This week I finished some design work for The Body Political, a powerful and subversive burlesque event in San Francisco. In their words:
…this show is a space of resistance. We honor and listen to the diverse voices of our community, hearing stories of acceptance and self-love. It is within these stories, and the courage of their storytellers, that we resist, we disrupt, and we reclaim. This is place for us. Our Bodies, Our Rules, Our Stories.
I was thrilled when co-producer Laika Fox approached me about getting involved. And while you won’t see me on stage, I fully support and encourage people reclaiming their bodies. It’s all done in service of working in a prefigurative space. All bodies are good bodies!
This year, The Body Political is working towards non profit status. In preparation for their transition, they wanted some new branding: a logo mark, a brand guide for print and web, and a flyer for their upcoming show. And since they’re making it a point to lower the barrier for entry for performers into their event (a lot of folks can’t afford the often pricey application fees for burlesque shows/festivals) this meant: small budget.
They had $500 to spend.
I told them that I would take the deal and track my hours, knowing full and well that I’d be going over budget. Good Good Work was able to do that because we went over our projected input by ~24% in our first month (really feeling the love here, y’all). When we have a surplus we turn it over to help other folks doing good work. Here’s what we put in the contract:
“You need a flyer to promote this year’s Body Political. But not just that, you also need it to explore a new brand idea, ideally something that can stand up to the theme(s) of next year’s event. Though we have a limited budget and deadline, we can prioritize our work goals based on most important needs and work towards accomplishing as many as possible within our time. The following are our goals, listed in order of most important to least important.
1. One 4”x6” flyer design promoting the event, ready for print.
2. Rough brand guide to outline type treatments and translate flyer design to your website.
3. Logo design, vector and png files ready for use on light or dark backgrounds.
4. Even more robust brand guide outlining use of imagery and logo(s).
We’d like to aim for having the top two items completed by mid-May, 2017. Additional work can follow if needed.”
We started with a Pinterest board to get inspiration and choose a visual direction without having to do a lot of back and forth. I love using Pinterest for this, it one of the few places where it’s worth the cost of being served ads. Here’s a sampling of some of my favorite images:
Laika and Andi loved the image with a zipper for a mouth so we decided to replicate that for the flyer, adding our own twist and creating a new logo. My aim was to make the flyer look like a movie poster, something that was provocative and simple, but would say a lot without having to be explicit. So off I went to Joann Fabric to get some zippers and an iron and some double-sided tape. I set up the photo in my kitchen on a white table with natural lighting. Since I don’t have an amazing camera I knew I’d be doing some serious retouching, and that allowed me to fudge a bit on the photo.
After a few iterations of drawing and coloring and photo retouching and making vector art, we came up with a pretty rad flyer. It just so happened that the logo I had in mind for the flyer works as a logo on its own, with or without this (or any other) image. I think the logo would make a pretty rad temporary tattoo, too.
Check out how the project evolved:
Once we had that sorted out, I moved on to the brand guide. I knew from our conversations that these ladies wanted to do a lot of online promotion and have consistent branding all across the internet. I also know Laika is a talented developer so giving her the basics would go a long way. We outlined the logo use, colors and color uses, and the most important text elements, substituting a Google font for a load-it-on-your-website-yourself font (both work fine on the internet, but it’s good to have a backup).
Having this document live in the drive folder we shared helped cut down on excessive layout design time, which—although it looks really pretty—is basically unnecessary for the vast majority of clients and sometimes detrimental because it isn’t easy to copy and paste from the guide (ahem: hex codes).
I also formatted the document in a way that would allow Laika to easily transform the styles into code, but be plain enough language for any non-coder to read in the future. The other bonus of doing this in Google Docs is that the team can copy this document into their root drive, use the styling of the elements to set their base google document styles, and then brand everything they do automagically.
Bonus: updating the guide and style defaults in Google Docs is super simple, and you always have version control to help you see what things used to look like or restore old versions.
You can check out the brand guide for The Body Political here.
All in all we logged 14:45 for the time spent on this project, not including trips to and from the fabric store. We would normally charge a client $1622.50 for this work, which is reasonable for the amount of time spent and the output. This time, we ate a bunch of the hours for a really great cause (thanks to all the full rate clients for chipping in!).
And we’re thrilled with the result!
We know The Body Political is going to crush it at this year’s event and have a suite of design assets that will carry them through their next phase…and, most importantly, let them focus on the good work that they do best.
Thanks to you rockin’ ladies for giving a voice to brave folks of all shapes and sizes, and for working with Good Good Work!