Sympli, a line of fresh-frozen vegetables from Nigeria, needed to rethink its brand as it looked to expand its product line and increase global distribution. The challenge was to engage the target consumers (busy, working women of African origin) to use frozen versus fresh ingredients. The new creative direction needed to drive awareness, educate, and motivate interest in the product line.
I led Sympli's visual redesign, art directing the brand photography to evoke food drama that highlighted the natural freshness and vibrancy of Sympli's ingredients. Rustic settings were used to evoke a sense of "home."
The packaging was updated to highlight the fresh rather than cooked ingredients to more accurately display the products. The use of the African map on the packaging conveys authenticity and creates an immediate resonance with the consumer.
The brand launch in the UK was a full 360 campaign that included television and newspaper advertising, social media, samplings at point-of-sale as well as local churches, a redesigned website (with rich imagery, new recipe content and improved user experience), and a highly-anticipated television event on BEN TV – the Sympli Yam Cookoff, featuring top African chefs in London.
Results significantly surpassed expectations, with the brand driving broadscale awareness and driving distribution beyond the independent African markets to include top retailers like Morrison’s, ASDA, and Tesco. The brand leveraged the campaign in the UK to acquire distribution in the US, France, Holland, and Germany.
NO is a catalog of "no" signs found in my neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Paul Elliman urged that designers think about how objects are produced and how the production process produces meaning; I believe designers should also be concerned about how language is produced and how the plethora of messages that surround us create meaning. Repurposing a collection of found language—in this case, "no" signs found in Brooklyn—into a catalog invites consideration and interpretation of what it means to be surrounded by this type of language every day.
The form of the catalog, and the order in which I arranged the signs, at first conveys a sense of authority but eventually becomes absurd and humorous. Meaning is created in my narrative with the use of repetition and isolation. The varying sizes of the text on each spread (typeset such that they are as large as possible on the spread, but varying because of the length of the words) give the reading of the book a sense of movement; this is meant to replicate the feeling of coming across the signs as you travel the streets of Brooklyn.
The text on the cover, appropriated from the Brooklyn Tourism and Visitors Center website, provides context and adds to the humor of the piece.
2014 American Graphic Design Awards Winner
This is Our Story
This is a sample of cover concepts explored for the young adult fiction This is Our Story by Ashley Elston (Disney-Hyperion).
The novel's protagonist is a teenage girl who helps a local prosecutor solve the case of a hunting accident that leaves one of five best friends dead. I was interested in evoking an aura of mystery while alluding to the romance in the novel.
How I Repurpose
How I Repurpose is my graduate thesis book, completed for Pratt Institute’s MFA Communications Design program. It tells the story of my thesis, which strives to explore how design can be used for meaningful contemporary storytelling. I set out to repurpose the “plot,” “characters,” and/or “setting” in each of my thesis design projects in an effort to redefine the role of the designer as storyteller.
I practiced the design tactics of collection, appropriation, and collage—which were key in my thesis methodology— in the making of the book. The introductory images for each chapter, for example, are images found on Google when searching for the title of the chapter.
The design of the book also exposes the process of research and writing. Parts of the book are typeset to reference Microsoft Word’s “Track Changes” mode; the orientation of these pages also causes the reader to flip pages after pages up, reminiscent of scrolling down on a screen. The abstract, project statements, and container sections like Table of Contents are, in contrast, very purposefully designed (with a large, bold, almost ugly san-serif typeface) and presented as "final" (not in Word). The cover design copies the orientation of the introductory chapters; bibliographic information regarding the subtitle and author, etc. is presented in the footnote on the top of the page, as throughout the book.
This dichotomy between the finality of certain parts of the book and the editing mode of other parts serves to highlight my feeling that the process of research is not complete and still in “Track Changes,” even if the container of my thesis has been finalized.
Greetings, Neighbor is a typographic poster series examining my relationship with neighbors and gentrification.
