Summer - Fall 2011

Worked with professor and eight students to design a mobile application for a start-up business. Responsible for helping to guide the students through the research process including surveys of target audiences and understanding of qualitative data. Provided feedback on designs and oversaw the production of grant reports.

Q Collective, Queens, NY

Intern, Summer 2010

Responsible for Internet file preparation and uploading images through a content management system for Q Collective’s new website.

Westhab Inc., Elmsford, NY

Development Associate, 2004 – 2009

Responsible for all aspects of affordable housing development including project financing, design review and management during the construction process. Organized local stakeholders and created/coordinated community development strategies and projects based on their interests. Using GIS software, produced maps for land use and housing development purposes. Developed marketing materials, designed organization’s website as well as print materials for year-end mail appeals and delivered presentations as part of outreach efforts and public hearings.

Specific project management experience includes:

  • Organized community members and led multi-disciplinary team to produce Neighborhood Preservation Plan for City Redevelopment Agency – Norwalk, CT
  • $1.1 million gut renovation that created 12 units of transitional housing for homeless veterans –Yonkers, NY. Project received New York State Association for Affordable Housing award for Downstate Project of the Year, 2008
  • Administration of $400,000 in economic development grants – Yonkers, NY
  • $500,000 historically sensitive renovation and adaptive reuse of church rectory as community offices – Yonkers, NY

Project Hope, Dorchester, MA

Housing Advocacy Specialist, 2004

Provided emergency housing retention grants and referral assistance to families. Member of a task force charged with collecting impact and outcome data for programs throughout the organization.

Community HealthLink, Worcester, MA

Rehab Specialist, 2002 – 2003
Residential Counselor 2001 – 2002

Education

Pratt Institute

Master of Fine Arts Communications Design, 2012

Thesis: Those Poor People: Expanding the Visual Language of Poverty in America

Clark University

Master of Arts Community Development and Planning, 2004

Thesis: American Dreamcatcher: Affordable Housing as Part of Sustainable Community Development

Clark University

Bachelor of Arts in History, cum laude, 2002

Member Phi Alpha Theta, National History Honor Society

Skills

Computer

Adobe Creative Suite - Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, After Effects, Front End Web Development - html5, css3, javascript/jquery, Microsoft Office - Word, Excel, Powerpoint.

Project Management

Experience with grants application and administration, coordinating construction (residential and community space), leading project teams and overseeing budgets and timelines.

Public Speaking

Experience presenting at public hearings, leading community meetings and guest lecturing in college classrooms (Pratt Institute, Hunter College and Rhode Island School of Design).