VALLEY OF THE SUN JCC
JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER PHOENIX, SCOTTSDALE AZ
My name is Tressa Toomer, and I am a graphic designer and illustrator in the Greater Phoenix area. Ever since being introduced to Adobe creative programs in a high school yearbook class, I became hooked on all things design. I went on to pursue a BFA in Visual Communication from Northern Arizona University, where I melded my passions for illustration and photography with interactive design. I am currently working as the senior designer on a small, in-house marketing team that services two partner organizations: the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun JCC. These complementary organizations work towards bettering the lives of Jewish people and the communities they interact with. The Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix helps strengthen Jewish life and identity, and provide for Jews in critical need locally, in Israel, and around the world. The Valley of the Sun JCC helps build a stronger, healthier community by providing enriching programs for families and friends from all traditions to learn and grow.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU COME TO USE DESIGN TO ADVANCE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE AND/OR SUSTAINABLE PROJECTS, CLIENTS AND CAUSES?
Growing up in a military family, I was fortunate to experience different cultures all around the world. I believe the early exposure I had to a number of foreign social issues, as well as the ones happening in my native country, fueled my desire to be a part of positive change no matter where “home” was at the moment. When I discovered my passion for design, it only made sense to find an organization where my skill set could help make a difference. Working with the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and Valley of the Sun JCC, I get to help a local community make a worldwide impact.
I utilize design to make visually interesting and emotionally resonating materials that inform people about our work towards relevant cultural issues. Through design, my work helps keep our current community members active, engages future generations to take part in our mission, and introduces the importance of our work to the greater Phoenix population.
ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES, URGENCIES, OBSTACLES IN 2019?
Working in the nonprofit sector does present some challenges, yet in this age of transparency, nonprofit organizations are afforded a unique opportunity to use their platforms to affect real change. Now more than ever, nonprofit designers need to make thoughtful, strategic design choices due to how active brand accountability is today. Thanks to technology, communication is intrusive and continuous, so organizations are fighting against equally prominent, opposing social counterparts. This constant fight for attention means design not only has to be relevant and impressionable but engaging as well. Making intentional, analytically-based decisions when it comes to visual communication is vital in bridging the gap between passive support and passionate action.