I recently designed a report for a very cool organization called Little Sis (think opposite of Big Brother). They're self-described as "a grassroots watchdog network connecting the dots between the world's most powerful people and organizations". Basically, they follow the money and build interactive maps to show you who's got influence over whom.
This particular report was about the connections between New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, President Trump, and fossil fuel interests. The folks at Little Sis had a small budget of $1000 and a short deadline of just about 4 work days.
One of our existing clients, Cathy O’Neil of ORCAA, asked us for some design help a couple months back. She does algorithmic auditing. Meaning: she checks the algorithms companies are building/using for bias. Sometimes algorithms create unfairness without intention. ORCAA wants to fix that and help groups write more unbiased algorithms. They control so much of our lives, after all. You can find algorithms used in teacher pay, the banking system, criminal justice statistics, and more. Even the media we see can be determined by algorithms.
When Katie and I set off to create Good Good Work, before we even had a name, we were looking for legal advice. We wanted to start a social enterprise that was prefigurative, legally sound, and reflected our radical values. Katie and Jason had been moving in similar circles in Colorado for a while (most specifically, platform cooperativism) and his name kept popping up. It didn’t take us long to realize that we’d be great collaborators.
We decided to work with him to design our business, you know, the one that eventually evolved into the Good Good Work Co-op. Our relationship was built on mutual aid and in-kind trade. As he set up our business we began working on his website, which we all felt didn’t express his professionalism, skill, and leading edge practice. Read more
As a designer, I love a good challenge. A recent favorite of mine was working for the DSA on a 3-day deadline.
Delegates were about to pick the new leadership body, but were dealing with the unique challenge of needing to represent the true scope of diversity that exists within the democratic socialist left. Charles Lenchner – with People for Bernie – and his team wanted to create a booklet and worksheet to help delegates in the selection process. It would help see at a glance how diverse their choices were before casting their votes.
With the 3-day deadline, we needed to act fast. We had to be agile and adaptive.
The booklet Charles needed had to contain the list of candidates. Each profile would describe them, including a short bio, the region from which they were, their gender, race, and a few other stats that were easy to read for the regular voter with a quick scan.
The worksheet we created would allow to tally up the diversity categories’ totals.
With such a short deadline, the challenge was not only to deliver on time, but also to design alongside Charles and his team. While we created the actual document, they were putting all the information to be printed in the finished booklet together. For this very reason, we needed to work with live documents, so we worked in Google Docs. That’s how Charles and his team were able to update and edit everything as it was created. I watched their edits in real-time, while I fixed up the formatting and design.
Because Google docs’ styling tools are not as robust as in my software of choice – Adobe InDesign – formatting was a challenge. However, the limitations lent to a clean and very simple design, resulting in an easy-to-read document with clear organization. It wasn’t the most indulgent of designs, but what we lost in flashy graphics, we made up for with time. Thanks to the live documents, we had no back and forths of confusing revisions, so all we had to do was work.
With the magic of Google docs, we were able to create live/editable pie charts of the diversity data with customized style and colors. As the data was updated, transferring the new stats to the pie charts was as easy as, well… pie.
In the nick of time, we called it done. We exported the doc as a pdf and went to print. What a rush! Thanks to this time-constrained challenge, I got to enjoy adapting my process to our client’s specific needs. There are a lot of really great tools out there for us to use. Though I may be more comfortable with a cordless screwdriver, sometimes I need to use a hammer.
Back in May a connection referred us to Kottke & Brantz for some branding work. They’re a law firm in Boulder with a long history of serving the community, and they needed a fresh look without too much fanfare, something modern that fit their image, but no need to go over the top with marketing materials. So after getting some basic info about their time, budget, and the branding assets they required, we decided to offer them our Starter Pack. It seemed to fit well within all the project constraints and meet their needs.
We have a design principle here at Good Good Work around taking things slow. Thoughtful design process and careful planning are an investment that yields better products that are often less costly and time-consuming. There are, however, times when you just need a website (and a logo) online in 5 days.
That’s where DSA Praxis was when they came to us, a big conference looming just a week away and no website or even a simple landing page at the ready. A big problem indeed. Read more
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! Read more
In early April, we connected with a team from Make the Road and the Center for Popular Democracy. They needed a campaign website geared towards calling out corporations complicit in Trump’s “anti-immigrant, anti-worker” agenda. We collaborated with them in the creation of a dynamic website that would allow visitors to send letters to the CEOs of 9 companies who “backed hate”. We delivered backersofhate.com, a multilingual responsive site with a clever content management system that integrated with The Action Network — all within a tight 2-week deadline. Read more