EASTERSEALS NEW JERSEY, EAST BRUNSWICK NJ
As a self-taught designer with a Bachelor’s degree in advertising from New York Institute of Technology, I pride myself in being more than a graphic designer. Instead, I identify as a “creative problem solver” — combining intuitive and aesthetically pleasing design with both strategy and function. In my three short years as a young inhouse designer at Easterseals New Jersey, my experiences have stretched beyond the typical standards of visual thinking. I have learned that design has the power to directly impact the lives of thousands through experience, recognition, storytelling, and inclusion: in this case, the impact is felt by nearly 5,000 people with disabilities and special needs that our organization serves throughout the state, as well as our staff, and the public we seek to educate.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU COME TO USE DESIGN TO ADVANCE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE AND/OR SUSTAINABLE PROJECTS, CLIENTS AND CAUSES?
Designing for good, especially as a full time career, is something I unintentionally fell into. As a college graduate navigating the job market, it was not something I particularly sought out as a potential career. Though, growing up with a family member with autism, I felt drawn to the disability space, and found that I was able to evolve my underlying passion for the field through my work at Easterseals New Jersey.
I’ve learned that design can be used to effectively communicate the value and potential of those we serve. Similarly, design has the ability to create merit for both recipients of the cause and stakeholders alike, by composing a well-rounded structure that invites people to become invested. Positive affirmation through design prompts people to share their positive experiences with others, and to become more immersed in the brand when they feel valued. Additionally, creating this sense of pride allows them to become brand ambassadors which advances the organization’s mission through strategic action.
An example of this is a recent campaign launched by Easterseals New Jersey for our 100th Anniversary. Billboards placed in target locations throughout the state of New Jersey, highly trafficked by our donors, participants, and staff created a word-of-mouth buzz around our close-knit community. Those who saw the campaign had a newfound sense of pride in an organization willing to represent itself so boldly.
ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES, URGENCIES, OBSTACLES IN 2019?
In my experience, every new year presents both a set of challenges as well as opportunities. The non-profit world is an ever changing landscape that must constantly be navigated time and time again. No singular way of design or strategy will suffice for the years ahead. We must always find new and inventive ways to engage donors, volunteers, board members, participants receiving services, and our community partners. While challenging in many ways, it can also push us as designers and strategists to break the mold when designing for new mediums that help us build stronger relationships between our audiences and our brand.