Using responses from a neighborhood survey that I created and disseminated locally in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and online, the first two posters create a conversation between my neighbors and me—the first displays a long-time resident and me, while the second displays a self-proclaimed gentrifier and me (also a gentrifier, not by choice). The third poster compares my thoughts to those of Spike Lee, with words from his recent gentrification rant at Pratt Institute representing his thoughts.
So You Want Me to Volunteer?
So You Want Me to Volunteer? is a toolkit that provides disorganized nonprofits with information and tools to more effectively recruit volunteers.
The informational guide explains the frustrations of potential volunteers, and these frustrations directly feed into the other offerings of the toolkit. The "creative cards" help organizations identify opportunities that utilize unique volunteer skills. The planner helps organizations provide a range of opportunities, short-term and long-term. The marketing flyer template helps organizations effectively display how volunteers would make an impact.
The First Time
The First Time is a video about the first-time use of technologies. This project was part of a larger transmedia narrative, in which I tried to create an experience that both juxtaposes past and current uses of technology and examines authorship and storytelling in the digital age.
The video is a mashup of first-person interviews, history bits and appropriated content from the internet. The project was also my first time working with film editing.
The video highlights intersubjectivity between digital natives and digital immigrants — while an older man enthusiastically describes how the card disappears in a game when the timer expires, a kindergartener talks about challenges in a video game. Themes of incredulity, play and convenience emerge throughout the stories.
The Resilience Extravaganza
The Resilience Extravaganza, hosted by the Sandy Bros (Jonathan Frey, Jeannette Hodgkins, Diego Zaks and me), is a toolkit for educators to create a resilience carnival that informs and empowers students in the face of climate change.
The carnival games support three core areas—education, voice, and advocacy. Our toolkit provides descriptions, background research and making/playing instructions for each of the activities. Educators are encouraged to make the games with the students.
This project grew out of an assignment to design a community-led activity that could advance post-Hurricane Sandy resilience and preparedness efforts in South Brooklyn. Our research and interviews in the South Brooklyn community revealed that while many resources were available, people were uninformed about both storm preparedness and current recovery and resiliency efforts.
Inspired by Coney Island’s history and identity as America’s playground, we were interested in engaging the public in these issues of resiliency with a series of spectacles. The visual language and branding of the Resilience Extravaganza borrowed from Coney Island’s identity.
Scouting for locations and speaking with local organizations like Alliance for Coney Island and #ConeyRecovers led us into the realm of education. On November 2, we hosted an initial iteration of our games at PS329 as part of the Resilience Mural Ribbon Cutting celebration. 20/20 Vision for Schools, an organization dedicated to mobilizing students and community stakeholders for sustainable change, helped us become a part of this event. It was an occasion for the community to learn, provide feedback and connect to neighbors while having fun.
Preparedness Plinkoallowed students the opportunity to reflect on what they know about storm safety and preparedness while learning more. The questions in the game address what to do before, during and after a storm. Wonder Ringgave students an opportunity to play ring toss and share what they know, think or wonder on a wall. The goal of this acitivity is to spark thought and dialogue in an engaging way. Dam It?and Gate It?prompted adults to vote on two major initiatives from the city’s A Stronger, More Resilient New York plan.
For the toolkit, we evolved the Dam It?/Gate It? mechanism into Show of Hands, a customizable polling system and intra-school advocacy tool that develops out of students’ interests and concerns as they may surface from a sharing activity (like Wonder Ring).
The games thus align with Bloom’s Taxonomy, which divides learning objectives into cognitive, affective, and psychomotor categories for a holistic form of learning. While we see "education," "voice" and "advocacy" as three key components of teaching resilience, the games are structured such that they can be used individually if all three don’t align with the program or curriculum at hand. The toolkit includes time and budget constraints for consideration as well. In addition to educators, youth group leaders or other community organizations that work with children could easily use the toolkit. In fact, we have donated our initially created materials to NYC Partnership for Parks.
We hope to test and disseminate the toolkit to more schools in New York City and beyond in the future.
