Michael Burmesch

RD18_P_MICHAEL_1

GRAPHIC COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
AIDS RESOURCE CENTER OF WISCONSIN, MILWAUKEE WI

I am the Graphic Communications Manager for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW). We recently merged with Rocky Mountain CARES (RMC) in Denver and Saint Louis Effort for AIDS (EFA) in Missouri to enhance and expand programs and services for people at risk and living with HIV. These locations now have an HIV Medical Home, a model of healthcare created by ARCW in 2011. The HIV Medical Home offers integrated health and social services, including medical, dental, mental health and pharmacy services, along with case management and social support provided by a team of professionals dedicated to patient care. ARCW is also a leading provider of innovative and aggressive prevention services for at-risk individuals.

HOW AND WHY DID YOU COME TO USE DESIGN TO ADVANCE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE AND/OR SUSTAINABLE PROJECTS, CLIENTS AND CAUSES?

Growing up, I knew I wanted to be an artist of sorts. In our home there were no limitations. My family was supportive from a very young age and let me dive into a plethora of visual arts — drawing, painting, sculpting and even experimenting in design on a Windows-based Photoshop 7, leading me to pursue a degree in Communication Design. While attending Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) I was eager to lend my art and design abilities for good, designing posters for book drives, brochures for youth organizations, logos for literacy programs, and more. As I honed my skills, I realized what really inspired me: fueling connections through the visual language of design. Good design has the capability to spark a feeling or an emotion. It can motivate people to do something or bring people together for a cause.

Right after graduation in the summer of 2008, I lost a friend to AIDS and found that cause. I couldn’t sit still. I became involved by joining an AIDS Walk Wisconsin team that September. As a team member, I was approached to design our shirts as a fundraiser. The shirts were a hit! I remember receiving compliments at the Walk and a teammate said, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if someday you were the graphic designer for AIDS Walk Wisconsin?” Little did I know then, after a few years of captaining our team and raising funds, I would join the ARCW family in May 2011 as inhouse Graphic Design Coordinator. Since then I have championed the organization’s graphic communications. Through the conceptualization and design of patient/client collateral, including print, digital and website media, as well as donor-based event marketing graphics, invitations, annual reports and philanthropy appeals, my work impacts the successful outcomes of the patients we serve. It’s rewarding to engage in a mission I care deeply about.

ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES, URGENCIES IN 2018?

In light of the Denver and St. Louis mergers, my role as a graphic designer has expanded, giving me the opportunity to work on campaigns and collateral in these regions even as our reach and range of services — like our HIV Medical Home and our promising new PrEP prevention strategy — become wider and deeper.