2014 Design Ignites Change Student Innovation Award Finalist
How does design interact with society? With individuals? With itself? WITH was the 2014 Graduate Communications Design MFA Thesis Exhibition at Pratt Institute, showcasing the collective thesis work of Bárbara Abbês, Rogier Bak, Jonathan Frey, John Hallman, Jeannette Hodgkins, Xiaoping Ma, Amanda Sepanski, Diego Zaks and me. Through a variety of media, the exhibition invited the visitor to explore the impact of design on people, technology, and culture as a whole.
My classmates and I collaborated on the creation of the WITH brand, the exhibition space, the catalogs, and the website.
FXDDNow is an industry-leading source in Forex news and analysis. I created a series of wireframes to assist in the redesign of the website so that it looks and functions less like a blog and more adequately like a robust news source.
The focus of the project was the usability of the homepage. One feature story is the centerpiece, like on any major news publication website. Analysts, who each have a following, are highlighted on the homepage with recent articles. The "Market News” section features news stories as well as “Trade Ideas.” A new engaging and educational component, "Forex Term of the Day" is added. Most of the content is placed in a single column with responsiveness in mind. The right-hand sidebar now incorporates social media and informational widgets. Forex Trading Guides are highlighted in the sidebar — to download users must subscribe to the website.
Pictured at left: homepage, secondary pages "Market News" and "Analysts"
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
This is a sampling of brochures designed for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and its nonprofit subsidiary Neurological Research and Education Foundation (NREF).
The 2015 membership brochure was the first project I took on for AANS. The goal of the design was to clarify the work that AANS does on behalf of members in three key areas — advocacy, knowledge and growth. Additionally, with this project, I set a new tone for AANS branding materials. I produced trade show signage to match, and the 2016 brochure had an updated concept, but included the same colors and typographic scheme.
The second brochure displayed here is aimed at potential exhibitors for the annual AANS meeting. While keeping within the AANS brand (typography), the piece purposefully has a different look and feel than materials targeting neurosurgeons.
The NREF brochure was delivered with donation buckslips and thus aimed to clearly show the results being achieved by NREF. In this case, I translated NREF's established brand (color and typography) guidelines into the trifold layout with relevant imagery and icons.
This is a sample of picture books designed for Disney-Hyperion.
Lotus & Feather is a story about friendship and healing. I chose typography that echoed the sensitive watercolor illustrations. I worked closely with the author, illustrator and art director to ensure the art was culturally appropriate.
Alice & Lucy Will Work for Bunk Beds is a silly story of two sisters who decide to work at a bakery. I loved the textures in the illustrations and used them to create the endpapers and jacket flaps.
Boogspace, a free gift exchange registry, began as a single family's Secret Santa organizer. I was asked to create a new visual identity and redesign the website as Boogspace looked to expand to other consumers.
The goals of the project were to establish a modern but playful identity, to create a better user interface, to enhance user experience through visual design, and to integrate social networking.
InnoGOV.org is a project of think tank The Performance Institute and was launched at the start of the Obama administration. It was a collection of forums, research and recommendations to bring insight and transformation to the federal government; it was a call for innovations in government.
I worked closely with The Performance Institute's creative director Nicole Cathcart to develop the new InnoGOV brand. I created the visual identity and developed several materials, including promotional video, event brochures, posters and direct mail, that all functioned within the new brand palette. The brand slogan was “Change is here. Are you ready?” The materials hoped to arouse and stimulate action for a better government.
The introductory viral video, released before the launch of the website, is included here. The other piece displayed is a two-color hybrid magazine-promotion direct mail piece.
Rachna Weds Bharat
For my recent wedding, I designed the invitations, escort cards, table numbers, guest book, and more.
I was inspired by traditional Indian wedding invitations, in their elaborate packaging and rich patterns, but wanted a streamlined and elegant look. The Stardream paper stock allowed for the colors to be vibrant and the gold to look metallic.